My husband smells horrible all the time

Ok my husband has really bad hygiene…he smells really bad and he doesn’t shower often.
He has really let himself go too gaining a lot of weight in the past 5 years of marriage. I can handle the weight gain, it’s just the hygiene that REALLY bothers me. I talked to him about it a million times and he just doesn’t seem to care, or he gets defensive and says “I took one last night” I am already under so much stress I have 5 kids ages 5 and under (two sets of twins) all boys and the oldest twins have Adhd…we are struggling off one income and I have other things that bother me about him besides just hygiene but the hygiene really just feels like I’m being pushed over the edge… I know it might sound stupid but I almost want to seperate because it’s like he doesn’t care about how I feel…it’s so gross he literally “smells up a room” and he farts a lot it’s nasty…he thinks it’s funny and it’s not…like I said there are other issues like lack of intimacy but it’s like the body odor issue with all the stress I’m under I’m just ready to leave but I can’t because of my kids…I’m not happy with him…is this what marriage is all about ? Suffering!?

This sounds really tough. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this,
Of course you know marriage should be about people supporting and encouraging each other. It doesn’t always work out that way, unfortunately.
But it does sound like your situation can be worked out, if he wants to try,
Does he have a family doctor? He should go for a physical at least once a year, so maybe if you communicated your concerns about hygiene to his doctor, he might be able to help. It could be a medical problem, and/or he might be depressed. If the doc is hard to reach, as so many are, explaining your concerns to his nurse might work.
If that doesn’t help, you might suggest marriage counseling. He needs to take your unhappiness seriously. If he won’t go, you could go yourself.
You’re at the difficult stage, with so many children under five. Kind of like trying to herd cats. They will grow up however, and this stage will be a memory.
Please talk to your priest or pastor and a counselor if possible.
God bless.

I’m really sorry. Keeping yourself clean is something easy enough to do and costs nothing, but when people get depressed, self-care is often something neglected. I would find it very difficult to live with a smelly person and I don’t even have kids to contend with.

Have you tried asking another family member to tactfully tell him that he has a big hygiene problem?

I am very sorry for your current situation and honestly do not know how I would handle what you have been handling. But, I also know that if he used to take better care of himself that he could have a medical or mental issue going undiagnosed or treated. Is it possible for him to go to a doctor, if i is I would try that asap. I will pray for you.


REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

I don’t think you have grounds for separation. In any case you should seek the advice of the Church, that is your confessor, before taking such a step. Perhaps you can get him go to a Catholic marriage counselor. There certainly is more going on here than just cleanliness and these things need to be clarified. You also need to look at the positive things. He does work, he does provide, and he has given you five sons, he doesn’t " run around, " and he isn’t a drunkerd, and I assume he does go to church.

We will pray that you will find a way to make things better for yourself and the whole family, including your husband. Husbands and wives are supposed to help each other get to heaven. Let’s think of that and work on that.


I am sorry that you are going through this.

Perhaps if you tried a different approach? As you said you have talked to him about it a million times, so a million and one using the exact same words will do nothing. If your husband feels criticized or nagged he might just be getting defensive. However if your husband feels loved and cherished he might start taking action. If his bathing leads to hugging, kissing and intimacy with his wife that may be a motivator for him.

He may not realize that women (in general) have a keener sense of smell than men. So he may think that you are blowing this out of proportion since he, himself doesn’t notice it? Perhaps tell him with sincerity that you love him and that you want to be close and share intimate time in the bedroom with him, but that your sense of smell is stronger than his (show medical literature if it helps) and that you are so very sorry but his smell make it difficult for you to want to be intimate.

You husband does bathe sometimes I would imagine. On the days that he does bathe, please try your best to go out of your way to hug him, kiss him, touch him and initiate intimacy. He might have given up trying partly thinking you have lost love for him so what’s the point? It is very hard for men when their wives don’t desire them sexually anymore it can be like a knife to the heart and your husband may be masking that wound with odor and humor to mask his pain. It is hard, but try and put on the eyes of Jesus, perhaps ask Jesus to help Him see your husband through His eyes. Jesus loves your husband so very much. Jesus created your husband and died for him. Jesus is crazy with love for your husband, your husband is created in His image and likeness, and is a special child of God. These things are hard to remember when we are in the midst of irritation, anger, disappointment, habits and resentment. I will pray for your marriage. Please take care as best as you can.

A family member is a good idea, especially if he has a brother he likes and could talk to. If no brothers than maybe one of his male buddies. Maybe not say “hey, your wife said…” but something more like, “hey, bro, not to hurt your feelings or anything here but I have to tell ya about something that I’VE noticed…” etc.

Oh, and as far as the gas and weight, that sounds like diet to me. A low carb no gluten diet would probably do wonders for him. But check with your own doctor first of course.

No, marriage is not “about suffering” as far as this issue is concerned. It’s so easy to correct but it takes the will to do so. I’ll pray for your situation.

If he smells that bad, he’s going to get fired from his job. Tell him that.

Also, have a good look and make sure that he isn’t re-wearing clothes. In my experience (having a European husband and in-laws), it’s surprising how long a person can get away with not bathing if they wear clean clothes. Likewise, if you wear dirty clothes on a clean body, it’s possible to get away with a lot. What causes epic hippie level funk is the combination of dirty body and dirty clothes. (Or particular medical conditions.)

So, try to make sure that his clothes go straight into the laundry at night rather than into his clothes drawer. Also, wearing fresh clothes for the evening (especially fresh underwear) might cut the stench. You can offer him a choice (shower or change of clothes in the evening) and see if that doesn’t help.

Also, Febreze! You can also open windows if there isn’t cooperation. If he complains about the fact that it’s cold or that you’re wasting heat, you can tell him he always has the choice to take a shower instead.

Good luck!

Here’s a helpful post on the smelly/flatulent husband problem:

It’s from Julia Grey’s excellent blog, “Why Your Wife Doesn’t Want To Have Sex With You.”

It’s aimed at a male readership. Maybe read it with your husband? It’s short.

I’m a man, and if I didn’t shower every day, I couldn’t stand to be beside myself. Maybe he has an olfactory problem.

If this is a new behavior, it might be a mental health issue.

There is a theory that disgust [as in the reaction to bad odors] evolved to protect from risk of disease.

Disgust is a powerful human emotion that has been little studied until recently. Current theories do not coherently explain the purpose of disgust, nor why a wide range of stimuli can provoke a similar emotional response. Over 40 000 individuals completed a web-based survey using photo stimuli. Images of objects holding a potential disease threat were reported as significantly more disgusting than similar images with little or no disease relevance. This pattern of response was found across all regions of the world. Females reported higher disgust sensitivity than males; there was a constant decline in disgust sensitivity over the life course; and the bodily fluids of strangers were found more disgusting than those of close relatives. These data provide evidence that the human disgust emotion may be an evolved response to objects in the environment that represent threats of infectious disease.
Full text

I’m a man also & always showered before work in the morning & depending on how sweated up I got during the day…shower again in the evening, if needed.

He may have a problem with depression.

I guess it could be anything.

I really appreciate how nice and sweet you smell every time. … but how is that helpful to the problem of the op? and I really don’t think she is looking for diagnosis for her husband; so diagnosis without a recommendation is literally useless. If you can’t help her, at least don’t post unhelpful contraptions. We are talking about a marriage her, not some gossip from a magazine column.

Healthy people are aware of their hygiene and appearance. Healthy people try to avoid the embarrassment of being foul-smelling or slovenly. Healthy people do things like shower every day, brush and floss their teeth morning and night, shampoo and style their hair, wear antiperspirant, shave if applicable, etc. If your husband is neglecting these things: he is not healthy. He is either trying to punish you because he is completely infuriated with you, or he is suffering from mental health concerns. If you don’t think the former is the case, you need to get him in to see his doctor, go with, and have a frank discussion about how he has become so neglectful of basic self-care.

I have a sensitive nose and am easily grossed-out. A bit of spinach in my husband’s teeth can turn me off for a week! I feel your pain.

Yeah I think the first step here is to insist he go to the doctor. It’s possible he has a health problem that’s causing the scent and/or causing him to not notice. It’s also possible that he’s depressed.

Do you perhaps think he may be reacting to what he sees as scolding/nagging (regarding behavior brought on by lazy refusal to shower, though laziness may no longer be the trigger for his behavior)? Thinking farting etc is funny is quite adolescent behavior, though. They only think it’s funny because they get a reaction, or they got reactions in the past.)

Is he being passive-aggressive because his manly pride causes him to react by being even more stubborn? He gets the reaction of disgust. Maybe if you didn’t react, didn’t scold him. Hopefully you can find hm at a point sometime when it’s possible to discuss reasonably what may be bothering him, and what is bothering you, and what can be done.

He’s not acting out of love and respect, and you certainly are (understandably) feeling little respect, so all that either of you are getting is what I’ve heard ‘cold pricklies’ instead of ‘warm fuzzies’.
“Cold pricklies” are better than nothing. At least it’s a reaction and he has power over you, because he can disgust you. Disgust is a strong emotion.
Some health conditions can be accompanied by smells, but in his case it seems to be a decision not to shower.

There could be a psychological problem, but were there already signs that he though bodily functions and poor hygiene is funny or acceptable.
It’s bad example for your sons, not only the stated behavior, but the lack of consideration and respect for a wife and other people. If you have sons, when they are adults, family occasions might not be very pleasant.

I hope the issue can be resolved and that you can move towards and peaceful and pleasant family future.

You could always try leaving (hidden so he can’t just toss them out) strong smelling sweet aroma sources around the house, and if he objects, that they stay until and unless he begins and continues to shower frequently.

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