What do you do in this situation?


#1

Today I was FUMING with the wife where my anger got the best of me today.

Historically throughout my 8 year marriage, my wife has issues with the fact that I am not a 50/50 *partner *and that she carries a majority of the work and it causes her tons of stress.

Knowing that my scattered brain has been a curse throughout my life, I decided to get it checked out and the doctor said after a day of brain tests…yep, you have A.D.D. So, I get put on medication and am learning how my brain works so that I can develop skills that I should have learned as a child. Slowly but surely, it is working, though not as fast as my wife would like.

Am I a 50/50 partner - yes and no. She does a majority of the housework, but I don’t sit around while she works, I will normally do stuff like give the kids a bath, get them ready for bed, will get them ready in the morning to take them to daycare, which can include making their lunches, breakfast, yada yada yada. I do this without complaint because THAT’s MY JOB.

Am I as pro-active about housework as she is? No, but I do ask her what I can do when I don’t know where I should start. Her reaction will normally be, “don’t you know what to do?”

When I bring up the fact that I am the one taking care of the outside of the house, she will say “That’s just seasonal”. She also seems to not take into account that I am a very handy person who when repainting a room, likes to put crown molding up. Ask anyone who has done it - it’s not easy to make it look nice. My handiwork also made her a craft room in our basement complete with two craft counters, tons of storage drawers, and even a peg board supported system of trays to house her multitude of scrapbooking paper. Also, when she wanted a place under the stairs to store her home-making stuff (she can outdo Martha Stewart at times), I gladly installed custom built shelves that I verfied can hold over 250 pounds - I won’t tell you how though.

So, I am at my wits end and insisted on marriage counseling and in one of our sessions, the phrase slips out…I want him to act like man, not a child. Which is something that she said many times before.

That just floored me, but later in the evening I didn’t get REALLY angry until she was complaining of back problems, was in pain and I was the one getting her heating pad and tucking her in bed…like childen always do to their parents. I really don’t want to talk to her at this point and really don’t care if she doesn’t want to talk to me.

Prayer has been constant, at least on my part, and I am even learning how to pray constantly, as my daily prayer often looks as if it is out of “Fiddler on the Roof”. Also, my sense of humor is my best ally. For example, if the husband’s role is to love his wife as Christ loved the Church, what Station of the Cross am I on? Are her comments the scourging? ARE WE THERE YET?

I have had my thoughts on divorce and anullments and thought about what Jesus taught. Allthough at times I wish I can just end it all, divorce isn’t an option. However if she gets sick of me and leaves, I will take Jesus’ example and just let her leave, I will not convince her to stay.

If this is the wrong attitude to have, please let me know.


#2

As a person who just went through a divorce, I do wish a lot of times that I would have tried harder and nothing that you have mentioned would ever warrant a divorce or an annulment. The pain that you go through when getting a divorce will make this feel like a walk in the clouds… please remember this whenever these thoughts enter your head…

Also, I just see one problem in this whole thing… ask her to sit down with you one day and start going over a list of the chores to do… there is a very good website out there for this kind of thing and tells you exactly what needs to be done…

marriagebuilders.com/graphic/mbi5045_qa.html

this is the exact page that is for the household responsiblities… follow it and I am sure that you will be able to solve this issue…

and believe me, if this is the only problem in your life, you are a very lucky man!!!

God bless


#3

Do excuse me if I’m out of line, I know this is a terribly sensitive subject.

The first impression I have of this post is just that it makes me so sad. Here are two spouses at the end of their rope over things as simple as housework. It seems like there is still so much good will here, so much potential for success. I mean, your marriage sounds better than most of the marriages I’ve ever seen in person, if that’s any consolation.

I wish I could offer something more helpful. I will say that I think your complaints seem legitimate. I’m assuming that you have told her (in a gentle, non-confrontational manner) how much it would mean to you to see signs of appreciation and respect, and how much you need her help as you move through this particular time in your life.

There has to be a way for you both to stop tallying and criticizing the nice things you do for each other, so you can enjoy giving.

eta: In answer to your original question, no, I do not think that’s the right attitude with which to approach this. More prayer, more grace, more effort, more reliance on Christ to do the work for you.


#4

Perhaps you and your wife could check out Retrouvaille. Here’s a link. retrouvaille.org/


#5

Welll, my take is this.
I am so sick to death of women telling men that they have to pitch in at home. (I’m an at-home, homeschooling, mother of 6, almost 7) When was the last time she helped you in the office?
I don’t know how many children you have, but your wife needs to employ some better organizational skills if she cannot handle what she’s supposed to do.
Scrapbooking is a great hobby if there is time, but it is NOT her vocation. If her ability to take care of her children and home is compromised by the amount of time she is scrapbooking, she has to give it up. My husband forced me to give up volunteer work because I couldn’t handle that and home, and guess what? He was right!
We should gratefully accept any hand our husbands wish to give us, but it is not a demand that we can place on them.
Now, I know that office work is 9-5 or so, and mothering is 24/7, but we do not have a boss breathing down our necks, deadlines, etc. If you discipline your children and establish rountine, mom’s job should not be so overwhelming every day (although, we will all have bad days).
Mothers and fathers have different jobs, equally important to the family, and neither one “harder” than the other.
All that I say presumes you have a normal, household situation. Meaning, no handicapped children, that she is not working outside the home, or other external issue that creates out-of-the-ordinary difficulty.
Sometimes I do think men need to lay down the law, and women need to buck up and stop whining.


#6

I don’t have that much experience with such things, but it looks to me a bit like your wife has some stress problems. Isn’t she facing something particularly difficult, making her take it out on you? You mentioned some severe pains, maybe that’s the case? I think it’s hard for her to let go of the idea that she’s doing more work or that you’re doing little, so pointing out what you actually do will not help because it will be downplayed or rejected. That means it’s not exactly the problem… the problem must be somewhere else. Maybe if you’d refer to her as proactive about housework, then maybe she feels somewhat lonely in finding things that need doing and need them. Perhaps you could somehow encourage her to stop and smell the roses because frankly, while some people are lazy, some others invented may more chores to do when necessary. Perhaps a form of workaholism. She needs some rest, I think. It may mean you taking some things over, it may mean explaining to her that some things don’t need to be done so often and there’s nothing wrong enjoying life a bit.


#7

Don’t forget your wife has received a lifetime of feminist programming. She needs to be deprogrammed.

If she will read it, and not throw it at you, give her a copy of Dr. Laura’s The Proper Care And Feeding Of Husbands.

If she’s working outside the home, I can understand her stress at a messy house. It’s really hard to work and take care of all the responsibilities around the house. I agree with PP that if she’s spending too much time scrapbooking she needs to be called on it.

Have the kids do chores-- assign them to clean their rooms, pick up their toys, etc, (even young children can do this). And, maybe make a list of things that you do. A visual list of chores (division of labor) will help her see all that you do for her.

You don’t really need a list to help you figure out what to do. Sometimes, after dinner, just be the one to pick up the dishes off the table and take them into the kitchen, put them in the sink, rinse them off, or put them in the dishwasher without saying anything. Be the one to throw away the empty cereal box instead of leaving it in the cupboard. Be the one to throw the load of towels in the washer. I guess just notice things.

I think it’s the idea that she has to tell you, instead of you noticing things are messy, that’s bugging her. That happens to me sometimes-- but fortunately I’ve been deprogrammed and recognize all the wonderful things my husband does do. So, now I don’t get so torqued up over newspapers lieing on the floor, mail stacked up, or the jelly jar left on the counter. I just pick them up and put them away. (Typical reaction of a woman: hello… can’t you pick up after yourself?).


#8

I am going to agree with mariam1976 here. If you had any idea how hard it is to go through a divorce, you would be thankful for the marriage that you have, and would work harder on it. It sounds like your wife is really in tune with her own needs and really effective at communicating them to you. Maybe you need to work on doing the same, because your needs are as important as hers. Hopefully you have found a good marriage counselor who will recognize your needs as well. Just keep trying.


#9

Hmm…not paticularly helpful.


#10

I’m fortunate to be a fulltime homemaker. I’m a total neat-freak so if I had to hold down a fulltime job, it would be very stressful. It gets tricky when both spouses work full-time. Usually, women naturally have a stronger nesting urge and have a lower threshold for what bothers them, messwise.

Would it be possible for your wife to cut back her work hours? Another option might be for you to hire a little bit of help. It does sound as if she is stressed out.


#11

As someone who is married to a man with ADD, I can relate to this problem.

I will say first off, that it sounds like you do much more work around the house than my husband. He will vaccuum if I ask him to and empty the trash. He does do dishes most of the time. He pays someone to do the yardwork.

We both work full time and are raising our 11 year old niece. I also care for my elderly mother daily, so there is a fair amount of stress in our lives to begin with.

People with ADD frequently have trouble organizing things and also trouble with short term memory. I don’t object to doing most of the housework, but what drives me crazy is picking up after my husband. He loves computers and is always bringing home old computer parts to repair the computers he has. When he brings this stuff home he puts it down in the first available spot. This may be beside the door, on the dining room table, in the hallway, etc… He will not move it until he needs it and he may not need it for months. If I ask him to move his stuff he becomes very defensive. I have tried ignoring the stuff, but the pile just grows and grows.

Eventually I can’t stand it anymore and I move all of it up to his office and cram it in there. Then he gets angry and accuses me of “hiding” his stuff.

In a more calm moment he admitted that he is afraid to move his stuff around because he won’t remember where any of it is.

This is an ongoing problem for us, but I love my husband and am willing to deal with it.

I have also taken over writing the checks for all of our bills because he was so disorganized that he was paying many of our bills late each month.

In exchange for me taking over the bills, he has taken over the cooking, which is a great trade, and reduces the risk of anyone being poisoned by my feeble attempts at cooking.

So yes, we do argue over housework, mostly the messiness of the house, but I realize I’m not perfect either. I know I do things that irritate him, too.

He has been taking medication for ADD for over a year now and says it helps him focus. I’m happy for him because I have seen how frustrated he gets when he forgets something or misplaces something. I try to keep in mind that for my husband ADD is a real disability.

I think the thing that helped me the most was when he was first diagnosed with ADD I realized that he wasn’t doing all of these things out of carelessness or a lack of respect for me.

Does your wife understand ADD and the associated issues with it? Would she be willing to read a book about it? Educating myself about ADD was the best thing I did in order to understand and support my husband.


#12

You said you get the kids ready for daycare, but do you work a full time job? (not counting the work you do at home, like getting them ready…) The reason why I am asking is, I know some people put their kids in daycare and they don’t work, they just stay home. I need to know more info before I can state an opinion.


#13

well, if you have a suggestion of your own, make it. You needn’t criticize my take on the situation, it’s as valid as anyone else’s.


#14

If you post your opinion on an internet forum, you’d better be ready for some other person to come along and tell you what they think of it. :shrug:

(Your opinion did sound critical, in and of itself)


#15

Well, if the OP doesn’t like what I said, he will scrap it.
Yes, I am critical of women in this feminist society, and we’ve seen quite a few men in this forum recently, PennitentMan and another gentleman, desperately trying to make his wife happy.
I qualified my statement by acknowledging there could be factors of which I am unaware.
That said, I stand by my opinion (this is not a doctrinal issue) that women are spoiled.


#16

Women who hold down fulltime jobs are NOT spoiled. They are usually exhausted and frustrated that they don’t have time to do household chores while their husbands watch sports on TV. :rolleyes:


#17

And you are entitled to your opinion and I will not criticize it.


#18

To the OP: does your wife work outside the home? If not, she is being way too demanding. I have ADD too, and I work outside the home and so does DH, but I have more time than he does to do housework (although he does his share).
I wouldn’t let the word “divorce” enter my mind. What I would do is very patiently ask my wife what chores would help her the most on a regular basis. Then I would do them. It does drive me crazy when DH asks me what to do next, so I wouldn’t ask, I would consult a list.
Personally, I agree with the poster who said that women whine too much nowadays over everything. I get sick and tired of women complaining about housework and childcare especially if that is their main function. It is not that hard to organize and run a household with kids (I had four within ten years and I know what I’m talking about…I stayed home until the youngest was in second grade.) Anyway, I’ve been on both sides of the workforce and I see women griping all the time that their husbands don’t help enough. It sounds like you do a lot!
One thing I did when the kids were younger was to hire a housekeeper. No, we were not rich! It was a life-saver to have someone come in and clean the house once a week and it is very cost-effective. It all depends on your priorities. If a clean house is important, and two people are arguing about who does what, just get someone to come in once in a while (housekeepers will even come just once a month) and help out. It’s not worth arguing over.


#19

in re-reading OP, which as me a bit confused, I am assuming wife works full-time because husband is not working outside the home at this time for whatever reason, possibly undiagnosed problems he is trying to deal with. One of those problems is ADD which is now getting treatment. He is trying to do his best to carry the load at home, but has never been taught how to do a lot of the elementary tasks, or how to organize, so he does not do the job to his wife’s satisfaction. In any family, this problem could develop no matter who is working where at which job. If I am reading OP wrong I apologize but hope my suggestions are helpful anyhow.

I also got diagnosed ADD as an adult, I also failed miserably at running the home the way my efficient German hubby would have liked, in part because of extreme differences in our family background, but mostly because of my disability. The diagnosis explained so much about what had been wrong all my life in the way I tackle problems and why my life is a mess a lot of the time.

there is no reason the husband cannot continue in the Mr Mom role until such time as he is able to work again, but things will be better for everybody if the primary breadwinner does not have to come home to chaos. (great movie by the way for you two to enjoy together and get a laugh out of the situation, which should help. so is Multiplicity, also with Michael Keaton).

flylady.com is an excellent help for any homemaker who is floundering to get organized, and seems to be specially targeted for ADD afflicted.

Your wife is not out of line in expecting you to take care of most of the day to day stuff, but is not realistic in expecting you to do it without learning how to break that down into tasks and steps, and receiving help with the ADD which prevents you from doing so. She also sounds majorly stressed so make sure she is getting the help she needs as well.

with your wife’s help, since she likes scrapbooking, make up a scrapbook or album of basic tasks, when and how often to do them, and how to do them broken down into steps.

I used a photo album that holds 4x6 prints in plastic sleeves, and used colored 4x6 cards for this purpose. I used yellow for daily jobs (cook meals, do dishes, bathe kids etc), green for weekly jobs (vacuum, scrub bathrooms, grocery shop etc), pink for monthly jobs (dust fan blades, do windows in one room, wash throw rugs etc), and blue for seaonal (once or twice a year) jobs, like washing and storing the patio furniture, washing walls.

I used one card to list all the jobs, then a card breaking down the steps of each job, and listing the tools and supplies needed. Believe me I needed this fundamental level of organization, and still use the system, although the jobs have changed every time we move.

We used this system to teach the kids also, so they all left home competent housekeepers and basic cooks. I also worked, at least part-time, and was usually gone on Saturday am so dad and the kids did the weekly and some of the monthly jobs together, part of their “quality time” which is how things got done and how they learned.

I used the same system for menus, meal plans and shopping list on a 4-week cycle of menus. Your wife should do whatever she enjoys most, if that is cooking or ironing, or anything that she finds relaxing. She should probalby do her own laundry as it stresses women out to have anybody else messing with her clothes.


#20

I did not take the OP’s post to mean that he did not work in a full time job outside the home.

It read to me that they both work outside the home.

Perhaps the OP can clarify.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.