Why Husbands Don’t Help Around the House

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Are you the parent who is taking charge of homeschooling? Are you also the only one who cooks? does the dishes? washes clothes? picks up after kids?

Decades after women started working outside the home, research shows that the lady of the house is still responsible for most of the housework & childcare. Furthermore, wives are also far more likely to manage everyone’s doctors’ appointments, as well as the family social calendar.

Ask a woman what she needs from her husband, and she will most often say she needs him to help more around the house. But that issue is much more complex than merely sharing a list of chores.

In fact, a woman’s desire for her husband’s help around the house barely scratches the surface of what she needs from him.

And his refusal is only the tip of the iceberg of what he needs from her.

When we fail to see the underlying reasons why husbands don’t help around the house, we miss the “main thing” for him … and for her.

Here are three reasons men don’t help around the house … and what we can learn from each about both perspectives.

A Man’s Perspective on Why Husbands Don’t Help Around the House

Men simply don’t think like women. They’re not supposed to. If they did, we wouldn’t need them. We already know the female perspective on life. What we need is balance. And that’s what he brings. Or hopes to bring.

1. Men don’t put household perfection at the top of their priority list.

The men I’ve met do like a clean house. But very few of them are obsessed with perfection. Mostly they just want to have a comfortable place where they can relax after a long day.

One woman I met would get upset with her husband for sitting on the sofa and messing up the pillows. He could sit there, of course. But if he got up to do something else, she expected him to fluff the pillows & cushions.

Even if he was just going out to walk the dog.

Another woman freaked out when her husband set his car keys on top of her freshly polished dining room table.

Okay, I’ll give her that one.

But it wasn’t worth the fight that followed.

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.


2. Men don’t understand why women insist on perfection.

I read a rather long post not long ago from a woman who admitted to having a meltdown because she wasn’t able to get everything done. Her husband walked into the fray & shortly thereafter announced that he was going to the gym. She was really mad at him for abandoning her in a crisis.

I get her point. She needed him, and he left.

However, his initial response would NOT have been helpful anyway. He probably would have told her to “chill out.” He would have told her she was overreacting. He would have tried to help her see how silly she was being over stuff that didn’t matter.

You get the picture.

He was wiser to go to the gym.

But a man doesn’t realize how much pressure a woman is under to do everything & to do it all perfectly. To fail means a bucket load of shame on top of extreme fatigue & time pressure. We can handle being tired. And we know there’s never enough time.

But we fear shame. So we get angry instead.

Then feel ashamed.

What women need is (1) empathy, (2) to be held, (3) & a husband who can say, “What can I do to help?”

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

PROVERBS 31:30-31, NIV

3. Men don’t like (i.e., hate) being treated like children.

Men have mastered a lot, especially when it comes to vulnerable emotions. Unfortunately, they try to get their wives to use a man’s survival strategies. Or they revert to whatever has worked for them in managing their business lives.

Neither of those approaches work with a wife.

But women also get stuck in how they communicate with men. They use their “mom voice.” Even spoken more softly, it’s still a “mom voice.”

“I need you to ….”

“Put your ….”

“Go ….”

You get the idea?

He’s gonna rebel. I guarantee it.
[rebel verb. “to rise in opposition to an established government or ruler.]

Not the result you were going for, was it?

A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.

PROVERBS 31:10-12

But 3 Things a Woman Really Wants From Her Husband …

  • She’s not alone when it comes to raising children.
  • He values her & all she does to make their house a home.
  • She is more important to him than anything else in the world.

So when we listen to the words we use & notice the actions that result, we can learn a lot about how we are meant to partner together.

The Short Answer for Both RE: Why Husbands Don’t Help Around the House

… let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, & let the wife see that she respects her husband. EPHESIANS 5:33, NKJV

Therefore, we can conclude that …

  • The main thing she wants is to be loved.
  • The main thing he wants is to be respected.

I look forward to hearing from you!

If you have questions or comments about this article, feel free to contact me. I will reply as soon as I am able. Plus I will add you to my biweekly email, so you will be notified whenever I publish a new post.

Of course, you may also post your question or comment publicly in the space provided. I respect your privacy, so you email address will not be published.

Always remember: I’m here to help.

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2 Replies to “Why Husbands Don’t Help Around the House”

  1. Pingback: Why Do Husbands Hate Coming Home From Work? | Dr. Debi Smith

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