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I can’t get my husband to help me do ANYTHING when he gets home from work, and weekends are even worse. He is a very hardworking painter, and I know he is physically exhausted when he gets home, but we are in an older home with constant maintenance needs and upkeep. We don’t really have the money to hire handymen. I work hard, too, but I am definitely not handy and have no maintenance skills at all. Help!
Signed – Weary in Washington
I always tell the young girls in my life, “If he cooks and cleans, keep him”! (A little humor here.) My husband works a physical job too, and I’ve been told that we are “not spring chickens” anymore.
I would start by communicating directly with him. Express your concerns and needs, but be direct and specific. (Be careful not to nag or whine at him … I did this for years – and trust me, the man in your life will learn how to tune you out.) See if he is willing to pitch in at least a couple of times a month with things that are necessary. And make sure you tell him, “I would be glad to do the maintenance work, I just don’t know how.”
Have you tried maybe designating one Saturday a month to “cleanup and repair day” at the house? Write it on a calendar and mention it to him several times ahead of time. Write out a list of all the repairs that need to be done (i.e. leaky bathroom faucet, put up a picture in the master bedroom, etc.), and make sure he knows that you will pitch in to help him work on the list of repairs. Offer to hand him tools, or clean the bathroom at the same time, so he doesn’t feel like he is the only one working. (A “to do” list works well with my husband, and other friends have told me this works for them, too.)
If he starts helping out more, be thankful and grateful and be sure to tell him how grateful you are. But if he doesn’t change, and still stays on the couch all weekend, you have to decide if you can tolerate this behavior or not, only you can decide that.
Last but not least, here is how one of my friends approached a similar problem – she put a call out to friends to see who wanted to participate in a “monthly work weekend”. One weekend a month, the friends all got together to work at one friend’s home … the next month it was another friend’s home. With a group of guys working together, a lot gets accomplished in a weekend. The “host” house supplies the food and beverages for everyone – and not only does an amazing amount of work get accomplished, but everyone has a great time too!
Readers: I would love to hear your suggestions for “Weary in Washington”, too!
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