Your husband gets home from work, plops on the couch and zones out watching TV for a few hours. All you want is a little help around the house, but your husband wants time to decompress.
How can you get the help you need without resorting to nagging or whining? Here are 10 suggestions that might help.
1. Open your mouth and ask
This seems too basic, but many wives overlook this simple step. You've probably spent the last few hours making a detailed mental list of everything that needs to be done, and now you expect your husband to magically know how to help. He's not a mind reader. Skip anything passive-aggressive, and politely ask for what you need. It'll surprise you how well this works.
2. Bat your eyelashes
Feminist women warriors will hate this tip, but go "old school" and get cutesy. Appeal to hubby's manly side, and get a little flirty. Kisses and hugs will get you a lot further than nagging and hounding.
3. Give him a heads-up
Let him have his time to decompress, but let him know you'll need his help at a specific time. If he comes home at five, let him know that, at seven, you need help giving the kids baths — or whatever else it is that needs to be done.
4. Sweeten the deal
You want something from him, so offer up something yourself. Check an item off his "honey-do list" in exchange for him completing something for you.
5. Make real life more appealing than zoning out
Put yourself in his shoes for a minute. If the kids are running around crazy and you're in full-on nag mode, why would he want to help? When your house is fun and orderly, he's less likely to want an escape.
6. Catch him before he plops down
If you need something done right away, catch him right when he walks in the door, then promise him plenty of chore-free time at the end of the evening.
7. Get the family involved
Make getting errands and chores done a family affair that everyone wants in on. Put on some fun music, assign out duties to all family members and don't single out your hubby for solo manual labor.
8. Make him a part of the list making process
Your priorities may not match up with your husband's priorities, so ask him for his input before assigning him tasks like he's one of the kids. Show him some respect, and let him guide what he feels needs to be done around the house.
Is there a reason he's not forthcoming with help? Ask him about his day and his job before detailing your laundry list of tasks. He might have a good reason for needing time to unwind. Listen and find out.
10. Give him a pass
Your job as a wife is to act as an equal partner, not a taskmaster. Recognize your husband's hard work as he does it, and help him take the occasional day off. Hand him a cold soda, and turn on the game from time to time. Sometimes to-do lists can wait until tomorrow.
There's usually some underlying reasons your husband isn't rushing to help out. He's probably not an ogre who wants you to act as a live-in maid, waitress and chef. Getting to the root of the problem is so much more important than getting every item checked off your list every day. Don't let chores become more important than your relationship. You can both get what you want — it'll only take a few tweaks in your communication.