The sad story of a husband dealing with his lazy wife
For the sake of my sanity, of my love for my children, and desire to have space and peace at home, what can I do?
“First off, Thank you so much for seeking to dispel so many paradigms through your thorough study of Scripture. I’ve spent too many years halfheartedly trying to be a “spiritual leader” in my home, and finally I’m just stepping up to be THE head of my home (as Christ is my head in everything). I’ve had my share of struggling times, and a couple of the most recent ones I’ve started writing you drafts on! However, after I get fed up, things seem to turn around before I have the chance to finish. I’d like to ask of your wisdom when it comes to achieving a well-managed home. My wife has stayed at home for our marriage, aside from a couple of brief casual jobs, and a part time one that lasted a few months. We got married as egalitarians I believe, and though both of our parents were fairly traditional (both our moms at home, dads working), they never taught us about egalitarianism or complementarianism. I think we absorbed a lot MORE than our parents taught simply through church and the culture around us. Our house is usually messy. We’ve had periods of incredible organization and tidiness, but it doesn’t seem to last. I’ve gotten grief from believing / hoping that one day it could be habit for dishes to be cleaned up after a meal, rather than later in the day, or the next day. My wife has made me some amazing meals, and gone to great lengths a few times to do so. But more often, some frozen piece of food will be taken out and warmed up (starting at “supper time”) when there is fresh food in the fridge. I’ve had to learn to shut up and get out of the kitchen more – I enjoy food, and when I have the time I’m willing to cook it. Today was my “day off”, and my wife was booked away for lunch (a small job we agreed on). As I’m ordering my kids around to unload/load the dishwasher, set the table, and help out a bit I started to get angry. Cleaning a day or two of dishes so that I have space simply to make some noodle soup (my wife neither asked me to cook nor provided an idea/plan). The last 2 days I’ve worked (while with kids for a couple hours) in my home office, and at a regular job. I bought us a takeout meal on Friday, and cooked part of the meal yesterday. My whole marriage I’ve resisted complaining, so though we’ve had arguments I’ve never gone to someone else to ask “is this normal”, or “can I not expect more in my marriage”, etc. When we talk she gets grumpy, or complains that I’m micromanaging her, or if she sees that I really am getting fed up by something specific, she’ll say “Fine.” and go do it with an emotional cloud that I’m positive even the kids can feel in the room. I come home, or come up from my home office and have to remind her about things that still haven’t been done – it makes me feel like a housewife; except I’m also working pretty full time. When business is slow I will take a little time off, relax a bit, but also help tidy or put things away, cook, etc. So many stupid little details that I’m sorry to bother you with, but the backlash I get from talking to her about any expectations is almost as wearying as living in this mess, and wishing I just had time to relax, to play with my kids (rather than stepping in when I can tell they’ve had no attention, few boundaries, or TV/tablets for much of the day). “ We’ve had bigger issues before, and got through them. We have some great sex, some incredible days together. But when it’s time to get back to work, I feel we should both work (me in my career, her in our home). Then we can play together, rather than working in the house together to catch up by the time my work begins again. After reading the manosphere, I’ve come to realize that idealism and self-awareness is something I’ve naturally pursued, and the fact that she doesn’t seem to pursue it (at least in her role as I do in my role) seems naturally “female”. For the sake of my sanity, of my love for my children, and desire to have space & peace at home, what can I do? We do have so much positive, but I’m tired of getting angry at home. We’ve only ever had one full time income, so she’s noted (many times) that she doesn’t have a “budget” for much furniture (we may buy a few small pieces, or one large piece per year), or other home things. I had to prioritize my business, and she wanted to start a family, which we began in our first year. We love our kids, but definitely live simply. I know you’ve mentioned discipline, but as we don’t have much discretionary income, it’s hard for me to see how I can withhold anything from her. Family allowance etc. goes straight to her (which is good, she has become better at managing it). It’s like my personal authority has its limits, and positional authority is better known than mentioned!”