When You Feel Like You Do It All Yourself: Coping With a “Lazy” Spouse
I have a lot of days where I feel like I’m just doing everything while my City Spouse just sits on his butt napping or playing video games. I’m busy cleaning the house on the weekends while he sleeps in. Yes, it turns into huge fights and horrible arguments that I’m sure the neighbors hear.
Then I remind myself-
He’s invariably been this way.
CS’s hobbies are “lazy” ones. Yes, I keep the “lazy” in quotations because I don’t know if it’s truly laziness or just that his interests and hobbies don’t include anything that is anywhere nearing strenuous. He plays video games; plays on and builds computers; fixes computers; mixes juice for his friends and himself for their e-cigs.
All while I cook, clean, garden, write, sew, craft, organize, and essentially make the house run well.
(By the way, we work at the same place doing the exact same job every day. He’s NOT more tired or worn out than me. We just are different people with different energy levels apparently.)
I’m not offering some Miracle Cure to suddenly make your spouse get up and do everything that you wish they would do. Unfortunately, that’s just not going to happen- ever. They are who they are.
Acceptance: Of Your Spouse and Yourself
What has saved my marriage is honestly just acceptance and grieving the spouse I want to have and going with the flow with the spouse I DO have. Too many times we have expectations of what we have been engrained to see as “gender chores”. Housework is for women, mowing for men, working on cars for men, and somehow it was all supposed to be okay. Honestly, in our society today, the misguided stereotypes of our upbringing are not healthy. Women no longer are at home in order to get done the full-time homemaking workload.
It’s a hard thing to accept that most of the problem is yourself…. but in my case it really is. It is my expectations of CS that causes so many hard feelings and fights. It is my desire for him to be different and do things that he just doesn’t notice at all.
If just reading this doesn’t work for you… and you need a more proactive way to come to terms with the differences in your spouse and yourself try this:
Make a List.
Write down everything that he does that just irritates the crap out of you. (Keep this on point with what we are talking about. Dragging up EVERYTHING is just counterproductive.) For example, He never notices that the trash needs to be taken out. He never vacuums.
Delegate Via Your Cleaning Schedule
Take this list and circle the things that you could delegate to him, or try to when you make a cleaning schedule. (Key thing here: do NOT show him your “bashing him” list. That will just backfire and cause him to most likely do absolutely nothing since he’s going to feel like you don’t appreciate anything he DOES do.)
Schedule a Weekly Family Planning Session
Start your cleaning schedule during this meeting and involve him in it. It’s entirely possible when you write down everything that needs to be done, he will see the immensity of it all and be more willing to help.
The first few weeks of the schedule, you may have to remind him that what he agreed to do. If, like in my case, they say, “I’ll get to it later”, trust him for a while. Re-evaluate the cleaning schedule next week or month, with specific things to discuss if the problem persists.
The key is to discuss without arguments or yelling. Nothing good comes from screaming at the top of your lungs, “YOU’RE SUCH A LAZY ARSE!” (Trust me, I’ve done this. It really doesn’t help.)
Be prepared to admit that a lot of the things you do he really won’t see that it’s a necessity. For example, I refused to clean out the refrigerator once. He eventually realized how AWFUL it was starting to smell and took it upon himself to dump leftovers and expired food. They take for granted what you do sometimes, and it’s possible that you have just done it yourself for so long that they are comfortable with how things are. Only when you can show them that you are NOT okay with having to do it all, not just telling them, will they (maybe) step up to the plate and help a bit more.
Do you have any tips or tricks to help cope with this situation?
I’d love to hear from those of you who are in a similar marriage!!