Resentment w/ husband


#1

My husband and I have been married for 20 years, and we have four kids ages 15 and younger. My husband is a good provider, but he does almost nothing around the house to help, and I really resent this. I've asked for help, but he says he needs to be reminded. At that point, I just think it's easier to do it myself.

We've been to a counselor a few times, but he says we're like everyone else - there's nothing really wrong in our home.

I know I can only change myself, and I offer up my work in the home as a sacrifice; I also pray about this, specifically asking the Blessed Virgin Mary to interceed for me (I don't imagine she ever resented St. Joseph).

I don't mind hard work, it's just that I feel worn into the ground. I'm concerned that my sons will think it's normal for the husband to sit around all the time, while his wife does all the work in the home. I was talking w/ one of my sons about how important it is that he learn how to help w/ chores around the house so he'll know how to take care of himself as an adult. He replied, "I'll just have my wife do it."

What should I do, in addition to prayer, to help me w/ the feelings of resentment?


#2

Is your husband the sole provider for the family, or do you work outside the home and bring in and income as well?


#3

Is your husband the sole provider for the family, or do you work outside the home and bring in an income as well?


#4

I teach part-time.


#5

[quote="mylittleway2000, post:1, topic:204396"]
My husband and I have been married for 20 years, and we have four kids ages 15 and younger. My husband is a good provider, but he does almost nothing around the house to help, and I really resent this. I've asked for help, but he says he needs to be reminded. At that point, I just think it's easier to do it myself.

[/quote]

Ok, thanks for answering my question. :)

As for advice, I'd first of all try to focus on what you said about your husband in the first paragraph: "My husband is a good provider..." Think about that, whenever you're frustrated that he's not helping out more. He works hard all day to provide for your family. You're very blessed in that regard; that's so much more than a lot of wives have, unfortunately.

And then, as far as having to remind him to help you...Just get over your resentment about that and start reminding him. :D At least he's telling you that you can remind him! That shows, to me, that he's willing to help...he simply needs to know exactly what you need/expect and he needs to be reminded. No biggie.

And make sure you tell him what you need specificially. Not just, "I need you to help out more"....but, tell him *exactly *what you need done. (Dishes washed after dinner, the trash taken out, for him not to throw dirty clothes on the floor, etc.) Men respond **much **better to direct requests. Hope that helps!


#6

Have you told your husband what your son said about having his future wife do all the chores? Perhaps he needs to see the effect his inaction is having on your children.

My husband and I don't have kids yet, but he does the dishes after dinner and says he plans to continue to do the dishes even if I am able to be a stay-at-home mom. He always says that he works 40 hours a week, but a mom works 24 hours a day. When he does complain about not wanting to do dishes, I remind him that I didn't really feel like making dinner when I came home from work either, but since he ate, he can start washing (all in good fun, of course :wink: ).


#7

[quote="ac_claire, post:5, topic:204396"]
Men respond **much **better to direct requests. Hope that helps!

[/quote]

I agree :thumbsup:
Maybe all it needs is some straightforward talk, nothing dramatic about it, just request him to do specific chores, please, as an act of mercy :) Start on the little things, then later on you can adjust...Maybe on a more serious note, you should discuss with him how as parents you could instill some responsibility in your kids to do their share of chores around the house. He should pick up the cue. Husbands are spiritual heads of the family, but that doesn't exempt them from doing their share in the household chores. Remember to reward him with little things :)
God bless your family!


#8

In regards to your son, stop doing things for him, including his laundry. He’ll learn fast how to care for himself (I’m assuming he’s the 15 year old).


#9

[quote="mylittleway2000, post:1, topic:204396"]
My husband and I have been married for 20 years, and we have four kids ages 15 and younger. My husband is a good provider, but he does almost nothing around the house to help, and I really resent this. I've asked for help, but he says he needs to be reminded. At that point, I just think it's easier to do it myself.
. . .
What should I do, in addition to prayer, to help me w/ the feelings of resentment?

[/quote]

you are quite right about the need to deal with your own feelings properly. hmmm 20yrs, and you think he is going to change now? you are also quite right that the only thing in your home you have the power to change now is you, your actions and your reactions.

A place to start is honest soul-searching, followed by honest conversations with your husband to understand the real source of the resentment, of which the housework thing is only the symptom. That is where you may need counselling or help, and marriage encounter is sterling for this, in carrying on that communication.

While that is happening may I suggest a good book for lay people on living out the Rule of St. Benedict in the world, Life Giving Way by Esther DeWaal is a good one. I am specifically talking about the chapters on hospitality, the special charism of the Benedictines, as it relates to care of the home, and to the ancient and honorable profession of housewife. Equate the housewife with the cellarer and the those in charge of the kitchen especially. Look at what Benedict says about not only receiving guests, but also how the monks greet and treat each other. Look at what he says about caring for tools and the common property of the monastery, equating them with the sacred vessels of the altar. This last concept especially has been nothing short of life changing for me in how I view and live out my rule as a married woman.


#10

Thanks for your replies. I appreciate the post that said she had a 24 hour a day job at home.:slight_smile:

To add some details: I have asked my husband to do small things. I think taking the trash to the curb once a week is a small thing - he forgot two weeks in a row, and the whole house smelled of the garbage in the garage.

I end up doing the “heavy work.” Any time the garage needs to be cleaned or organized, I have to do it. There has been more than one winter where my car was in the driveway while we had a garage filled w/ junk - I was too exhausted to do the garage again myself.

Our basement is unfinished and is a real mess. Any time it’s been organized, I do it - and all the heavy lifting of getting the junk out to the curb.

Our grass goes weeks w/o mowing - the swingset has been broken for years . . . .


#11

agree with annie. 20 years and it's about something deeper than housework and chores.

when GoodHusband and i got to the bottom of some things last February (oye. how painful!) we saw the initial aggrivations were just the gift wrap. but with love and the graces of the sacrament, we become more whole and healthy and holy together every season.

While that is happening may I suggest a good book for lay people on living out the Rule of St. Benedict in the world, Life Giving Way by Esther DeWaal is a good one. I am specifically talking about the chapters on hospitality, the special charism of the Benedictines, as it relates to care of the home, and to the ancient and honorable profession of housewife. Equate the housewife with the cellarer and the those in charge of the kitchen especially. Look at what Benedict says about not only receiving guests, but also how the monks greet and treat each other. Look at what he says about caring for tools and the common property of the monastery, equating them with the sacred vessels of the altar. This last concept especially has been nothing short of life changing for me in how I view and live out my rule as a married woman.

the month will not end with with this book not in my possession, **si Dios quiere. ** i'm buying one for my daughter in law, too. thanks annie!


#12

[quote="mylittleway2000, post:10, topic:204396"]
Thanks for your replies. I appreciate the post that said she had a 24 hour a day job at home.:)

To add some details: I have asked my husband to do small things. I think taking the trash to the curb once a week is a small thing - he forgot two weeks in a row, and the whole house smelled of the garbage in the garage.

I end up doing the "heavy work." Any time the garage needs to be cleaned or organized, I have to do it. There has been more than one winter where my car was in the driveway while we had a garage filled w/ junk - I was too exhausted to do the garage again myself.

Our basement is unfinished and is a real mess. Any time it's been organized, I do it - and all the heavy lifting of getting the junk out to the curb.

Our grass goes weeks w/o mowing - the swingset has been broken for years . . . .

[/quote]

The mowing can be done by the 15 year old (or any child over 8 or 9).

Child #2 wants to get a toy, clean the garage first (even if it's just stacking things, moving them to the side, and sweeping the floor).

Any child over 7 or 8 can take the garbage to the curb.

Maybe you can do it how it was done in my dad's house, but pertaining to garbage. In my dad's house, at each birthday, the birthday person decided who would have to clean the table after each meal until the next birthday in the family. Maybe do that with the garbage (the siblings may end up being nice to each other in hopes to get out of garbage duty :p )


#13

[quote="mylittleway2000, post:10, topic:204396"]
Thanks for your replies. I appreciate the post that said she had a 24 hour a day job at home.:)

To add some details: I have asked my husband to do small things. I think taking the trash to the curb once a week is a small thing - he forgot two weeks in a row, and the whole house smelled of the garbage in the garage.

You mentioned you have 4 kids. What are they doing? I have 3 kids. One of their responsibilities is taking the garbage and recycling out and to the curb. They've done this since they were 7-8 years old.

I end up doing the "heavy work." Any time the garage needs to be cleaned or organized, I have to do it. There has been more than one winter where my car was in the driveway while we had a garage filled w/ junk - I was too exhausted to do the garage again myself.

Put the kids to work.

Our basement is unfinished and is a real mess. Any time it's been organized, I do it - and all the heavy lifting of getting the junk out to the curb.

Again, put the kids to work.

Our grass goes weeks w/o mowing - the swingset has been broken for years . . . .

My sons all have had mowing jobs FOR OTHER PEOPLE since they were 10 years old. My in heaven's name isn't your 15 year old mowing your lawn?!?!? How old are the other kids? Put them to work!

We also had a broken Rainbow swingset a few years ago. My then 15 year old figured out what to do to fix it - got the materials, repaired it, and then sold it for cash!

Perhaps I am wrong, but I get the impression you try to do it all while the kids do nothing......Put the darn kids to work!:thumbsup:

[/quote]


#14

My kids all have chores. The older kids mow the lawn. They have a daily morning chore (unload the dishwasher, put in a load of laundry), a daily evening chore (cleaning up after dinner, taking the kitchen trash to the garbage can), and weekly chores of vaccuming, dusting, and bathroom cleaning.

They are good, hard working kids. It just doesn't seem right that the kids and I make the meals, clean up after the meals, and completely care for the home while my husband does Facebook.

I know I am called to pick up my cross daily - and I offer the sacrifices for reparation - but it doesn't seem like a good example for a father to model for the kids. My older daughter has already told me, "I don't want to get married - it looks like too much work."

I will definitely get the rule of Benedict book.


#15

Personally, I would first make sure that you are doing all the right things yourself, including loving and praying for your husband.
Next, I would have a little chat with him, very sweetly telling him I needed more help around the house. If he forgets stuff, remind him. Very sweetly. Remind him that you have a lot to do. Very sweetly.
Get the idea? He will eventually tire of this and start helping more. I did it and it worked.


#16

It is really possible that your husband dosn't see the problems until you tell him. He is being a poor example to the kids, however.

Perhaps having a FAMILY chore chart. Which would include kids going to school, dad going to work, and you going to work.

Also, perhaps you can talor what you ask him to do to the things he may like. I know one of my uncles HATED being asked to do menial chores. Especally one that the kids did. He had grown up doing lots of chores and he felt it was his kid's time.
Of course, my aunt saw that things just had to get done. So they sat and talked it out over several days. He didn't like to do the trash or clean the bathroom but he loved to cook. He never voulenteered to cook, however, because his wife's cooking made him feel loved. So they made up a deal. She would get up early, cook him breakfast and make his lunch and he would cook dinner at night. She worked part time and alot of people would act as if she was crazy for getting up early to cook breakfast or that he was "whipped" for cooking dinner every night but it worked out wonderfully for them. He eventually cooperated with the other chores a bit better because he felt loved, he really appreciated the work his wife put in, and he started noticing things himself.

Now, he also developed strange habits....like he'd forget to wipe the counter but was insistant on taking the garbage cans out once a week and hozing them down...even in the winter.


#17

[quote="mylittleway2000, post:14, topic:204396"]
They are good, hard working kids. It just doesn't seem right that the kids and I make the meals, clean up after the meals, and completely care for the home while my husband does Facebook.

I know I am called to pick up my cross daily - and I offer the sacrifices for reparation - but it doesn't seem like a good example for a father to model for the kids. My older daughter has already told me, "I don't want to get married - it looks like too much work."

[/quote]

Since, from what you've posted it seems like your husband has indicated that he's willing to help out more, why not just remind him while he's doing Facebook? Just ask him, nicely, if he'd be willing to help you clean up the kitchen or....whatever it is you need. If you do this regularly, I think there's a good chance that it'll become more "automatic" after awhile. If not, then just keep asking and reminding...

But also, I'd try to remember that he's on Facebook there in the evenings, but he does spend his days working full-time to provide for the family. Doesn't mean he shouldn't help out some if you need it, but he does deserve his down time too. He's the primary breadwinner.

I could be wrong and there could be more going on here than what I'm seeing from your post, but it doesn't seem to me that you're at the point where formal marriage counseling is in order.


#18

[quote="mylittleway2000, post:1, topic:204396"]
My husband and I have been married for 20 years, and we have four kids ages 15 and younger. My husband is a good provider, but he does almost nothing around the house to help, and I really resent this. I've asked for help, but he says he needs to be reminded. At that point, I just think it's easier to do it myself.

We've been to a counselor a few times, but he says we're like everyone else - there's nothing really wrong in our home.

I know I can only change myself, and I offer up my work in the home as a sacrifice; I also pray about this, specifically asking the Blessed Virgin Mary to interceed for me (I don't imagine she ever resented St. Joseph).

I don't mind hard work, it's just that I feel worn into the ground. I'm concerned that my sons will think it's normal for the husband to sit around all the time, while his wife does all the work in the home. I was talking w/ one of my sons about how important it is that he learn how to help w/ chores around the house so he'll know how to take care of himself as an adult. He replied, "I'll just have my wife do it."

What should I do, in addition to prayer, to help me w/ the feelings of resentment?

[/quote]

I learned a rule in college: In the absence of a specific agreement about who does what and how often, 80% of housework will be done by the roommate who is driven nuts by it first. This is a recipe for resentment. It is too late to marry someone who is driven nuts by household messes as quickly as you are, though. You can work towards the middle--you learning not to worry so much about what isn't done and him learning to routinely ask for work to do--but you are probably always going to be the "main breadwinner" when it comes to household chores.

So I'll ask you this:
a) What made work around the home "your" work that he "helps" with? If he has a job and you don't, then of course you will spend more hours at it, accordingly. It doesn't mean all the work is yours.

b) Has your attitude that the work is "yours" given you the impression that you are the sole person who prioritizes what is going to be done or not? Just as he doesn't have the right to decide unilaterally that he is going to kill himself by working three jobs 100 hours a week so that you'll have plenty of money to spend, you don't have the right to decide that more work needs to be done around your home than can realistically be done, or that your standards have to be his standards. He ought to realistically expect some amount of leisure time each day.

c) If you feel worn to the ground, you need to make some down time for yourself a priority, too. Don't blame him because you don't take care of yourself. You ought to expect yourself to have some leisure time, too. This is actually required in seminaries, monasteries, and convents. Some of those who experience these rules call it "forced fun", but these places generally do have a time each day when socializing and relaxing are required. Read "Story of a Soul" by St. Therese. Even the Carmelites have it.

Having said that...if he "just doesn't think of things", you and he might try to think of jobs that he does as a daily routine. That way, once he gets the routine, the work of reminding him doesn't fall on you any more. The routine might even be "I get one hour on the computer to wind down after work, then I go to the refrigerator and look on the wipe-off board for what still needs to be done before we're done for the day"...with a timer. It might be "I see to it that dinner is made, the dishes done, and the counters are cleaned on Friday and Sunday nights", which he gets to do to his standards, by the way, within the reasonable boundaries of hygiene and health. It might be "I do the laundry of all males in the house" or "I empty the dishwasher before I leave for work and get the coffee maker ready before I go to bed". It might be lots of little things like that, if added one at a time. I would suggest that it does need to be accomplished in a way that doesn't make either of you feel that you are his mother. That will not work.


#19

If it were me, I'd 1. lower my standards for the house, 2. make a chore chart and put the kids to work, and 3. ask your husband if there's any area of the house he'd LIKE to be responsible for then let him have it. My husband likes to do the laundry, for instance, because it doesn't require him to think too much. I think men don't respond well to being told to just "help." It's like they don't know what to do first...
If my dh said outright "I do not want to do ANY housework," then I would just respect that and go read Proverbs 31 for some inspiration. :)


#20

[quote="lovemyboys, post:19, topic:204396"]
...My husband likes to do the laundry, for instance, because it doesn't require him to think too much... :)

[/quote]

I like that. :rotfl:

As a husband I like to do the laundry too, as opposed to doing the ironing. Also, I love cooking for the family. But I hate ironing, it is so tedious and besides it requires too much thinking. :D

Seriously, I believe a workable agreement can be ironed out and it must involve the whole brood including the children. You can probably organize an out of town, special strategic planning session with the family for this. The husband should facilitate, so I bet you can get some results. Just an idea...


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