My husband and I have been married 4 years, and although we still love each other very much, we have been struggling with an issue that doesn’t seem to have an answer. I stay home with our 2toddler boys and my 8 yr. old son, who is from a previous marriage and has severe cerebral palsy. We intially felt we were very compatible – even though we’re different on some levels, we click on the most important things, such as how we want our boys raised, basic moral values, etc. But … we’re the Odd Couple … he’s very messy, I’m very neat. For the most part, I like to get things done now; he procrastinates EVERYTHING. We’ve always known it, kidded each other about it … but as time goes on it’s increasingly causing a lot of tension in our relationship. He procrastinates EVERYTHING, even projects that aren’t usually considered work. So I feel resonsible for making sure things get done, and I end up feeling like a mother more than his wife and partner. He’s very laid back – a trait which I loved from the start – but that very characteristic is at the root of why we end up arguing. He thinks I nag and resents it; I resent him putting me in the position of having to chose to ask and ask and ask or just do it myself, which has been wearing me out. I’ve explained everything to him repeatedly (even in a calm environment outside of our arguments), and he acts like the understands and says he knows he’s a slob and he needs to work on it, but nothing changes. Or he “works hard” on it for a day, or two, but stops. He’s asked me to be patient with him, that he’s not used to having a family/responsibilities – but my goodness, he’s 36 yrs. old, we’ve been married 4 years!
It’s OUR house, yet I’m responsible for remembering everything – he forgets things, so even when he says he’s going to take care of something, I can never relax until I check to make sure it’s done. (More than once, I’ve found the deep freeze door open because he accidentally forgot to close it, or the garage lights were left on all night, etc.) It’s not that he’s slow! He’s very intelligent, but seems to be preoccupied! He spends a lot of time online reading about his hobby and can tell you fact after fact about it, the history, etc.
Anything outside of his FT job is my domain: chores, projects (other than mowing the yard), paying bills, any type of paperwork such as refinancing our home, any DECISIONS that need to be made, etc. My husband does usually give the boys baths every other night, takes out the trash sometimes, or makes the bed, etc. It isn’t that he doesn’t do anything, but if there are 20 things to do in a day, he’ll be pleased with himself if he does 2-3 things, even if that leaves me with 17 things to do while caring for the boys. And it isn’t that I watch soap operas during the day and don’t keep up with my housecleaning and play with the boys. I have dinner on the table every night, keep up with laundry, clean house every single week, pay all the bills, etc.
It’s the simple things he ignores: He will walk by a burned-out lightbult without replacing it, step over a piece of trash that needs to be thrown away, not replace the toilet paper roll or paper towel roll and ignore an article of clothing that should be placed in the hamper. So I constantly walk around making sure everything is how it should be, even if I wasn’t the one to use the last sheet of TP, I change it! He would tell you I’m a perfectionist – I disagree because our house is lived in, I let the boys scatter toys around the LV during the day. I just like basic things done that make everyone feel better and happy, like have the beds made, food in the house, etc. I feel like I do a good job with that. Anyway, I just wish he showed more initiative. ’
Sorry so long, but I wanted to explain that I don’t expect him to do more than his fair share so I can sit around. I’m a hard worker, like to stay busy, so I’m not expecting him to work all day then come home and do my work. I want him to do his fair share, but we disagree about what is HIS FAIR SHARE.
I know there are things I need to work on (as in how I talk to him when I’m mad and frustrated) and that I’m not perfect, but I know what it takes to run a home with this many people in it and everyone has to do their part. We’re both stubborn and he doesn’t want to change (and has told me so) and I absolutely couldn’t take living in a messy, dirty house (which is what our home would be if I didn’t work so hard to counteract what he does – you should see his junk room in the basement). But I’m resentful, mad and feel like a martyr (which I don’t want to do). I love working in my home and wish my husband enjoyed it, too.