Dating / Marriage / Relationships

Stop Doing it For Him

You hear it all the time: “I want my husband to do this but he won’t so I have to do it myself!” Most of the time these women are frustrated and exhausted. They just want things to change but have no idea how to help that to happen. At this point the advice I would give them more than likely wouldn’t be well received. It wasn’t by me the first time I heard it! But I can attest to it being effective if not a bit soul crushing at first:

Stop doing it for him. Stop taking out the trash. Stop fixing the plugged drain. Stop making the decisions.

Ask him once and then leave it. It’s so easier said than done, I know, I have been there too. Ask him nicely, first making sure you have his full attention as often times we talk to the back of their heads and expect them to hear us, and then don’t take care of it. If that means the trash piles onto the floor it means the trash piles onto the floor. If that means you sit in the car not sure where to go to dinner for an hour until he finally makes a decision it means you sit in the car for an hour.

In my teens I went to stay with a family member for a while. When I was first there I was nervous about her high cleaning standards but I wanted to be good, to show my worth, so I strove to keep up with them. A few days in I was in the shower when she knocked on the door and asked me to wipe down the counter and take out the bathroom trash. “Sure!” I answered energetically. Only a few moments later she was barging into the bathroom muttering “I’ll just do it myself”, wiping down the counter, and taking out the trash. This behavior continued where she would ask me to do something and then turn around and do it herself. It didn’t take long before I didn’t even bother to do what she asked. What was the point if she was just going to do it herself? What was worse was when I did get the chance to do what she had asked for her she would stand over me and tell me all the ways I was doing it wrong and take over for me.

Think of it this way; once you ask him to do something or his chores/duties are designated they are now his responsibility, not yours. If those things don’t get done or they get done poorly it is his mistake to make. All too often women think they have to tell men what to do because “they don’t know any better”. This is emasculating mothering behavior. Your man is not a child. If he doesn’t know how to do something he’ll figure it out. If he does it poorly he will figure it out (important to note here: not meeting your standards does not necessarily mean being done poorly). He doesn’t need you to hold his hand and he doesn’t need you to do it for him. What he needs is room to do it.

This is not a sudden fix. This will take time to take hold. You are going to be dealing with things your OCD tendencies are going to hate you for. Deal with them. This is more about you getting out of his way than it is about you getting your way. That’s important to remember or you will be let down by him not meeting your standards (spoilers: he isn’t going to nor does he have to) and fall back into old habits. You need to change your behavior so that he has room to change his.

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3 thoughts on “Stop Doing it For Him

  1. Yeah I never understood that about women who complain “he leaves his dirty socks around the house.”

    So? He’s a big boy. When he’s ready to not wear old, dirty, smelly socks, he’ll pick them up off the floor and wash them.

    “He leaves dirty dishes in the sink”

    Again, when he needs a clean plate to eat off of, he’ll wash them.

    Housework is a do as you go, do when needed sort of thing. Nothing to fret over.

    And nobody was born to keep tabs on another grown adult as if they were a 5 year old child. My 5 year old child is not going to wash her socks or clean her dishes just yet. But when she’s around 10 she will. I certainly will not expect to monitor the laundry and dishes of a 25 year old adult!

    So why do these women monitor the laundry and dishes of their grown husbands?


  2. ” You need to change your behavior so that he has room to change his.” When I stopped viewing him as a child that needed a mother (which he already had) and saw him as a man with free choice, I discovered that it was really me who needed to change.

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