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Ashley Weaver is the wife of a horseman, homeschooling mom of three girls, Christ follower, writer, coffee addict and muck boot wearer. Visit her at ahorsemanswife.com – her little corner of the digi-world, where she writes about raising girls, walking in faith, her western ranch life and the silly tales of a horseman’s wife.
I leaned against the sink in our kitchen staring at my husband, no clue as to how to respond to what he’d just said.
“I don’t feel like you need me at all.”
“You rarely ask me to do anything for you.”
Hold the phone, you want me to ask you to do stuff?
My husband is a horseman. He rides an average of ten horses at least five days a week. It’s a physically and mentally demanding profession. He loves it, wouldn’t dream of doing anything else. However, when he walks through the door in the evening, he’s exhausted. The last thing I want to do is ask him to change a light bulb or clean the top of the refrigerator for me. (He’s tall, so he gets the “high jobs”)
So, over our twenty year marriage and the many late nights he spent riding, I’d slowly just started doing more things on my own around the house. I thought I was being considerate, but on that day, standing in the kitchen, I realized I’d done more than stop asking him to do a little cleaning. I’d left him out.
He wasn’t relieved to not have to do any cleaning. Instead, he felt relieved of his duty of being my husband. Of helping me.
After that day, I started asking little things of him. And when I asked for his help I realized, it was actually help. One less thing for me to do.
And he beamed when I assigned him jobs, then thanked him for doing them.
I’ve learned to ask for help. And he likes it.
So friends, if you want your husband to step it up in the cleaning department…
**Let me let you in on a little secret.**
Let Him Know You Need Him…
Most husbands genuinely want to help their wives. It’s in his DNA to take care of you. So, instead of approaching getting him to clean in a nagging, he-better-get-to-it kind of way, try an attitude of gratitude.
Let him take care of you.
When he feels like you need him, you might be surprised at his willingness to help out around the house more.
Want some help on where to start to get that husband of yours in cleaning mode?
Try these steps:
Have an Honest Discussion about Cleaning.
- You’re going to need to lay it on the line. Talk about it. No more sweeping it under the rug. (We’d rather any sweeping to be in the form of him with a broom in his hand.)
- Do you have different ideas of what “clean” is? Are you both miles apart in your view of what takes priority when cleaning? Maybe there is a deeper root than simple laziness going on as to why your husband doesn’t offer to help out. You both need the chance to open up about your feelings surrounding this topic.
- Hang in there. It could get a little heated, but once you and he both get your viewpoints out, it may shed some light on each of your perspectives.
- Ask him to do a cleaning job that won’t take long. (ex: sweep the kitchen, wipe down a counter, help you make the bed…)
- Thank him once he’s completed the job. Tell him how much that helped you.
- Over a week’s time, ask for a few more small cleaning jobs. Again, be sure to tell him how much you appreciate his help.
- For extra bonus points, during that week, think of something special you can do for him. (A favorite meal, doing something he loves to do with him without any complaining! Is there something he’s been after you to get done? Just do it.) He’s taking care of you, so you take care of him right back.
Kick “Perfection” to the Curb
- This can be a tough one. I had to learn this one and you may too. When your husband begins to help out around the house, things most likely won’t be done like you would do them.
A piece of advice here? Let it go. Did you hear me? I’m gonna say it again. Let. It. Go. (My hubby occasionally makes the bed. Now, it’s not the way I would do it, but I leave it. If he’s trying to help me and I just redo the job, how does that make him feel? Way worse than me living with pillows thrown willy-nilly on the bed and a few lumps under the comforter for the day, I can promise you that.)
We’ll wrap up with this. Gals, your husband wants to know that you need him. Let him know that cleaning is more than “cleaning”.
It’s about a true partnership with your soulmate. Isn’t that what you really want anyway?