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Some guys love to clean. Some guys clean because they want a clean house. And some guys could care less. If your husband is in group three (like mine), read on to see the surprising truths I learned about husbands and housework, and how you can be happy even if yours doesn’t do much cleaning.

Multipurpose spray, microfiber cloth, Shout color catchers, and Dawn dish soap with the words "The Secret to Reluctant Husbands and Housework: It's Not What You Think!"

I have an AMAZING husband. Seriously, he’s the best. He loves me unconditionally, picks me up when I’m feeling down, is an A+ dad, and wants to help me achieve my goals and dreams.

But the one thing he lacks is helping around the house. He doesn’t really like it, but more than that, he doesn’t really care. He honestly doesn’t notice when the dishes pile up, when the trash is overflowing, or when the laundry pile is bigger than our heads. It doesn’t bother him, so he just doesn’t notice it.

I spent a lot of time being really frustrated by this. And I’ll be honest, it still sometimes bothers me. But the reality is that if that’s his one flaw, I’m seriously blessed. And more than that, he has a desire to help me, he’s just not always sure how to do so. Housework is not his strength 🤷.

So I’ve learned a few things over the years about dealing husbands who struggle with housework. Here are some important things to consider:

1. Tell him what you need help with.

It took me a long time to understand that he really didn’t notice the dishes piling up in the sink. To me it was like, “How can you not notice that? It’s staring you down!” But it doesn’t bother him, so he doesn’t notice it. It bothers me and I feel like I can’t relax when the dishes aren’t done, but that’s me, not him.

Plus, I do the dishes and housework 80% of the time, so it’s just not on his radar. (Side note: I’m not complaining that I do 80% of the housework. That’s how we have it divided up in our house and I find it 100% fair. He has his own list of things he contributes to our family.)

So if I’m super stressed and have too much on my plate that I can’t deal with the dishes that day, I can’t expect him to just do them for me. That’s just not going to happen. But if I tell him I need a little extra help right now and ask him to do the dishes? He’ll do them right away! It’s not that he doesn’t WANT to do them. It’s just that he needs a little nudge in the right direction.

As women, I think we sometimes expect our husbands to read our minds. And guess what? They just aren’t that good at it 😂. And no wonder–humans can’t read minds. So make a pledge right now to tell your husband what you need from him. I bet he’d be happy to help! He just needs some direction on what to do.

2. Let go of expectations.

I’m a perfectionist and I like things done a certain way. So when my husband does do the dishes, and inevitably does it differently than me (and, in my opinion, not as well as me 😅), it’s really hard for me to let it go. But really, I just need to be grateful he did them at all! Does it really matter HOW the dishes were done? Probably not. The point is that they’re DONE.

Sometimes I have to fight the tendency to reload the dishwasher the way I prefer to load it, but if I undo all the work he did, can I really expect him to ever do it again? No. That’s inconsiderate of his time and effort and is frankly a waste of mine too. And if I criticize him or micromanage, he’s probably going to give up and never do it again. Instead I take a deep breath and recognize that everyone does things differently. And that’s okay.

3. Be grateful.

I’m constantly reminding myself to let my husband know I’m grateful he helped out around the house. To say thank you. To give him a kiss. To tell him thank you again the next day. When I let him know how much his help means, it gives him an incentive to do it more. Seriously, this works wonders. Show enough gratitude and your husband might just do the dishes every day until you stop!

Does a messy house bother your husband?

If you want more tips on how to have a happy marriage, check out these posts:

Marriage isn't always easy. In fact, it takes a lot of intentional effort. But with the help of habits, maintaining a healthy marriage can be a lot easier. Here are 5 habits for a happy marriage.

One of the biggest lessons I've learned over my 8.5 years of marriage centers all around expectations: the ones we have for ourselves and the ones we have for our spouse. There's one truth about expectations that changed everything for me. Read more here.

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