Are You A Lazy Husband?

Calling all lazy husbands! You (should) know who you are: you leverage your wife’s need to keep the peace, her need for order, her need to please, to take care of everyone, her guilt, her less than terrific self esteem, etc. You cash in on it with lots of napping, watching TV, drinking beer, puttering in the garage, puttering with your car or motorcycle, yakking with the neighbors (also remiss husbands), checking your email, looking at porn, and just being a couch potato with the dog or cat.

Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of loving, generous husbands who do their fair share of the work on the home front. There are also lots of wives who drop the ball on their husbands, letting them do 80% of the work, while they work out, play tennis, have lunch with friends, and shop, or read, or putter around. Right now I’m focusing on husbands who cop out, because it’s probably a more common complaint wives have, than husbands have, and because I can’t talk about everything at once.

If you’ve heard your wife complain with some frequency about your lack of participation around the house, you can either discount her as a chronic, unprovoked nag, or you can do some soul searching about the possible kernels of truth in her complaints. If you choose the latter, you might want to examine what you’re trying to accomplish with doing less. Maybe, it’s your way of flipping her the bird, because you feel resentful about things the two of you don’t discuss. Maybe you feel unappreciated for the other things you do in your life together. Maybe the two of you have set up a “parent-child” dynamic, with you playing the part of the lax child, needing to be scolded by a parent, a scenario which might mirror your family of origin dynamic. Maybe it’s your way of getting attention, feeling short-changed by your wife’s attention to the kids and relatives. Maybe you were just trained by your family to expect others to wait on you, and feel it’s your entitlement.

Whatever drives your under-functioning, be aware that it always has consequences. Don’t expect her to be warm and fuzzy in the bedroom, when the context is one of disparate contribution to the work load.

Don’t think she’ll forget it and be available for fun and lightness, with time and distraction. Don’t expect to feel good about yourself, down deep, when you know on some level that you aren’t carrying your own weight. Do expect resentment, a disengaged, cold shoulder, more nagging, and a buildup of contempt.

The good news is that if you use your words about what bothers you or what you need, instead of acting it out through under-functioning, you can open up potentially constructive dialogue about who needs what, and what to do about it. It’s far more constructive and mature. You’ll also avoid the unpleasantness of life in the dog house. It’s your call……

Good night and good luck,

Susan Lager

About Susan Lager

ABOUT ME Susan Lager, LICSW, BCD I grew up in New Rochelle, a suburb of NYC, lived in Manhattan for ten years during college and graduate school, and escaped the madness for the wilds of Maine to be with Thom, the sweet man I'm still married to after 34 years. (We have an awesome 29 year old son named Alec who will run the free world someday). I knew I'd survive the relocation from New York when I discovered the scenic, historic little city of Portsmouth, on the coast of New Hampshire, with its winding streets, great restaurants, and music everywhere. I was especially thrilled to attend the Portsmouth Psychotherapy Institute, an offshoot of the B.I.P., where I did post-graduate training, and then went into private practice creating The Couples Center PLLC, doing psychotherapy, with individuals, couples and groups. In 2010 I opened a division of the practice called COUPLESPEAK™, providing live and online coaching, training programs, workshops, and written materials for people in different kinds of partnerships. I'm still passionate about the work, which is NEVER boring! My clients are courageous pioneers, and they've taught me lots I'll pass on......
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