• ASK NANA

Motivating an Uninvolved Husband


Remember adults and children always move toward praise.

You’ve tried it all haven’t you: begging, whining, crying, screaming, pouting but nothing has worked! Your husband doesn’t help around the house and “in your opinion” you carry an unreasonable load to keep the family functioning.

OK, first of all, you need to understand male/female differences. Yes! In spite of all our culture is trying to do to convince us that there is no difference between men and women, practical experience as well as the story of Creation in the book of Genesis says yes, we are very different from each other. That is not lesser or greater just different from each other.

Men think in separate boxes whereas women’s minds are like the internet super-highway, everything is intermingled, so we tend to judge each other by our way of thinking. Men can step over toys on the floor and walk around laundry baskets and right past garbage bags at the door without even seeing any of it because they are in a different box. When a man is at work, he tends to comfort himself by promising himself that he can soon go home and rest in his “nothing” box. So, as he enters the home door that’s the box he’s in and nothing else exists in his mind. So, he goes to his Lazy Boy, flips on the TV and zones out. This must be understood by women by choice because it will never “feel right”.

To confront this, you must follow some rules:

1. Your emotions block a man’s mind and you will get the stubborn reaction if you use emotions. So BE COOL and BUSINESS like. Or write all of this out in a letter so he gets the message without the emotional blockage.

2. Draw up a division of labor comparison. Include ALL that he does outside of the home as well as inside of the home. This includes ALL that you do too. This may help you to see he does more than you think. This is also a factual comparison of who does what for the family.

3. Lower your expectations. If he did 2 or 3 small jobs for one hour each day giving you an hour for yourself, wouldn’t that change make a huge difference? How about a half-hour of quiet for you?

4. Ask him what works best. Does he rest for an hour first then give his half-hour to one hour of service to the family or is it easier if he gives first then is left alone for the rest of the evening. You choose to accept his choice focusing on the fact that there is at least a positive change no matter how small. One percent change per day times One Hundred days equals One Hundred percent change.

5. Show him how helping to make his family function smoothly will give him honor and recognition in his community. Remind him that this family is a business in which you are co-owners and both need to be active in the business to make it successful. Make sure your attitude says, “I believe in you.”

6. This is the most important step second only to avoiding emotion. Be very clear, concise and crisp about what you expect him to do. For example: “I know Mondays are tough for everyone so on Monday if you would give a half-hour of attention to the kids whether playing with little ones or helping with the homework of older ones then take out the garbage from all over the house, then you’re totally done and I’ll stay off your back. On Tuesday these jobs need to be done…” As much as you can make the job small and quickly done.

7. Remember adults and children always move toward praise. It is your job to observe, recognize and compliment any movement toward helping no matter how small. If you do this faithfully your husband will move toward what brings him honor and praise.

8. This is the toughest step. SOMEONE NEEDS TO GROW UP. IT MAY AS WELL BE YOU. Being a grown-up means applying patience to difficult situations, developing self-control rather than emotional meltdowns, and focusing on what is good for all not just what’s only good for me.

9. I would suggest you buy “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie Omartian and pray those prayers, one each day. They are powerful for change.

The changes will be slow and your husband may promise one thing but do another. Hang in there. Keep praising the little movements in the right direction and clarify and simplify your expectations without emotional baggage attached. I’ve been married for 45 years, I can personally attest that this does work.

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