Looking for advice from a husband's perspective?

Hi Friends! First, please let me say that this is NOT a rant against my dear husband. I love my husband very much, and I think he is the best guy I could have ever prayed for! I have a situation on my hands that I would like to get some advice on from a man’s perspective, though.

In our marriage, I am the cleaner. I know this, and I accept this. My husband just doesn’t even see the messes that drive me crazy… so rather than getting mad about it, I have come to a place where I accept that I just need to clean it up. Done.

However, my husband has his friends over every week to play D&D, and they really leave a mess. Dice everywhere, books with maps and character sheets laying around, food wrappers from an assortment of fast-food joints, soda cans–it’s a mess. And DH doesn’t want me to touch it, because he feels it is his responsibility to clean it up. He feels bad if I do it. But here’s the thing—He doesn’t do it.

I will ask him nicely, and he’ll say something like, “Yes I really have to do that.” Generally, this doesn’t involve going and doing it right away. Often, a week will pass where it doesn’t get picked up at all and the guys come over and he’ll pick up a little bit for them, and then they just add to it. On the average week, I will remind him 3 or 4 days before anything gets picked up. That leads to my question.

If I ask my husband or remind him too many times throughout the week, he feels like I am nagging him. But I really just want the space to be cleaned up. How can I, as a wife, not nag the guy but still get him to pick this up? I have spoken to him plainly about it, and he apologizes and says he needs to get better about it. But then, the mess is still there a week later.

Any suggestions?

I should also note that, they don’t leave this mess in any major pass through portion of our house. It is our upstairs level (1/2 floor), where my piano and yoga mat reside. I don’t have to see the mess every day, but it prevents me from doing some of the things that I like to do just for me to try and relax. :slight_smile:

Hmm, I am pretty messy person, but maybe making it easier to clean up would help. Place a garbage can (with bag) in the room, and maybe some selves/storage box for the cards/maps/books and a container for the die. Then talk to your dh, his friends should really be helping him clean up his space, he should make it part of the evening. He should send the garbage bag out the door with one of his friends (when I was a custodian we always kept a roll of bags in the bottom of the trash can, so there was always a new bag to put in the empty trash can), the rest should put all the stuff away on the shelf right their next to the table. This should all be done before he goes to bed for the evening.

Sometimes ya just gotta nag!

Insight into the man’s mind:

If you nag, you’re a nag, but you care.
But if you don’t nag then you don’t care.

Or you could be creative:

Don’t nag. Just dump his laundry where the mess is. Except he probably wouldn’t notice, and may even thank you for having his clothes easy to get at.

Or you could clean up: and fine him! If you have to clean up say 3 times he owes you a night out instead of playing DD with the boys.

DD? Your hubby is probably a techie kind of guy right? As a guy I could think of some ways to ambush his computer if he doesn’t clean up, such as erasing his games :stuck_out_tongue: Do you have an evil teenage brother?

There are of course womanly wiles you could use! I heard about them on Disney’s Snow White - it seemed to keep the Seven Dwarves in check. Not sure what they are though - but as a guy it’s hard to figure out when something is not happening;)

Yeah, well I am still working on that song that makes all the woodland animals clean the house for you. I guess that is strike two for Snow White.

Just quietly clean up the room sometime when he is out of the house. If he truly feels bad about it this might inspire him to clean up next time, but don’t count on it. Maybe you will get some flowers as a thank you. Don’t nag and don’t let a mess fester.

If this annoys you (it would me) offer it up. JMHO as a husband with a wise wife.

Hello Ophelia,

As a husband, and a guy with similar hobbies (though not necessarily D&D in specific), here is my advice.

With regards to his D&D material, he may be sensitive about having “control” over it. That is how I would be. I wouldn’t want it re-arranged in any way without my knowledge.

You seem to respect that, and bravo to you for having that patience. Many wives simply wouldn’t listen.

However, while you are respecting his wishes to have his D&D stuff left alone, and the fact that he feels responsible to take care of it, it sounds like he has not been respecting your equally valid wish of having the area cleaned.

If I was in a similar situation, I would respond to something like this:

"Dear, it is so nice that you have your friends over to play games. It is also nice of you to accept the responsibility for cleaning up afterwards.

"But, lately, that hasn’t been happening. I know that you mean to clean up, but you haven’t been doing it.

"Having the house clean is very important to me, just like hanging out with your friends and playing is very important to you.

"I also don’t want to nag you, because I really don’t enjoy that! I swear! No, seriously! I really don’t want to nag.

"Can we reach a compromise, so that we can both get what we want? You get to play the game with your friends - and I get a clean house, within a reasonable amount of time?

Then, I would discuss what a ‘reasonable’ amount of time is with him. Decide if a ‘reasonable’ amount of time to clean up is, say, 8 hours… or is it 2 days… or what?

So for example, you might say, “how about if it’s not clean by the next evening, then I am allowed to clean it up? Is that fair? If there’s a certain way you would like it put back, then I can try to do that, too. But I need it clean.”

As an alternative, you might ask whether it’s possible for your husband to ask his friends to help him clean up after a gaming session? Honestly, this doesn’t seem like too much of a request. They are adults, after all. They should be able to clean up.

In closing, God bless you for being as understanding and patient with your husband as you have been thusfar. Good luck resolving this problem!

Or the mice and birds and faithful dog, like Cinderella.

Dear Ophelia23–

If your husband is going to act like a child, he needs to be treated on the same level. Give him a timeframe and a consequence, then follow through if he doesn’t:

“I want this cleaned up by 3:00 today. If it isn’t, I’m throwing everything in the trash.”

Then DO IT.

I need only mention “paper plates” to make Ushi cringe over the time she wouldn’t wash dishes when she was told, and I threw them all away rather than washing them myself. She had to eat microwave suppers (threw out the cookware too) off of paper plates for over a year. And to this day, she’s very conscientious about washing dishes. :wink:


I just can’t see going to someone’s house, messing it up and not offering to clean up. Especially food wrappers and cans.

Could they at least not eat in that area and have snack time in the kitchen? Maybe purchase DH a few bins to put his dice and maps and what not?

My suggestion is to schedule the cleaning of the room and notify your husband that he has been volunteered to help you at that time. tell him that it is going to be that way because it is not appropriate for you to do it by yourself and that it is a nice couple activity.

You pick your battles. You’ve asked, and he’s still not doing it. I would simply do it myself and not say another word.

Pile the game stuff up in a corner and get rid of all the rest. It could attract bugs and vermin to leave pop cans, food crumbs, etc.

DISCLAIMER: The following is my opinion and as such is likely to be wrong. I often am… Ask my wife…

That said, perhaps you should pick up the mess and put it on his side of the bed. And I mean IN the bed… Tell him you moved it to make it more convient for him to clean up. Most likely he will clean it before he sleeps :slight_smile:

God bless

It looks like you are getting a whole range of answers all the way from, “do it yourself” to “hang him for it.”

I don’t think there is an answer that will work for everyone, so you may have to try several things until something gets his attention. Speaking as a man, sometimes I just don’t get it no matter what my wife does until it finally “clicks!” Fact is, we’re really not that complicated or bright. :stuck_out_tongue:

Since you asked for personal opinions from husbands, I’ll give mine:

The ultimatum idea rarely seems to work and typically ends in arguments and further ultimatums. My wife and I have never used these types of tactics because they seem (to us) to be childish and inconsiderate. And, even if you do get your way, the chance that their will be some resentment is pretty high. If you do something because you fear the result of not doing it, than it’s probably not an effective or long term answer.

It’s seems that alot of the suggestions are comparative to operant condition, but only seem focused on the punishment if someone doesn’t do what you want them to do. Maybe instead of going negative you could go positive. For instance, focus on rewarding good behavior. Tell him that you know he gets it, you know he wants to do the right thing, but he just doesn’t seem to be doing what he said he would. But if he did than you would be more able to pick up his favorite dinner, make him his favorite dessert, or bring him and his buddies snacks while they are playing (can you tell what motivates me :wink: ) Honestly, it’s a matter of finding what motivates him and then using that to reinforce the behavior.

P.S. I am not a husband. Obviously.

And I still submit that the issue is over with my approach. Only if you don’t resent him and hold a grudge should you do this, if you can do it “for fun or for free,” IOW, you can’t do it and them steam about it. If you just clean up, the problem is then solved, and you don’t have to look at the mess, wonder why your husband isn’t doing it, look at the mess some more, start to get angry at your husband for not doing it, get mad at his stupid friends for being such slobs, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Pick it up, pile the game stuff, and throw the rest away. There. Done.


My husband and I give deadlines to each other-

“Honey, will you do this dishes?”
“Ok, I’ll get them done before bed.”

We talked about a similar issue, and that is what we came up with. The person who is doing the job will give a concrete due date for completion. Then they get the ‘freedom’ to decide when they are ready, while the other person can know it will be done by a certain time. This works for us.

LOL…this is what came to my mind.

Seriously though, I do think a major reason for his not cleaning it up is simpy that the mess is out of sight, out of mind. How is he with other requests to clean? Does it take forever?

Throwing away character sheets is a permanent thing; I don’t recommend it. He won’t be able to re-create his characters without them; and some of the sheets (I assume) are his friends’ rather than his. So please don’t do that.

That being said, he shouldn’t leave them there. I’m the first to admit that inertia sets in, and there are times when you’re just too tired so you want to wait until later. But even I draw the line at food and drink being left out to attract vermin.

I don’t care for nagging; and letting it fester (in effect, nagging yourself, yes?) is bad for both of you.

Are you there when they play (or, more importantly, when they stop playing and leave)? Then it’s a simple matter of moving in and beginning the cleanup (“No, honey, it’s my mess; I’ll clean it up” “I know that, but you never do, and I can’t take it anymore, so I’m doing it now” “Well, let me help” – or, ideally, “Well, you go sit down and I’ll do it now”).

Otherwise, I think your best bet is to tell him that it has to be cleaned up immediately after they leave, because you just can’t take it anymore (I don’t mean that hysterically; it’s just an issue that’s festering, which is bad for your marriage). It’s one thing to leave a dish or three in the sink to soak overnight, but everything else has to be cleaned up when the guests leave. If he has a reason that can’t be done, I’d like to hear it. He ought to take that discussion and run with it: “Okay, guys, that’s it for this week; let’s clean all this up.”

Oh, dear, this is inconsiderate. He picks up for his guy friends and not for you, his wife, who loves him and serves him and has committed his life to him? So after you clean house and cook and care for your child and you want to relax a bit and play piano or do yoga, you, who clearly likes tidiness, has to sit in that mess?

You can love and respect your husband and yet get good and mad at inconsiderate behavior, you know.

Is this how you want you child to see that Mom should be treated? Is this how you want your child to treat anyone?

Perhaps you could find some time when you both are free and say, "Honey, I’m going to clean the room now. My friends are coming over tomorrow. Do you need to move any of your things first? If he doesn’t show up in the next half hour then just clean up.

And have your friends over the next day.

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