DH.......Am I alone in this?
Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive April 2006:
DH.......Am I alone in this?
I realize that a lot of married couples are opposites and that makes life interesting, but there are some things that drive me insane. Keep in mind that I'm the one who is wound-up(I prefer the word "driven") and DH is very laid-back. I know that being opposites helps us to compromise on some things, but I am so darn tired of all the mediocracy going on lately. I am thankful for the life that I have, but my DH is so content to just let the house fall down around us. Our deck is in bad shape and in desperate need of replacing. Our basement needs help. There are projects that he has been meaning to start for three years now. I feel like I have been patient enough, but when I bring it up to him, he gets mad and clams up. I know I shouldn't let it, but his complacency(is that the right word?) is starting to bring me down to the point where if he doesn't care, why should I? I don't nag-nag-nag all the time. It hurts to think that he doesn't want better for his family. He is a great husband and father in other areas, but sometimes I notice mediocracy/over-contentedness there too. Am I asking too much of him or just not expecting enough out of him? How much "excellence" should we expect of our husbands?
Well, I don't know your dh, but I think I am very much like him. Not only am I very laid back, but when there is a lot to do, I tend to get overwhelmed, feeling I'll never get it all done and not even knowing where to start, so I'll just do nothing, LOL! Luckily I've found a system (Flylady!) that works for me, because my dear, dear husband had to live with that for more than 15 years. (Imagine if your dh was in charge of housework and cooking!) It wasn't that I didn't want better for my family, I just wasn't sure how to do it.
So, I'm not sure what to tell you. I guess I would have an honest chat with him, and let him know how important these things are to you. I would pick one project that is most important now, and offer to help. If you can afford it, I would highly recommend getting someone else to do it. (Esp. the deck!) Or, do you have a friend willing to help that knows what he's doing? My dh is not handy at all, so we always hire someone to do stuff around the house. (Keeping others employed, as dh likes to say!)
As for your last questions, those can only be answered by you. Every marriage is different because every one of us are different, and finding that balance in our personalities that we are both happy with is the challenge! Each of us has our own set of strengths and weaknesses, and "over-contentedness" can be a weakness for us laid-back types.
Hopefully you two can come to some sort of agreement. (((Hugs)))
I agree with a lot of what Michele said.
My dh is a laid back type of guy, but we have money issues. That is a big reason he sits around so much. It's depressing for him knowing he is the breadwinner and can't provide fully for his family. So, on his days off, he watches TV and plays his game on the computer. Drives me NUTS sometimes, cuz the way I see it, there is SO MUCH that could be done around the house EVEN IF we don't have a lot of money. God knows I can find enough housework to do to keep me busy, why can't he find something, too?
So, it may be that your dh is overwhelmed, depressed, or both. So, as Michele said, baby steps would be a good idea.
As to how much excellence can we expect? Well, everytime we bring something up that is a shortcoming, our dhs will take it as criticism. Their egos are SO fragile, and every time we point out a flaw, no matter how gentle we try to be, they will most certainly take it to heart, be offended and retreat further away from us and into their shells.
I have found that more sex will help that issue out immensely. That is perhaps the best way to build up a man's self-esteem and get him motivated to do things for his wife.
And always be sure to tell him how much you love and appreciate his hard work, even if all he ever does is go to work at his job.
My dh is definitely more laid back them me. He also works really long hours during the week. He is the type that would much rather play with our boys, then do work around the house. Part of this is probably because he is not real handy. I too, was getting frustrated with him, so we sat down and worked out a compromise. If we have repairs that must get done, I let him know. If he doesn't fix them or attempt to fix them in a few weeks, I call a handyman(he was recommended by a friend) and have them done. Dh knows that I will call someone to fix them if he doesn't do it. If he doesn't want to spend the money, then he will do it. If he doesn't want to do it, then I get them fixed. I just don't let these little things bother me anymore. I will say that I am one of those people that just can't sit and relax, if I know things need to get done. Dh has no problem relaxing on the weekends. Is this his fault?? Sometimes I think it is more my issue then his. However, with our new arrangment everyone is happy. I get things fixed. Yea! Dh gets to make the decision if he wants to do it or not. I will say that now that he knows I will call someone, he is much better at taking a few hours on the weekends to keep up with stuff.
As far as project, we haven't really done a big project lately. However, I have come to understand that dh just doesn't like to do that kind of stuff, so I wouldn't even ask him to. I would probably just hire someone to do it. Now, give dh a paint brush and he will paint all day. He just loves to paint, which is great because I hate to.
I could have written this post. I really feel like my dh is content with whatever life hands him without putting any extra effort into things. We don't own our home and part of that is because I worry about the regular maintenence a house requires. Right now, I can call the landlord if an outlet isn't working or if the garbage disposal backs up. If I had to rely on DH for that, my outlet would still be dead and I'd be without a disposal for months or years. Our backyard is a disaster because he refuses to throw things away or put them away so they can be used later (which is why he says he's keeping things) or he just never hauls things off to the dump because he doesn't want to bother.
It really bothers me that the only time he "works" is at work and, while he's great at helping me pick up around the house and playing with the kids, I can't ask him to take on any kind of a project. If I do, he'll agree to do it and then put it off and put it off and put it off. I've offered to help him, to pay someone else to do it, bribed with "favors", offered to give him the money I'd pay someone else to have for "fun money" and nothing works.
And it does bring me down, especially in the buying a house area. I want to own our home, I want to have a house that I can do with as I'd like, I want that sense of ownership but I don't want to spend a fortune paying others to do something simple and I don't want it falling in around our ears. Many things I could do on my own and figure out for myself but sometimes I just feel like I handle so much around here for myself (I'm a SAHM with all the house responsibilities) that I don't want to take on the projects that he's agreed are his responsibility. If he refuses to take that stuff to the dump and I don't know what should be kept and what really is trash, why should that be on my shoulders?
Argh! Sorry about turning this into a reply all about me. I completely understand what you're saying but I don't have a word of advice for you. I'm in the same boat and resenting every minute of it.
Tink, that is so funny that you mentioned about the backyard. Ours is the same way and I said something to him about it and he said that *I* could go out and clean it. Our neighbor burns trash in his backyard and so sometimes, the wind brings pieces to our yard making it look like the Clampetts. (I don't say anything to him because I've seen our dog pee on his yard and has probably done worse) So today I did go out and pick up the trash with the compromise that he would take down some branches on the trees in our yard that broke from heavy snow. When I came in, I made lunch and then he was headed for a nap, and I was like, "WAIT A MINUTE!!" He did go out and do it but if I hadn't said anything, I know he would have avoided it on purpose. And Tink, you'll like this, as far as junk goes, we have a small aluminum boat in our backyard that a friend of his gave to him that has a hole in it, and then my DH went and bought a boat trailer for it for $150.00!! AAAAAHHHHH!!!!! I know just how you feel about that.
Is there a reason your waiting on him? Maybe you can try and tackle a task and see if he offers support. just a thought
What truestori said, or hire someone to do it.
Absolutely what Truestori said. I do not have a husband who will sit around and allow our house to fall apart BUT I will do as much as I can around the house. I have done many home improvement projects that no one felt I was capable of. Come to find out, I can do them and there is a great source of pride you get by tackling a project. The way I see it is, my hubby works 70+ hours a week. I do not want every minute he has off to be devoted to household repairs. If I work on the house, when he is off we can spend more time together. I do not know your story. I am a stay at home mom. I think that as long as I am capable, I can work on things around the house. Yes, I have things I would not do but even so--I will help hubby do them. Two hands make a project go that much faster. I have a relative who has a husband who is exactly like you are describing and she just lives with it. I would take action by either starting the work myself or hiring help.
I will admit that I am a little guilty for "leaving" projects for him to do. Moneywise, we cannot always hire someone unless it is an emergency. It is not *just* about the work around the house, sometimes, I wish we would both get excited about the same thing and work at it as a team. This is our home and I think it is unfair for me to try to tackle ALL the projects. But, I know what you all mean about doing what I can do and again, guilty. Maybe this is silly, but it would be like medicine for me to see him tackle a project around our house with tenacity and vigor. It would make me very proud of him even though I am proud of him anyway and tell him all the time.
I completely understand, Anon. I feel the same way about just seeing him tackle something. It's not just the fact that something needs to be done. It's the attitude that it isn't important to him that our home look nice and that if it is going to look nice, it will be left up to me to take care of. I'm not the only one living here and I wouldn't be the only one taking advantage of the results of my hard work. I don't think any one person in a marriage should hold all the responsibility of making our house a home that looks nice, especially in the case of our backyard since I didn't put any of the junk out there and don't know what can and can't be done with things. I realize that my husband works hard so that I can stay home but I work really hard too. If I take care of all of the housework, laundry and child-rearing, I don't think working together on some of the extras is too much to ask. And, at least for me, it's more about the attitude behind it than the actual work. If he was willing to chip in with 25% of the effort or time, it would mean so much to me, just to see him show that it is a priority to him too. Maybe it's just a personality issue or a case of having to live it to understand it.