My husband’s a slob! What can I Do?

Lazy HusbandThis week’s question: My husband’s a slob! He drops his clothes on the floor and he never picks up after himself or helps around the house. I’m exhausted and I’m tired of asking for help.

Answer: It can be frustrating to live with someone who has different habits than we do. But before we get into what you might do, I want you to ask yourself two crucial questions. First, is your husband usually caring and respectful of your feelings and needs? Second, is there a reason why he’s not helping you around the house? For example, he might be exhausted from his job, or busy helping you with the kids, or could it be he’s tried helping you in the past and you’ve not been satisfied with the way he helped so he gave up?

If you answered yes to either of those two questions, then you have a couple of options. One is to lower your house cleaning standards so you’re not so exhausted. All spouses have weaknesses and one of your husband’s is messy habits. God tells us that we need to learn to put up with one another and to accept each other, encouraging the good we see (Romans 15:7; Ephesians 4:2-3). Try focusing more on your husband’s strengths instead of dwelling on what he doesn’t do well.

Another biblical approach would be to implement the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7). Calmly say something like this, “Honey, I know you hate my nagging. I hate it too. So from now on, I’m not going to nag you about your clothes but I’m also resigning as your personal maid. Starting tomorrow, if your clothes don’t make it into the hamper, they won’t get washed.” Stay kind but firm. Soon he will realize he has no clean clothes to wear and will begin to put his clothes into the hamper. Hopefully as he learns this new step in taking care of his clothes, he will also start to pick up his other items around the house.

On the other hand, if your answer to those earlier questions is no, you have a much bigger problem than a messy husband or house. Your marriage lacks mutual caring and mutual respect, core elements in any good relationship. If you want to change this pattern, you must start with yourself. Are there any past hurts that have caused this breakdown? If so, own your part and ask for forgiveness. However if your husband’s basic attitude toward you is often selfish and disrespectful, you may need additional support.

I encourage you to take my free test, “Are You in a Destructive Relationship?” which is available at my website: www.LeslieVernick.com on my free resource page. You will also find resources to help you deal with a destructive relationship and initiate difficult discussions. God wants your marriage to change. Allow Him to use you, and others if necessary, to help your husband make these important changes.

2 Comments

  1. Rozlind on February 18, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Thank you,

    This message is so extremely timely and helpful for me.
    I thank God that I heard you on Focus on the Family that afternoon.

    I am growing from an abusive background prayerfully moving towards freedom in Christ.
    Somehow, I got into an abusive job but didn’t realize it until so late.
    (17 yr. job in a verbally abusive, degrading excepted service job with a court. Her abuse escalated to physical one morning, as she began criticizing me in front of staff giving me various directives. As I turned to do as asked, she angrily walked toward me screaming, “Where are you going?!! then reached out grabbing my arm, snatching it downward “stand still!! I said! stay here!!!” “I didn’t say you could leave!” I was stunned but said nothing. Besides, my complaints went nowhere. “You’re excepted service, you can always leave.”
    “She retired May 11 & was honored. I, placed in another abusive ofc. Struggled with the demeaning conditions again requested a change that was refused giving me the option to leave & I did. No unemployment but God provided a small annuity & I still had my part-time job I’ve held now 13 yrs. so I work there and am applying for full-time employment. ) But!! You are so right!

    I’ve not accepted just the truth about the change. I keep wasting time condemning myself.

    I’ve struggled terribly for over a year, asking God “How could I be so stupid? You blessed me with that job. Maybe I did things to provoke the comments and actions. I kept begging forgiveness for wasting his blessings, for not leaving earlier when things began going bad? She was nice at times, very cruel and hurtful others then there was nothing that provoked the physical abuse.
    Still in the 2nd job why didn’t I just stay? I shouldn’t have kept notes at the 2nd job. I shouldn’t have.

    I survived 17 yrs., I could’ve survive another 6 yrs. then retire. I’m a survivor, why couldn’t I just have looked the other way for the sake of my household? I was 60 yrs. old, who does something so stupid at 60 years of age?
    Maybe this or or what if that? Work associates called me stupid. Stopped speaking, ignore me if they see me in church!

    I’ve lived so angry with myself. Embarrassed and ashamed.

    I’ve NEVER thought of simply accepting the change and move on. I live in panic-ville. My head stays replete with “what if’s

    Now, after understanding more clearly that it is what it is, simply embrace the change and change with it. Let it go.
    I am getting my will done pronto and organizing my affairs so that my already hyper daughter won’t be in a panic state.

    Can’t tell you how helpful this letter has been.

  2. M on February 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    This article’s title made me laugh, because my husband leaves clothes on the floor in our bedroom wherever they drop too… thankfully he is usually caring and respectful, a great dad, and pretty much exhausted all the time from military duties…so I learned early in our marriage to lower my cleaning standards and expectations within reason. I try not to nag, but I do communicate, and occasionally he has had clothes removed from the floor and washed that he wanted to wear to the gym. He’s started to work with me on it, but old habits die hard.

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