Ask Mollie: How to Get Hubby to Help Out Around the House

Dear Mollie,

My husband just got back from his first 8 month deployment, I can’t get him to help out around the house at all. His thoughts are I’ve been doing it for 8 months alone so things shouldn’t change just because he got back. He used to help out all the time before he left and has been home for a month now. I gave him some “adjustment time” but now am just frustrated. Any advice helps. Thanks!

— Allie

Dear Allie,

I went through a bit of this too. I hope I can help. First off remember that when communicating with men try to make them feel, “needed” not “nagged.”

The house is pretty much a woman’s domain, whether you work or not. It’s our nest. I suggest limiting what you ask him to do to “guy” projects: like trash, mowing, weed wacking, carrying the laundry basket: basically the outside and heavy lifting. My hubby is not allowed to do laundry: he always messes it up.

Ask him kindly to please do one of these things and give him a time table. Like this, “sometime this week could you please take the garbage out?” Here is the key: when he does it, make a HUGE fuss over it! Praise him and thank him. Maybe a little affection too: kiss kiss! I thank my husband daily for anything he does for me whether its repair a whole in the wall or bringing me a glass of water. Make him feel like he has a place in this home you share: that he is needed, part of a team. They key is your tone and attitude. If you sound like his mother, he is going to respond like spoiled brat.

Jon has a little white board on the fridge. It says, “Jon’s list” these are things I need him  to help me with by the end of the week.

If there is something he wont do, and I can’t, guess what: I call a repair man to do it. It is better to spend a little $$$ than have my man and I fighting over a stupid chore. Try it. This will either light a fire under him, or be an excellent compromise and have the two of you “making out” instead of “having it out”.

If you work, you may have to scale back. Tell him, there are two people to care for now and you want the home to be a comforting place, not a messy hell hole where you two are fighting over who will vacuum.

Here is the deal, you and I have no idea what it was like for him on deployment, I can bet it was some pretty rough stuff. My husband and I both had a lot of changes in our behavior from “before.” I strongly suggest going to CREDO, or visiting with a chaplain to talk out some feelings. A month is not a lot of time. It took Jon and I years to get over all those deployments. I suggest reading Dr. Laura’s book, “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.”

Best of luck and many prayers,


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