Reader Question of the Week: My Husband Won't Help at all Around the House

'Questions?' photo (c) 2008, Valerie Everett - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
A reader wrote in recently quoting on of my posts:

“We tend to clean the house when we see what needs doing. Men don’t work the same way. So if you ask him for a specific task, he’s more likely to do it.”

She then added, What about when you give him something specific (like “take out the trash” or “unload the dishes”) and it doesn’t get done until it gets out of hand (and then you end up doing it because you can’t stand stepping over the trash anymore, or having the dishes pile up in the sink)?

I think this is a connundrum many women have, and I’d love if we could discuss how to help! Now one warning: Often when I throw out questions like this, someone will say, “you need to recognize how much he DOES do, how hard he works outside the home, or how much yard work he does, etc. etc.” I completely agree. Many men do a ton of work that isn’t housework, and do contribute a ton of hours to the household.

But let’s assume for a minute that she does, too. And what she is saying is, “I don’t want the house to be 100% my responsibility. I think a person can clean up after themselves, or can contribute a little bit when we all live in the same house.”

Then what?  Any thoughts?

Wifey Wednesday: Understanding the Higher Drive Spouse: Bread or Tomatoes?

Understanding the Spouse with the Higher Sex Drive--it's like the difference between bread and tomatoes in sandwiches...It’s Wednesday, the day when we talk marriage! I introduce a topic, and then you all can comment or link up your own post below.

Today’s Wifey Wednesday is a Guest Post is from The Mrs. over at Spice and Love, who writes from the perspective of a higher-sex-drive wife. I thought some of  you may appreciate her perspective on understanding the spouse with the higher sex drive!

A few nights ago my husband I were lying in bed falling asleep when he suddenly said, “You know, sex in marriage, for me, is like tomatoes on sandwiches.”

My mouth literally fell open there in the dark.

See, here is the thing. I consider myself a sort of amateur foodie. I like to eat it, I like to make it, I like to read about it, I like to savor it. I will almost always go the extra step in making my food go from just okay to amazing. My husband enjoys good food too, but not enough to go out of his way to make something amazing. Like tomatoes, for instance. He really, really enjoys them on his sandwich. But not enough to do the work of getting them out of the fridge and slicing them to put on his sandwich. If they are sitting there sliced he will always get them. Or if I am making a sandwich and ask him if he wants tomatoes, he will always say yes. But if there are no tomatoes on his sandwich, he is okay. He can still enjoy it.

As I lay in bed I felt like a huge lightbulb had gone off.

I finally understood exactly how he approaches our marriage bed. I began to laugh.

“Babe”, I said, “Sex for me is like the bread. Without the bread, it’s not a sandwich.”

Photo Credit: http://runka.com

I am pretty sure his mouth fell open then.

Because here is the deal. I think he thought that sex was like tomatoes to me, too. I like them enough to always want them on my sandwich, and I will always do the work to get them and slice them. I don’t understand how he can eat a sandwich without them if they are available. But the truth is that sex to me is NOT like a tomato.

Because a sandwich without a tomato is still a sandwich. But marriage without sex? Not marriage.

It was such a helpful conversation. I realized that he does enjoy sex when it is offered and available, but feels like our marriage can still be acceptable without it (not completely without it, but just not as often as me). He realized that sex for me, as the spouse with the higher sex drive, is crucial to our marriage – as in, if we aren’t having it often, I struggle to feel married.

Being a “spicy wife” in a culture that screams out I am abnormal is so challenging. And it’s challenging for my husband too. But, thank God, we are learning after almost seven years of marriage how to finally start communicating about it. So what about you? How do you see sex?

Praying today that God gives you and yours the perfect way to communicate, so you can see through each other’s eyes.

Annabel has been married to the love of her life since 2006. She blogs about love, marriage and sex from the perspective of a higher-drive wife at http://spiceandlove.wordpress.com. Annabel loves all warm drinks, well-written books, and being a foodie. 

Christian Marriage Advice

Do you have any marriage thoughts to share with us today? Like up the URL of your own marriage post in the Linky below!

The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex

Marriage isn't supposed to be blah!


Sex is supposed to be stupendous--physically, emotionally, AND spiritually. If it's not, get The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex--and find out what you've been missing.



Catch and Release

'Another Blue Baseball Glove' photo (c) 2009, Timothy Takemoto - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario. Here’s this week’s!

Communication has much in common with the game of catch. Both have two parts: one person has to throw, and one person has to receive. If you throw at the same time, and no one tries to catch, you both end up whacked.

There’s been a lot of whacking lately in our home. We’ve all been so busy that we’ve been shouting orders and schedules back and forth faster than teenage boys move when food’s around. But we haven’t necessarily been listening.

This became apparent a while back when I was preparing for a week long speaking road trip in the Maritimes. Air Canada graciously allows its passengers two bags of fifty pounds each, and since I had to transport books to sell, I wanted to make maximum use of those fifty pounds. I was aiming to make each bag 49.5 on the dot, and such a feat is not accomplished quickly. Thus, a week before I left I had those suitcases on my bedroom floor, where I would throw things and stuff things and move things before I weighed things.

The day before I left I wrote out a long note to Keith of all the things he had to do while I was gone—grocery shop, get the kids to piano, help Katie with her Science assignment. He looked at me perplexed.

“Why can’t you do it?”

“Because I won’t be here,” I snapped. He looked surprised when I explained that I was leaving for a week. “But what did you think those suitcases were for?” I asked. He had been tripping over them all week, but their significance had obviously eluded him.

No real communication had taken place.

When families fall into survival mode, where we’re just trying to manage the busy-ness, we often miss basic clues of what’s going on in other people’s lives, because we’re worrying too much about what’s going on in ours. It’s time to learn to catch, and not just to throw. We’ve got to listen.

When I was a teen, my mother devised this brilliant strategy of keeping track of everything. She put a datebook next to the phone, my work schedule, my social life, and my school events all went on that calendar. Today our family uses Google calendar, and last week I hit the “Share” button so that my husband can see my calendar, too. It’s just part of being a good wife.

But I’m not satisfied with only communicating logistics. About 80% of conversation in a family has to do with just these things: who is going to do what, when they’re going to do it, and who has to clean up the mess afterwards. Most couples, for instance, only spend five minutes of conversation a day about non-logistical things. Even when we do talk, we tend to be sharing information, not hearts.

The busy nature of our lives often conspires to rob us of time just to share what’s on our minds. Expecting all the chaos to stop so we can have a face to face conversation with our kids or significant other can be wishful thinking. Besides, in my experience, men and teens both like to communicate side by side, rather than face to face anyway. Instead of sitting across the table chatting, they’d rather be doing something and chatting.

So perhaps, in these chaotic days as the year starts up again, I’ll just try to find ways to share my chaos, side by side, so that I let others in to what’s going on. I’ll share more about my schedule, so that Keith figures out what those suitcases are for. But I’ll also spend more time learning to share hearts, too, so that after all the chaos, I’ll always have somewhere to come home to.

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Marriage VLog: Should You Change to Make Your Marriage Better?

I’m trying to record more little video marriage tips, and here’s today’s! See what you think. And ignore the hair. It was a bad hair day.

My question today: if you change to make your marriage better, are you still being true to yourself?