Husband's servant

Husband's servant

QUESTION:

your avatar   Terri (46) from MI, U.S.A.

My 2nd husband & I have been married 1 yr. We have 2 teens that live with us - mine! He uses us as his personal servants! I work a half a day everyday - he says because he works a full day he shouldn't have to do anything around the house. He says he pays the bills and that's enough!

How can I make him understand that there is more to being a husband than paying the utilities?

ANSWER:

    Tony Schirtzinger,

Your letter brings up a number of possibly separate issues. I'll try to deal with each of them briefly in order to try to give you a "start" in a healthy direction.

  1. You ask "how can I make him understand...". Unfortunately we can't "make" anyone understand anything at all - so don't blame yourself for his actions (or lack of them) just because you can't get him to change his mind! You've tried, and you are still trying, but he can maintain his beliefs if he chooses to do so.

  2. There's a rather "typical" relationship problem that your letter could be related to: One partner is "passive" and the other is "controlling." If you think that he is generally "passive" in the sense that he ignores things going on around him, and maybe doesn't keep his word when he says he'll do some work around the house, you and he may need counseling as a couple. (This is particularly true if you are also controlling: seldom satisfied, maybe a bit perfectionist, doing a lot of "ordering" of your husband and your children, etc.)

  3. Since he refuses your requests often, it's only reasonable for you to EXPECT him to refuse! So, always have an alternative plan ready to go. The example I like to use is this: You ask him to clean the kitty litter. At first he ignores you, then he finally says "Yeah, yeah... I will... Later..." - but by bedtime it's still sitting there and he's snoring away. This would be the time for your alternative plan, whatever it is. (It could be anything from telling one of the kids to do it and paying them for it, or, if you are gutsy, moving the stuff to behind his car so he "finds" it in the morning!) It's up to you what you do, but you should have SOME alternate plan ready to go since there's no "surprise" at all in his refusal.

  4. If you find out that he actually wants to be fair, then the question becomes "what would be fair?" Here's what I think. I think it would be fair to split the work that you both AGREE needs to be done - but for the person with the highest standards to do any "additional" work beyond that. For example: Let's say that both of you agree that the house should be "clean" but you want it to "sparkle." You could agree to split the work required to make it "clean" but you would do the additional work required to make it "sparkle" (since this is your own unique preference and nobody could claim it's absolutely necessary).

I hope at least one of these four possible scenarios is true for you, and that you can gain some valuable hints from this letter.

Thanks for the chance to try to help.

Tony Schirtzinger

This question was answered by Tony Schirtzinger. For more information visit: http://helpyourselftherapy.com/

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