Help Me Help My Tired Husband!


#1

Looking for a little bit of marriage advice. We have no huge problems.

My husband is a wonderful man and father. He takes care of us. We both lack some self-discipline and self-control, so I am not putting it all on him. But I want to be able to help him without nagging him or becoming a pain. I'd love some advice to help me do this.

We just had our first baby 11 months ago and we have been married under 5 years. He works and comes home and is tired - understandably!! He tries to help me as much as he can with the baby, but a lot of time he lacks energy and does just want to relax and watch the TV for the rest of the night or whatever. Don't get me wrong, he spends time with the baby and bathes him some nights and everything. But he is exhausted and it's because he doesn't eat right. It will lead to him being grumpy or snappy. And we were reading a book together and doing the exercises (a Catholic marriage book) but now he is unmotivated to continue, too tired to read I guess. I've asked him a few times to continue reading but I don't want to nag him. I don't blame him for not wanting to read it after he works a long day, I guess, but in a way it hurts.

So, I try not to have junk in the house. I make good meals. I try to feed him well. But he always wants to cave and eat candy and things that are bad for him and make him put on weight or feel sluggish and tired. I can only do so much. I can keep it out of the house and cook good stuff, but he has to discipline himself somewhere. I feel resentful a lot that he complains he is so tired yet he eats so bad sometimes so it's his fault and I can't do anything else about it. (He's not a heavy guy, just a few extra pounds, he could easily be in great shape and feeling great if he worked out a little or even just ate better.)

Because he's just tired he is impatient. He is impatient by nature. He tends to swear (nothing terrible or out of this world, just something I don't want the baby to pick up on) and I told him we need to give up swearing and be careful. He agrees totally, but he doesn't watch himself or make a good effort and he's always swearing and getting aggravated. It makes me feel like he needs to grow up. We have a kid now.

On top of all that, I definitely just don't feel like we are connecting enough. We communicate very well but he's too tired to even show me much affection, let alone surprise me once by saying, "Here honey, let me load the dishwasher" or even rinse off his plate or bring it from the table to the sink. Is this just a phase of marriage? I don't know... it's like we have the "blahs" and I feel like I have 2 kids instead of one. :o I mean, last night I went to sit on his lap while he watched TV and he just continued to watch TV and say how tired he was. I just wanted him to look at me or give me a little kiss, not have to ask for it!

I feel like I try to be thoughtful and give and give but he's not very thoughtful... or he IS, but he is too tired to want to do anything about it. He is awesome at taking care of us and all the big things - he is a wonderful provider! So I feel bad complaining, but some small things really matter, if that makes sense. :blush:

How can I help him and the situation gently without being a nag?! :shrug:


#2

Hi Ruby--does he get enough sleep, do you think? Does he exercise? Maybe tweaking a few things would help him gain some energy. I know I'm tired after work, but not ''exhausted,'' UNLESS...I don't get a good night's sleep, or I'm rundown from life getting a little hectic...so that's why I ask...Could that be it?


#3

Well, your husband sounds a lot like me (even though I am not married) So I can tell you what works for me and maybe it will help.

1) I cant stand it when people walk on eggshells around me. I know that I am snappy. I know that I get rude. I dont like it, but when people treat me like a grenade it just makes me feel bad about myself, which makes things worse. The best person I have ever dealt with was my roommate in college who would just laugh at me when I got all grumpy and snappy. It would make me SOOOOO mad, then I wouldnt be able to stop laughing at myself. He single-handedly taught me to laugh at my own ridiculousness. I also want people around me who will stand up to me. Stand up for themselves, so that I know Im not going to drive them away by being myself. That doesnt mean that I dont want to stop being difficult, but at least I know I wont be left alone for being my own, broken, self.

2) Working out is the hardest thing for me to get started. I live in Montana, one of the most beautiful places in the US, and for some reason I cant bring myself to work out hardly at all. I work between 12 and 16 hours a day 5-6 days a week, so that was my excuse for a LONG time. But I got a bike a while back to save on gas and it made my mood vastly better. Just a 15 minute workout made me WAY easier to deal with. Perhaps you could suggest something like that to him. He wont believe that it is going to make him feel better, but if you kind of "guilt-trip" him into it the first couple of times he will start to enjoy himself and it will hopefully become a habit. (Just make sure you dont kepp guilt-tripping as that will not be a good thing)

3) If he likes sweets and bad food, give him sweets and bad food that are good for him. Apples instead of candy bars (another thing that he wont want to do since candy is addictive I swear) and pies made with splenda instead of sugar, cookies that have very little sugar, etc.

4) This is important. If he gets snappy as soon as he walks in the door, just give him something to drink or eat, and let him have 5-10 minutes alone. Silence works wonders for me. Just 5 minutes to sit, veg out watching tv, and drinking some milk or something makes me calm again. I know that after watching the baby all day, the last thing you probably want is to not talk to your husband and not allow your child to be with him, but it will make him calmer and therefore a better father and husband.

If he truly is like me (and he sounds like he acts a lot like I do) he does not enjoy acting like he does. He probably realizes that it is not ok, which makes him feel awful, which makes him take it out on you. One of those vicious cycle things. Men tend to be more generally irritable than women (IMHO) and they feel bad about it which makes it worse. Let him know that you can understand it and that you will work with him to help, but not that it is ok.

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#4

[quote="FidesSpesCarita, post:3, topic:190507"]
Well, your husband sounds a lot like me (even though I am not married) So I can tell you what works for me and maybe it will help.

1) I cant stand it when people walk on eggshells around me. I know that I am snappy. I know that I get rude. I dont like it, but when people treat me like a grenade it just makes me feel bad about myself, which makes things worse. The best person I have ever dealt with was my roommate in college who would just laugh at me when I got all grumpy and snappy. It would make me SOOOOO mad, then I wouldnt be able to stop laughing at myself. He single-handedly taught me to laugh at my own ridiculousness. I also want people around me who will stand up to me. Stand up for themselves, so that I know Im not going to drive them away by being myself. That doesnt mean that I dont want to stop being difficult, but at least I know I wont be left alone for being my own, broken, self.

2) Working out is the hardest thing for me to get started. I live in Montana, one of the most beautiful places in the US, and for some reason I cant bring myself to work out hardly at all. I work between 12 and 16 hours a day 5-6 days a week, so that was my excuse for a LONG time. But I got a bike a while back to save on gas and it made my mood vastly better. Just a 15 minute workout made me WAY easier to deal with. Perhaps you could suggest something like that to him. He wont believe that it is going to make him feel better, but if you kind of "guilt-trip" him into it the first couple of times he will start to enjoy himself and it will hopefully become a habit. (Just make sure you dont kepp guilt-tripping as that will not be a good thing)

3) If he likes sweets and bad food, give him sweets and bad food that are good for him. Apples instead of candy bars (another thing that he wont want to do since candy is addictive I swear) and pies made with splenda instead of sugar, cookies that have very little sugar, etc.

4) This is important. If he gets snappy as soon as he walks in the door, just give him something to drink or eat, and let him have 5-10 minutes alone. Silence works wonders for me. Just 5 minutes to sit, veg out watching tv, and drinking some milk or something makes me calm again. I know that after watching the baby all day, the last thing you probably want is to not talk to your husband and not allow your child to be with him, but it will make him calmer and therefore a better father and husband.

If he truly is like me (and he sounds like he acts a lot like I do) he does not enjoy acting like he does. He probably realizes that it is not ok, which makes him feel awful, which makes him take it out on you. One of those vicious cycle things. Men tend to be more generally irritable than women (IMHO) and they feel bad about it which makes it worse. Let him know that you can understand it and that you will work with him to help, but not that it is ok.

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[/quote]

This is the best advice I have heard on the subject in a long time. It is nice hearing come from a man's view. I certainly have need of hearing this for myself in my own life. Thanks!


#5

[quote="Peggy_in_Burien, post:4, topic:190507"]
This is the best advice I have heard on the subject in a long time. It is nice hearing come from a man's view. I certainly have need of hearing this for myself in my own life. Thanks!

[/quote]

I love your sig, btw. I never knew where it came from, but had heard it over and over. I also like this from Euripides "Courage may be taught as a child is taught to speak".

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#6

[quote="FidesSpesCarita, post:3, topic:190507"]
Well, your husband sounds a lot like me (even though I am not married) So I can tell you what works for me and maybe it will help.

1) I cant stand it when people walk on eggshells around me. I know that I am snappy. I know that I get rude. I dont like it, but when people treat me like a grenade it just makes me feel bad about myself, which makes things worse. The best person I have ever dealt with was my roommate in college who would just laugh at me when I got all grumpy and snappy. It would make me SOOOOO mad, then I wouldnt be able to stop laughing at myself. He single-handedly taught me to laugh at my own ridiculousness. I also want people around me who will stand up to me. Stand up for themselves, so that I know Im not going to drive them away by being myself. That doesnt mean that I dont want to stop being difficult, but at least I know I wont be left alone for being my own, broken, self.

2) Working out is the hardest thing for me to get started. I live in Montana, one of the most beautiful places in the US, and for some reason I cant bring myself to work out hardly at all. I work between 12 and 16 hours a day 5-6 days a week, so that was my excuse for a LONG time. But I got a bike a while back to save on gas and it made my mood vastly better. Just a 15 minute workout made me WAY easier to deal with. Perhaps you could suggest something like that to him. He wont believe that it is going to make him feel better, but if you kind of "guilt-trip" him into it the first couple of times he will start to enjoy himself and it will hopefully become a habit. (Just make sure you dont kepp guilt-tripping as that will not be a good thing)

3) If he likes sweets and bad food, give him sweets and bad food that are good for him. Apples instead of candy bars (another thing that he wont want to do since candy is addictive I swear) and pies made with splenda instead of sugar, cookies that have very little sugar, etc.

4) This is important. If he gets snappy as soon as he walks in the door, just give him something to drink or eat, and let him have 5-10 minutes alone. Silence works wonders for me. Just 5 minutes to sit, veg out watching tv, and drinking some milk or something makes me calm again. I know that after watching the baby all day, the last thing you probably want is to not talk to your husband and not allow your child to be with him, but it will make him calmer and therefore a better father and husband.

If he truly is like me (and he sounds like he acts a lot like I do) he does not enjoy acting like he does. He probably realizes that it is not ok, which makes him feel awful, which makes him take it out on you. One of those vicious cycle things. Men tend to be more generally irritable than women (IMHO) and they feel bad about it which makes it worse. Let him know that you can understand it and that you will work with him to help, but not that it is ok.

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[/quote]

This IS great advice. I learned a while ago, to not ''bombard'' my husband as soon as he walks in from work, with ''issues.'' He likes to unwind, get changed from work...and relax before we start diving into discussions about whatever. Helpful post. :thumbsup:


#7

:hug1:

To help his energy level, could you get him some vitamins (for you and him,) and then take them at the same time during the day. Maybe this will give him enough energy to start working out which will make him feel better overall. I got some for my DH since I am still taking prenatals, and they made him feel really good, the only thing is actually getting him to take them. :rolleyes:

My Dh doesn’t have a stressful job, but when he gets home, I let him do what he wants on the computer and then when he goes in to change, we will go with him and sit on the bed, when he is done changing sometimes he will lay on the bed and we will snuggle while the baby plays between us. He told me that he really enjoys that time together as a family.


#8

Thanks for the advice and Fides, thank you for the great insights!

I definitely do make it a point to let my DH come in the door and have time to himself to unwind. It’s important to me that he comes home to a relaxing atmosphere and I never “dump” stuff on him when he gets in the door.

I hadn’t thought about the fact that he knows how grumpy he gets and dislikes it. Though I know he dislikes acting that way, because he has said so and apologizes often. It’s just that he is a very negative person and complains a LOT. I am glad you suggested letting him know it’s not ok, but not in a naggy way… this is something I want to do, but carefully. I want to speak up (he tells me to stand up for myself) but not always give him negative responses, you know?

I also know that if I improve myself and pray, he will be better able to improve himself too. It’s just hard not feeling resentful and discouraged sometimes.

And I find myself not liking the person he is or the way he is acting, I suppose. He gets frustrated so quickly with our son and it makes me upset. Maybe he has a sugar problem :shrug:


#9

All of the above are indications that you are dealing with a hypoglycemic husband.
Hypoglycemia can be easily managed through diet. Left unmanaged, it can evolve into type II (adult onset) diabetes. Beware.


#10

Obviously given CAF's medical advice restrictions, I won't ask about age, weight or anything like that. But if his energy level seems lower than usual out of the blue, maybe it's a testosterone thing. Some men experience a sharp drop which leads to a sharp drop as they get a bit older (again, don't know if this applies) and that can lead to less exercising and more general moodiness. Of course, it could just be the attitude that needs an adjustment!

I know I can be a bit more cantankerous than I want to me. I like the whole "strong and silent" idealized version of men, but I don't seem to live up to it. That's probably for the best as a whole since my job as a journalist requires me to be very talkative and connect emotionally with different types of people.

At any rate, if it's just an attitude thing, I'd suggest going for regular walks/jog/runs. Get a jogging stroller and suggest that the three of you get out and enjoy fresh air. Do some after-dinner walks or pre-dinner runs to burn off stress. If you husband has a very labor intensive job that might not work, but if it's white collar it might. I too feel tired after work, but it's mostly mental tiredness that my body is reacting to. Once I hit the gym later that night, I feel great. It's a bit of a pain at first to get into this routine, but it's well worth that effort. I went from being 250+ lbs. as a teenager to about 205 in college. I've put a few back on since I have a slow metabolism (I had to be in the gym six days a week running, lifting and training mixed martial arts to maintain 205), but I'm still in the gym five times a week even with two kids under two! It's doable and frankly, it's the only reason I have energy. I know it's just "more work" at first, but once you crack through that, regular exercise will make you more energetic and generally happier thanks to those lovely endorphins.


#11

TheBucket - I have been watching this thread with interest as I also have a very low energy level. I used to exercise very regularly, but 5 kids later… So, my question to The Bucket; does it matter what time of day you exercise? Would it be better at the beginning of the day, middle, or end? Or does it not really matter?


#12

I agree with PeggyinBurien and love the advice from Fidesestcaritas...So helpful to hear it from a man's point of view and practical. I love practical advice and will use it.
Thanks!


#13

I’m guessing here, this is not medical advice, but I think it’s all up to the individual. I like to work out in the evenings, my wife prefers to do so in the morning. I used to train in mixed martial arts regularly and our training sessions were from 6-8pm. So that’s what I got used to for my overall workout regimen. Weekends it’s different, but during the week I hit the gym from 8-9:30pm. She works out the same days (so we can have a couple days in the week with all of us together morning and evening) 6:45-8am. We then run 5-6 miles outside together, with the kids in a jogging stroller, early on Saturday mornings. It’s worked out well for us.

I’d suggest just picking a time and going with it. If after a few weeks it’s not gelling as a routine, switch up the time until it does.


#14

Very good advice here


#15

I heard of a fun piece of advice once, if you and your husband are very visual and frugal people.

Make "rules" and "fees" for breaking those rules. Print these up.
Set out a clear jar or vase.
For every time someone breaks it - including yourself - put the fee in the jar.

Its a visual reminder of, 'I agreed not to do this.'
The act of doing something, also, stops the person long enough to think about what it is they're doing.

Its important to also come up with some sort of reward system in place, too. Something like, for every day that money doesn't go into the jar, you... can have a piece of chocolate. Get to take a dollar out of the fee jar. A bubble bath. Things like that.

I don't know how often you two do things alone, either, but perhaps hire a babysitter or dop your child off at a grandparent's house? Doing something low key, just the two of you, might be a great way to reconnect and relax for an evening without having to worry about anything. Children have a way of completely taking over someone's life and every waking moment. (I don't mean that in a bad way.)


#16

Does he snore a lot at night? And do you notice that he stops breathing? My husband has Sleeping apnea, and he used to wake up super tired everyday prior to diagnosis. Maybe just look out for that.
Also, though i agree with most comments, it seems to me that you are trying very carefully not to upset him. Though this is commendable, you have to let him know that this is upsetting you, otherwise, you may become too resentful, and that is dangerous in many levels. Communication doesn’t have to turn into nagging. Set a time aside, preferably when the baby is sleeping, and have time for the two of you, where you discuss, with a lot of love, what is bothering you. Maybe you will be surprised, and he will tell you that something is bothering him too.
Best of luck, and continue praying.
God Bless,
Mama C.


#17

[quote="His_Ruby, post:1, topic:190507"]
...

I feel like I try to be thoughtful and give and give but he's not very thoughtful... or he IS, but he is too tired to want to do anything about it. He is awesome at taking care of us and all the big things - he is a wonderful provider! So I feel bad complaining, but some small things really matter, if that makes sense. :blush:

How can I help him and the situation gently without being a nag?! :shrug:

[/quote]

There is physical tired and mental tired. I have a very intense mental job and ADD which makes the mental focus even harder. Then I have a long commute through traffic. When I get home I don't like getting ambushed with problems or even just regular communication that is a bit overwhelming when I am just trying to decompress.

As for the snacks, I find that much of the convenient food is unhealthy. I am a fidgety eater and am not hungry per se but just want something to snack on. If there are carrots at the ready I'll eat them, or popcorn, or candy. Unfortunately items that are bite size and require no preparation are usually not the healthiest items in the kitchen.

By the way exercise doe help me but by the time I get home, decompress, eat, spend a few minutes with the kids, and do housework, it is time to go to bed. That leaves no time for the gym.


#18

[quote="MamaCatolica, post:16, topic:190507"]
Does he snore a lot at night? And do you notice that he stops breathing? My husband has Sleeping apnea, and he used to wake up super tired everyday prior to diagnosis. Maybe just look out for that.
Also, though i agree with most comments, it seems to me that you are trying very carefully not to upset him. Though this is commendable, you have to let him know that this is upsetting you, otherwise, you may become too resentful, and that is dangerous in many levels. Communication doesn't have to turn into nagging. Set a time aside, preferably when the baby is sleeping, and have time for the two of you, where you discuss, with a lot of love, what is bothering you. Maybe you will be surprised, and he will tell you that something is bothering him too.
Best of luck, and continue praying.
God Bless,
Mama C.

[/quote]

The sleep apnea thing is a definite possibility. I used to snore A LOT and loudly. You could hear it in the apartment next to mine which did not share a wall. Then I quit smoking and started working out. I still snore, but quietly, and I no longer wake up all the time. I used to be up four or five times a night even if I didnt remember it.

And I will second what mama C (is this short for mama cass?) said about letting him know it is bothering you. I would definitely want to know, since it stinks to be "that guy" who makes his family walk on eggshells. But in that situation it has to be done appropriately. Maybe on a saturday night after a good nights sleep or after mass?

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#19

I am in the same boat as Royal Archer, with the add and work. I have no kids, but I work two jobs (60-80 hours a week at a minimum, this week was about 90 some) and when I get home I feel the same way. The best thing that I have ever done is buy a bicycle trainer, since I can ride that while I decompress from the day in front of the tube. Even if its only 15 or 20 minutes it is a great help.

Just my $.02… again…

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#20

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