Have you ever had a friend vent to you about her husband so intensely that you worried she was about to kick him down the steps or something?
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, as Billy Waggadagger once said.
If you’re like me you get a bit worried for his safety but you also become a bit stressed whether listening to your friend go off and not calling the police would make you an accomplice to a crime or something.
Well, don’t worry. Assuming she is just blowing off steam it’s understandable sometimes when tensions get high.
There are a lot of reasons for marital problems and some of them can result in separation and divorce, so it’s no laughing matter.
But half the time when my friends have problems with their husbands it isn’t what you might expect.
Not verbal or physical abuse.
Not lying or financial dishonesty.
Those issues certainly do happen and they’re a huge problem. But what often drives my friends into a real tizzy is far simpler and more common: they can’t stand how goddamn lazy their husbands are most of the time.
I know, I know. Language.
But seriously, this problem seems like one that many women face on a daily basis and struggle to figure out how to fix, am I right?
Your guy might be a gentle giant or a wonderful father and lover with a rakish grin who sweeps you off your feet when he kisses you before work in the morning, but when it comes to putting a few dishes in the dishwashing machine or helping clean on a Saturday he’s nowhere to be found or doing his best impression of a log on the couch.
Meanwhile you as the woman are doing everything. And I mean everything.
That doesn’t sound half-way acceptable to me, and I’m guessing it doesn’t to you, either.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with your husband being a chill guy or liking some time out. That’s all good.
But laziness is a whole different kettle of fish.
Before giving you some pointers on how to help your husband turn over a more energetic new leaf I’m going to define the six main types of lazy husband.
Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about here ladies.
Type One: Mr. Eternal Excuses
We’ve all been there. You ask for a small favor of some kind but he’s just not able to at the moment.
Then it turns out he’s not able to help out later that day at the moment or tomorrow or the next day or … ever.
Mr. Eternal Excuses isn’t a bad guy, but he’s a truly lazy fellow deep in his bones. He hears about picking up some groceries for you on the way home or raking a small pile of leaves on the weekend and he just wilts.
He has a one-man invisibility cloak and his superpower is the excuse. He will get really creative with these, too. “Aw hun, I just have to talk to Bill from work about this one project we have coming up next week. Then I swear I can take a look ASAP.”
Mr. Eternal Excuses doesn’t usually change on his own and he can even start to sabotage himself, missing out on basic grooming and eating normal food. I’ve had friends of mine have to take their husband to therapy because of how deeply set his laziness and excuses to do anything at all had become.
Type Two: the Pampered Man-Child
This is another very common husband prototype: the pampered man-child. Often raised by a doting mother, the man-child still acts like he’s five-years-old even though he’s 44.
He doesn’t lift a finger unless absolutely forced to do so and will sit back waiting to be served meals, massaged, showered with attention and looked after in every way.
This husband is like having another kid, and it can become downright unromantic how much attention and care he needs all day, every day.
The pampered man-child can be reformed through patient good-humor and a little bit of pressure, but be careful to try to see the best in him and not take his laziness personally.
He generally will slowly begin to change when given positive reinforcement and the occasional cookie – or kiss.
Type Three: the Clumsy Slouch
The Clumsy Slouch is a master of self-sabotage. He is so clumsy and lazy that you begin to stop ever asking him to do anything because you know it will only end up being more trouble than just doing it yourself.
Do you really want dog food spilled all over the floor again like last time you asked if he could feed the poodle?
Wasn’t the mechanics bill for $500 a clear enough sign from the last time you asked if he could try changing the air filter?
This guy is the one who teachers let sleep in class because it just made things easier for everyone.
He is a human yawn (who you love and care for deeply and find devilishly handsome, of course).
But he’s going to take some work, and maybe a little bit of training classes will help out so that he can at least learn to excel in one or two handyman areas.
Type Four: the Misogynist Asshole
What’s a nice way to say this? There isn’t one.
This type of lazy husband is a misogynist asshole.
For whatever mixture of psychology and personal upbringing or just plain ego tripping he will constantly assert that his identity as a man puts him out of bounds for helping out around home or, really, at all.
“I’ll do what I want when I want to do it, and you’ll do what I want when I want, too” is the guiding motto of this selfish jerk (who you presumably love and adore because of his many other positive, attractive qualities).
This man will play up his masculinity whenever it comes time to turning down helping out or going to pick up the kids. He’ll almost never compliment you on all the hard work you do, either.
Doesn’t he sound like a catch?
This entitled fellow needs some serious retraining and you’ll need determination and patience to cut through his bullshit enough to coax some actual respect and decency out of him in the end.
Type Five: the Sweet Talking Romeo
The sweet-talking Romeo is the husband you love to look at and climb under the sheets with for some snuggle sessions but who never seems to actually make your life easier.
Sure he’s charming.
Sure he’s a looker.
But when it comes to the bottom line he just doesn’t seem equally invested in day-to-day tasks and helping out.
He will butter you up about how great you look, how much he appreciates what you do to help, but he won’t actually chip in himself or if he does it will often be in superficial ways.
Watch out for this one because if you let him hoodwink you for too long then resentment can build up. Maybe tell him you find him sexy when he’s dressed in old clothes and trying to fix the sink with a wrench. The prospect of you ogling his plumber’s crack might pique his interest.
Type Six: the Almost-But-Not-Quite
The almost-but-not-quite husband will seem to make an honest effort to be an equal partner but he just can’t quite get there.
He tries to scrape ice off the windshield one morning but his hand goes numb. He gets up to make toast for the kids but he leaves it in too long and you’re woken up by the smoke alarm.
He swears he’s going to stop by the grocery store and buy macaroni but then something just comes up at work right when he’s about to swing by the store.
You were hoping someone could trim the front hedge this weekend and he promised he would. He even laid out all the tools in the shed. But then wouldn’t you know it he woke up with a sore back and just wasn’t sure it was such a great idea to do today after all.
Do you really want to be the wife who pressures her husband into a chronic back injury?
Mr. Almost-But-Not-Quite is the least serious of the above types. He at least starts to put the effort into trying. He just needs help over that final hurdle.
The hurdle of turning talk into action and putting a bit more effort in when faced with a challenge. He’ll get there, if you approach things the right way.
Now what about solutions?
Indeed, now is the moment you’ve all been waiting for. How to effectively respond in order to get your husband off his lazy posterior.
Here we go with fourteen approaches that really work.
1. Talk it out
They say talk is cheap, and if you’re husband is Mr. Eternal Excuses and several other types then he can twist words to his advantage.
But, still, communication is the key to a successful long-term relationship and it’s important to put your cards on the table.
Tell him you need more from him. Tell him you’re invested and you want him to be, too.
Avoid getting personal or judging his character. Focus on practicalities and how you would like him to chip in to your marriage in real, daily ways.
He will appreciate that you’re being upfront and as long as you provide actionable and reasonable steps he can take to improve then there’s a good chance he’ll try his best to be a better partner.
2. Turn his secret key
I’m not talking about a secret key that you unzip below his belt buckle, either. Nor is it some thingamajig in his back that you twist until he becomes Chucky the Helpful House Hubby.
No, the secret key is the hero instinct.
If you can trigger his hero instinct by showing him that you need him and that he’s protecting you and making a difference it can be a powerful changemaker in your whole relationship.
Even marriages that seem to have reached a dead-end and be staler than an old box of crackers can shake off the dust and reemerge stronger than ever.
That’s because the hero instinct taps into a man’s deepest inbuilt biological impulses. Once you find out about how it works you will hold the secret key to turning things around.
If you want to learn more about the hero instinct and how to trigger it in your man, check out this free video from relationship psychologist James Bauer.
James Bauer coined the term and he gives an excellent introduction to the concept.
Some ideas really are game-changers. And for relationships, I think this is one of them.
3. Aim low
Now I’m not talking about aiming low when you kick him in the shin or other unmentionable places.
Please don’t do that (remember: I don’t want to be an accomplice to anything).
What I’m talking about is taking the dial on your expectations and turning it down just a teeny, weeny wee bit as the Irish would say.
This does not mean to let everything slide. Or to flatter him for nothing. Or to pamper him with a foot rub and a delicious dessert after his hard evening of Doritos in the armchair.
No, it simply means gradually getting him with the program instead of all at once. Recognizing his progress and applauding it. It’s just a matter of taking it a bit easy on him as he slowly emerges from what scientists call the Lazy Ass Man Environment (LAME).
4. Celebrate his wins
This is also connected to the hero instinct. Your man doesn’t like to admit it, but deep inside he craves attention and appreciation.
But if he has to ask for compliments and kudos it ruins it.
That’s where you come in, seeking out the good things he’s doing and giving him some positive reinforcement. Even if he just made the kids’ school lunches or used the blower to clear the driveway yesterday.
That’s something. And you want to let him know you see him.
And you like what you’re seeing.
5. Keep cool and calm
Let’s be clear: I don’t know your husband, but I do know husbands as a species. If you go off on him and threaten or belittle him he will not react well.
Even the most mild-mannered guy has insecurities and a temper. He’ll likely retreat into himself and build up all sorts of resentment against you.
Instead, try to keep cool and calm. State where you’re at firmly but nicely. Be patient but insistent. Throw in a joke or two. Get him to pitch in. Just whatever you do don’t let your temper get the best of you and tear him to shreds.
It won’t end well for either of you.
6. Offer him respect for respect
Whatever the reasons that your husband is a lazy guy, he may not fully realize the way it comes across to you.
As a lack of respect and a lack of investment in the relationship.
If his laziness is getting you down then consider making a truce: respect for respect.
Let him know where you’re at and about the emotions you’re feeling. Tell him you know it’s not personal but it would really mean everything to you if he pitches in to help out more and be around for you in his spare time.
This is going to strike the hero instinct chord deep inside him and the common sense chord.
Respect for respect. Love for love.
7. Cultivate your connection
Remember when you were so in love you lost your breath looking at him?
Try to think back to that special time and energy instead of now when you’re out of breath from asking him about all the stuff he hasn’t done and why he’s still watching reruns of that car remodelling show six hours after breakfast.
Work on fostering that connection you have between the two of you.
Touch him affectionately and give him a kiss (suggestion, not an order).
Tell him you appreciate him and give his shoulder a rub. This is your guy, slow as he may be, and you’re going to stick with him until he stops being such a lazy slob, because you love him.
He’ll feel that support and belief and it will motivate him.
8. Collaborate and innovate
It’s important to stay flexible as you deal with your lazy husband. Let him do his thing as he starts to help out and don’t try to micromanage.
Maybe he dries dishes like a weirdo or can’t seem to understand how to hold a vacuum. This may be hard to watch, but just let him try his best and only give one or two gentle suggestions now and then.
Help him out and do some things together as well.
Think of it as couple time. It’s also a good chance for you to work on your patience and be there for him as he starts his journey to becoming a helpful husband.
9. Don’t be condescending
In addition to being calm and collected it’s important to avoid getting condescending or sarcastic.
Don’t re-sweep what he just did on the front deck or glare at him and roll your eyes after he tried to replace a broken doorknob and ended up creating something that looks like a Jackson Pollock painting.
He’s in a learning curve. Bear with him and try to find the humor in it.
You can be honest, but don’t focus on the negative. Laugh it off and tell him you believe in him.
10. Spend some time in his shoes
Sorry if they’re sweaty and disgusting, I never thought of that before typing the headline. But seriously, spend some time tramping around in hubby’s shoes and see what you come up with.
Is he lazy as a sloth? Sure. But could there be reasons other than poor personality or disrespect that are part of his current state?
This isn’t about making excuses for your other half, it’s just about taking an objective yet compassionate look at his situation.
If he’s been suffering with depression, lost a loved one, recently lost his job or many other life stages he may be in a state of grief or numbness.
Reach out to him and foster the love that exists between you. Let him know you understand and appreciate anything he does unconditionally.
11. Take a hike …
… On the beach, in Mexico … or through the peaceful streets of a Swiss alpine village. What I’m saying is to take a vacation.
It sure sounds like you could probably use one.
And all that sofa surfing is probably taking its toll on your husband too. He could probably use a change of pace looking after the kids, feeding the pets or getting that vital yardwork done around the house.
Taking a vacation gives him a little preview of what life without you is like.
It also lets him gain a growing respect for just how much you’ve been getting done around the house.
Plus hubby will be so glad when you get back that you can look forward to a delicious meal out (or even a home-cooked delicacy if he’s learned some new skills while you were AWOL).
12. Split up …
… the workload. The work, the chores. Split up the tasks you both do.
That’s what I meant.
What, really? You thought I was going to recommend splitting up the relationship on a list about how to solve a lazy man?
Don’t throw in the towel that easily, sister.
There’s still hope in this cowboy of yours, yet. Maybe (no guarantees).
You can even write out a calendar with gold stars and everything and decide between the two of you who does what and when.
Maybe Steak and Blowjob day will come more than once a year once a certain amount of gold stars starts adding up on his side.
Or maybe you just want him to start being a man and taking responsibility in your marriage because that’s his end of the bargain, regardless of expecting any perks.
After all, the perk is being with you … right?
13. Make it fun
How do you make picking up the kids from school or organizing the kitchen fun you might ask?
A million ways.
You could sing a duet while washing dishes. You could tell him about all the great parent-kid bonding that happens on rides home from school that he’d miss out on by not picking them up.
You can go to the nursery and pick out flowers for the front porch that are exotic and amazing. He may not be overly metrosexual, but who doesn’t love flowers deep down on some level, right?
Make it fun and get more done.
14. Good influences go a long way
You know it sounds like you probably already have enough to do without also training your husband to pick up the slack …
And if that’s the case there’s another tool in the toolbox that you can take out and skillfully use.
The friend tool.
What I’m saying is to invite over another couple where the husband is a hardworking, considerate guy and let this hunk of helpfulness permeate your husband’s selfish, lazy atmosphere.
Let them stand by the barbecue joking about sports and life while your husband slowly realizes the square-jawed man next to him talking about fixing his wife’s car last week is more like the kind of man he wants to be, too.
Heroic, even. And with a square jaw. For sure.
This should cure his laziness or at least bring it to a more tolerable level.
There you go …
… The six main types of lazy husbands and how to unlock their hidden hardworking inner selves. If building true love and intimacy is something that you’ve been working on I highly recommend Rudá Iandê’s free masterclass on finding true love and intimacy. It helped me understand a lot about loving myself first and how to grow deep, real connections romantically that don’t become unhealthy codependent situations.