Last Updated: July 8, 2020 References
This article was co-authored by Michelle Joy, MA, MFT. Michelle Joy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and serves on the Board of Directors for the Couples Institute Counseling Services in the San Francisco Bay Area. With almost 20 years of therapy training and experience, Michelle offers couples therapy intensives, communication workshops, and Marriage Prep101 Workshops. Michelle is also a certified Enneagram teacher, has presented at the 25th annual International Enneagram Conference, and is a graduate of The Developmental Model of Couples Therapy – Advanced Level. She received an MS in Counseling Psychology from Santa Clara University.
There are 13 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
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One of the most stressful events in a person’s life is moving. Doing so can become even more of a challenge if your spouse doesn’t want to move, especially if you are dead set on taking this step. You don’t have to give up your dream, however. You can increase the chances of your spouse agreeing to consider moving when you prepare for the conversation, discuss the pros and cons, and then attempt to come up with a plan together.
Michelle Joy, MA, MFT. Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Expert Interview. 26 June 2020. Waiting until the weekend when you are both decompressed from work is an ideal time.
- The best time to approach the subject is when it is just the two of you. Attempting to convince your spouse to do something in a group setting or when others are around may seem like you are trying to put them on the spot and make them be agreeable so they won’t embarrass themselves in front of others. Your spouse will likely become defensive and may even feel betrayed. Instead, begin the conversation when you’re having a nice dinner or when you are relaxing on the couch.  X Research source
- You might say something like, “Can we get dinner tonight? There’s something I’d like to discuss with you.”
- If your spouse is a football fanatic and there’s a big game on that night, then it might be a good idea to talk the next day. Choose a time when neither of you will be distracted and can focus.
Michelle Joy, MA, MFT. Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Expert Interview. 26 June 2020. After you have thought long and hard about your reasons for wanting to move, it’s time to have the discussion with your spouse. You have good reasons for wanting to move. Being open with your spouse about them could sway their thinking. When laying out your reasons, take care not to act like your way is the only way; doing this could cause them to shut down and not leave any room in their mind for negotiation.
- Be sure to mention every advantage you can think of. These can include better schools, shorter commute to work, being closer to family or friends, or a safer neighborhood. If you want to move to a smaller home, bring up how your mortgage or rent is likely cheaper each month, how you’ll pay less for utilities, and how you may not have to do as much yardwork.  X Research source
- If you and your spouse have long-term goals, talk about how moving can help you achieve them. For instance, paying a lower mortgage can help you save for early retirement, or moving closer to your extended family means your parents can help watch your kids, saving you money on daycare and babysitters.
Michelle Joy, MA, MFT. Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Expert Interview. 26 June 2020. Perhaps your spouse wants to stay for sentimental reasons, or doesn’t want to have to go through the stress of selling and buying a home. These are all valid reasons for wanting to stay, and showing that you understand that moving has its drawbacks could help your spouse realize you are willing to listen and validate their hesitation and not strong-arm them into doing what you want.  X Research source
- No one wants to feel like they aren’t being heard or that their opinion doesn’t matter. Assuring your spouse that you get them and why they are hesitant to move shows you are supportive. This usually leaves the opportunity to discuss the matter further, instead of your spouse shutting it down immediately.
Have you ever been cleaning your home and wish that you could just make a clone of yourself who would care as much and do just as good of as job as you? Do you ever wonder why your husband just doesn’t take the initiative to clean up after himself or, goodness forbid, you? While our husbands are never going to be perfect housemaids, there are a few tips I’ve come up with if you’re struggling to get your husband to help out around the house…
It took me waaay too long to finally figure out that my husband wasn’t simply just trying to make me mad- he just wasn’t a mind reader! To be honest, I was probably just being stubborn. Deep down inside, I really really really just wanted him to figure out what he should do on his own… and then actually do it without me having to ask. Well after too many frustrated days and petty fights, I’m here to tell you that men are not, in fact, mind readers. After too much time wondering why my he never just took it upon himself to tidy up around the house, I finally discovered that one of the reasons why my husband never did was actually because he never noticed the mess. I know, you’re thinking, “Ok, suuure…” But really, though, there are certain messes that I think different people can be blind to. I hate when there are toys on the floor, but I’m totally ok with having clothes all over the bedroom. Take time to figure out if there are messes that your spouse is blind to, and then show extra grace in that area, and be extremely specific when you want something done about it.
Let him know your daily schedule
If you’re like me, most days you’re probably ok with doing a bunch of the housework. My husband works longer hours than me, I can do the dishes and laundry more often than him. But the times when I start to get frustrated with his amount of help around the house are the times when I have several things going on at once and I start to feel overwhelmed. Personally, at this very moment, I am a wife/mom, employee, blogger, and student. To say my plate is full would be an understatement. Letting my husband know that I have several assignments to get done later so I’ll need extra help around the house puts it right out there in the beginning that I expect a little more from him that day.
Give him plenty of time
It took me a long time to learn that my priorities in any given moment do not automatically sync up with my husband’s priorities. This was super hard for me to learn. If the first thing on my mind for the day is cleaning up before we leave for the weekend, but my husband’s is… something else that totally unimportant to me, I go from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds on the “Are you kidding me??” scale. There’s probably nothing that frustrates me more than when I think my husband should be helping me when he’s not. That being said, I can often forget that my husband may, himself, have a list of things to do that are important to him, and my list doesn’t necessarily trump all other lists.
I’ve found that it helps to ask, “What are you wanting to get done today?” and then I communicate my list of goals for the day. Before we even start on our tasks, we communicate what the other person can help with, that way no one is left wondering, “What are you doing and why aren’t you helping me?”
In short, plan ahead and communicate.
Make it clear he’s not doing it for you, but it’s his responsibility too
This is the single more important thing you can make clear when it comes to housework. Let me first say, however, that I have never believed that marriage is 50/50. If you do believe that, you’re in for a lot of, “That’s not my job!”, “I did it last time!” fights.
A huge part of making this point clear to your spouse is simply about the language we use to communicate what we want done. I’ve tried really hard over time to change my language from, “Hey could you tidy up for me today?” to “Hey could you tidy up today?” I do this because I want to make it uber clear that my husband is not cleaning up for me . He’s cleaning up because this is his home also, his mess also, and my sole job as a wife and mother is not to simply clean up after everyone. I’ve already started to try to embed this mindset in our less than 2-year-old son. He has to help clean up the toys he played with before bedtime.
Again, all that being said, there will be so many times in your marriage that you will have to do more than your share. The sooner anyone is able to swallow that the better. That goes for both spouses. There will be times when you’ll have to pick up the ball that was dropped or keep things from slipping through the cracks because your spouse wasn’t up to it this time around. If it’s a habitual offense, talk about it! Address the issue! But always, always show so much grace.
Again, this has almost everything to do with language. And attitude. Just listen to the difference between, “Why do you always leave your stuff lying around?” to “Hey husband, can you pick up your stuff when you’re done with what you’re doing?” Even though with both statements you’re just trying to get your husband to pick up his stuff, you can expect a pretty different reaction from your spouse depending on which phrase you use. To the first one, you’ll get a whole lot of defensiveness, backlash, and pushback, even if it’s just a simple talk. But even if your husband is good enough to not outwardly react any of those ways, you can be sure he feel a lot different about doing what you ask on the inside.
The second way of asking lets your husband know that you value what he’s doing right now, even if it’s relaxing- because we all just need a moment; but it’s important to you that he does what you ask. If you’re about to stick to just simply asking your husband to do a task, without implying frustrating character flaws, the attitude and atmosphere of your home will feel- to both of you- much more positive, open, and understanding.
Consider adjusting your standards
Before I married my husband, I was under the assumption that most people were raised like me. Of course, my husband would have the same standard of cleanliness and the same desire for a clean-ish home. When I realized that we did not at all have the same standards, I was shocked and mad at him. Over time, however, I’ve found that both of our standards have blended and become normalized. I may allow for a little more mess around the house, and he has stepped up his game with helping out. Over time, and after open communication, we’ve come to our own standard of cleanliness and who does what, when. Normalizing your standards will happen when you’re able to be flexible and understand that having a clean and organized home is not the most important thing, you’re relationship with your husband is. There are many nights when I let the dishes sit in the sink until the next day because my husband wants to sit on the porch with me.
Most moms are inundated with far more than their husbands. Knowing how to ask them for help is the key to balancing the workload.
Women today make up nearly half of the workforce and yet are still largely expected to run the house and take care of the children, just like their maternal ancestors did. Don’t believe me? Think: “Nah, this is 2016 for crying out loud!” Think again.
A 2015 Bureau of Labor Statistics survey found that, on an average day, only 22 percent of men actually did housework compared with 50 percent of women. To top it off, men in families with young children only spent 25 minutes providing “physical care” (e.g., a bath) compared to the hour women spent. Considering the fact that 70 percent of women with children under 18 are now working, this just isn’t fair.
Likewise, for moms who stay home, it still isn’t fair. These moms, in addition to doing more housework and child raising than their husbands, report higher levels of worry, sadness, stress, anger, and depression than their counterparts who work outside the home.
The point is this: moms, whether working outside the home or not, are completely inundated, and their husbands are oftentimes just not doing enough to help. The problem, however, is that these same wives are trying to get their husbands to help in all the wrong ways.
That’s where I come in.
You see, I am a husband…and I regularly do housework and child rearing. (Don’t give me a trophy – it is my responsibility, but that’s a story for another day). Wives, I can help you understand your man.
But before getting into the ways you can get your husband to help, you need to understand a few ground rules:
“Clean” means something different to him
Your husband’s expectations for “clean” are probably different than yours. Don’t try to convince him to increase his standards to match yours. Instead, you need to tell him that doing chores above and beyond his level of cleanliness is one way that he can love you, not because he agrees with your level of cleanliness.
Understand the rule of reciprocity
The rule of reciprocity tells us that if you treat your husband well, he is, evolutionarily-speaking, more likely to respond with kindness. Likewise, if you nag, yell, or treat him with ugliness, he is more likely to respond with ugliness. Thus, you need to treat him well.
You are now ready to take the steps required to get your husband to help.
Before anything else, forgive him
Someone I respect very much once said that forgiving someone means deciding to cancel the debt that they owe you. I want you to tally your husband’s debt against you (e.g., the times he criminally failed to help you) and then, once you’ve taken a deep breath, decide to cancel it out. (Note: this process takes time.)
If you try to do any of the other steps in this article without heeding this one, you’re going to fail.
Communicate your hurt, not your anger
When you (wives) get angry, we (husbands) get defensive. However, when you express your hurt, something within us wants to rise up and protect our girl, even if that means protecting you from our own actions, or inaction. If you want to spark a change in us, it starts with showing us your heart, despite what culture may have you believe about men.
Be specific and straightforward with requests
No sighing and no rants about how we “don’t do enough.” Tell us exactly what you expect us to do. Ideally, we’d sit down and both agree on a set list of chores, including a deadline for those chores.
Assume the best about us
Sometimes we aren’t going to get around to fixing the vacuum as quickly as we told you we would (true story). You have every right to be upset at us. But the best thing you can do in that subpar circumstance is to assume the best. For example, instead of assuming that we don’t care about you or your requests, assume instead that we may have completely forgotten about it. Then, ask us.
Appreciate us when we do the right thing
I’m not talking about showering us with praise or giving us one of those condescending “wow, you can actually do something right” kind of “compliments.” Just be genuine.
I understand the argument that we shouldn’t be thanked because it’s just as much our job as it is yours. And you know what? You are absolutely right. However, when you stick to your principles and decide not to appreciate us, you miss out on an opportunity to love on your husband. You also miss the chance to help him associate your happiness with his helping.
Finally, don’t be afraid to send your husband this article. If I’m right, I suspect this will be a welcome change for him, too.
Last Updated: July 3, 2020 References
This article was co-authored by Kelli Miller, LCSW, MSW. Kelli Miller is a Psychotherapist, Author, and TV/radio host based in the Los Angeles, California area. Kelli is currently in private practice and specializes in family and couples’ relationships, depression, anxiety, sexuality, parenting, and more. Kelli also facilitates groups at The Villa Treatment Center for those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. As an author, she received a Next Generation Indie Book Award for her book “Thriving with ADHD: A Workbook for Kids” and also wrote “Professor Kelli’s Guide to Finding a Husband”. Kelli was also the host of “The Dr. Debra and Therapist Kelli Show” on LA Talk Radio. You can also see her work on Instagram @kellimillertherapy. She received her MSW (Masters of Social Work) from the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Sociology/Health from the University of Florida.
There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
This article has been viewed 11,612 times.
If you’re a tidy person, living with a messy spouse can make you want to tear your hair out. Constantly dealing with unwashed dishes and undone laundry can make you feel overwhelmed and unappreciated. Worse, you might start resenting your spouse, which can damage your relationship over time. Luckily, there are ways to improve the situation, though your spouse might never become a neat freak. You can get your spouse to help you out around the house more by talking about the issue with them, creating an action plan, and building good housework habits together.
Here’s how real moms got their husbands to pitch in and remember as much as they do.
This is how it should be, ladies.
At any moment in time, most working moms could recite dozens of tasks that need to get done, from replenishing the paper towel stash to booking long overdue haircut appointments for the kids to sending a birthday card to dear Aunt Sharon. That’s our mental load. But ask a dad what needs to get done, and you might be met with silence. “Women don’t need to be reminded to think about their kids or relationships because that’s what they have always learned to do—be empathic, be nurturing, be sensitive,” says Brandon Miller, Ph.D., an assistant professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts-Boston who specializes in gender studies. “It isn’t that men can’t be these things, but it isn’t always their first instinct because they are taught that they should be driven, competitive and self-focused.”
Since women are battling against years of conditioning, we can feel hopeless that our guys will ever remember to do more that benefits the whole family. We all want our husbands to help out more without having to nag them. But the wives below have found success with getting their husbands to do what needs to be done—without asking (more than that first time, anyway). Try their tricks on your spouse to lighten your mental load and help out more.
1. Make lists. “They make him feel successful. I write out things that nag at me, but that he could easily do without my needing to follow behind him and clean up after him such as: Take out garbage every night, look behind himself after showering and pick clothes up off the floor, empty dishwasher in the morning before work while waiting for coffee to brew. Honestly, it’s the little stuff that is a big help.” —Mary Herrington, Boston
2. Get him to admit when he has bandwidth to do more. “I will ask him, honey, are you able to take a load off of me this week? Sometimes, he really can’t. He has big presentations to prepare for. But when he can, see #3.” —Mary Herrington, Boston
3. Put him in charge when you’re down for the count. “When I was pregnant with my second and had hyperemesis gravidaram, he definitely learned to be more helpful. Since I was so sick, I would cry to him and say please either take our daughter somewhere or deal with her alone when I get home. Since then, I haven’t really had to ask for help.” —Kristie Cafiero, Ramsey, NJ
4. Give him an ultimatum. “Our firstborn was maybe a year old, and I had enough of doing it all, so I showed my husband his suitcase and told him that I wasn’t his mother, I’m Alex’s mother, and enough is enough. He could either stay and be a parent and husband, or he could go. Since then, he has done his part with the kids, the house and dinner.” —Laura Rensen, Welland, Ontario, Canada
5. Flash him “the look.” “He works hard all day, but he comes home and just has to look at my face to determine whether I need him to swoop in. Sometimes I have to direct him (‘brush Luca’s teeth,’ ‘feed Noah some soup’) if I want something specific done, but overall he takes initiative.” —Sarah Pampillonia, Staten Island, NY
6. Don’t criticize his work. “My husband loves to cook, so he is now in charge of keeping the kitchen clean. Sure, sometimes I would like to give it a scrub-down when he doesn’t clean it as well or as often as I might, but I try not to think about the kitchen anymore. It’s about taking ownership, which sometimes means giving it up.” —Ashley Womble, New York City
7. Play up his strengths. “Mine is a meal-planning whiz. He always seems to have a mental catalog of what’s ‘in stock.’ I think it comes from doing bar inventories for so long. I don’t need his logistical brainpower for much else.” —Ellie Martin Cliffe, Milwaukee, WI
8. Make him the master of his domain. “I find you have to give your husband a responsibility that’s all his, 100 percent. For my husband, among other things, it was signing up the kids for sports teams and making sure that all the arrangements around those were in place. I never got involved, so it was clear to him that he couldn’t expect me to pick up any slack.” —Deborah Skolnik, Scarsdale, NY
9. Just don’t do it. “I have found success with dashing to the bedroom closet and shutting the door behind myself when I hear our daughter wake up in the middle of the night. It’s not asking. It’s not telling. It’s just leaving him to deal with the situation however he wants.” —Diane Ross, Brooklyn, NY
10. Give him credit where credit is due. “We wives have to be honest with ourselves: Are there areas where our husbands assume the mental load, but we are oblivious? It’s easy for me to complain if my husband doesn’t put out the garbage, but before I do, I ask myself what else he might be doing that I never even think about, like handling the house/insurance bills, yard work and replacing the brake pads on the car.” —Deborah Skolnik, Scarsdale, NY
By Michael V McLaughlin | Submitted On February 04, 2009
Opposites do attract, however opposite ideas on home purchases criteria, can lead to a colossal headache for both husband and wife.
When you’re at an impasse on which home to buy, make use of these following tips on how to convince your spouse to come around to your way of thinking.
1. Know the reason for his apprehension. There are a lot of reasons why your partner would say no, and it’s your job to find out. Is it because of the house’s shape or even history? Does he prefer something else? Is it out of the price range he likes? Make sure that both of you can sit down and talk about it.
2. Both of you should take a tour. There are a lot of people who change their mind once they get to see the property personally. It could be because real estate brokers may underestimate or exaggerate the beauty and function of a house. It is important that you can inform your spouse to refrain from creating any judgment unless both of you can really do a quick tour.
3. Ask opinion from real estate experts. When both of you cannot really get along with the idea of buying a home, it’s high time that you ask for the help of a professional real estate broker. He should have wide range of experience in dealing with several property issues. This way, he can answer all your spouse’s questions and perhaps comfort all his or her apprehensions. You too will also be enlightened of your own decision.
4. Talk about the benefits. Have you really told your spouse about the potentials of the house that you
Home buying can be a stressful process, but when you throw two different opinions in the mix, it can be downright agonizing. Maybe you’re dying for a cute home in the suburbs, but your spouse loves the idea of lots of land in the country. These disagreements can create roadblocks on your way to arriving at the perfect home.
With low inventory and rising home values in popular housing markets, you have to act quickly when you find your dream home. Don’t let a stalemate with your spouse cause you to miss out. Check out these tips to help you get on the same page as your honey and keep your house hunt from turning into World War III.
Make Separate Must-Have Lists
Your best shot at a compromise is to find out what you and your spouse have in common. When Amber Gunn, an Austin, Texas-based real estate agent and one of Dave’s Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs), works with married couples, she has each person list out their top 10 must-have features along with their top 10 wishes.
Find expert agents to help you buy your home.
“I like [for couples] to make these lists separately, independently of each other, and then if they don’t have at least five matching things on the must list, I make them go to 20,” says Gunn. “Just so we can find five common things that are really important to both of them.”
Start crafting your own list, and have your spouse do the same. Compare the lists and identify a handful of home features (location, number of rooms, size of backyard) that are important to both of you. These agreed-upon features will serve as the foundation to your home-buying discussion. When you and your spouse start the home search on common ground, you’ll be more likely to compromise later down the road.
Take Your Emotion Out of the Budget
House-hunting couples most often disagree on how much money they should spend on a home, according to a Facebook poll of Dave’s fans. Should you take on a higher mortgage to get your forever home? Or should you go the conservative route and get slightly smaller digs?
Do your best to take emotions out of the equation and look at the facts. Your monthly payments should be no more than 25% of your take-home pay. Veto any home that doesn’t fall within that price range. Don’t get caught up imagining holidays and family gatherings in a huge, extravagant kitchen. A forever home won’t be yours forever if it’s out of your price range.
Jessica R. fell in love with the highest priced home that she thought was still in her budget range, while her husband favored a home that was about $10,000–20,000 less. They bought the more expensive home but only lived in it for a year before renting it out. Despite being approved for the loan amount, Jessica realized after they moved in that the house payments were too high. As time went on, the house began draining them of every penny.
Eventually she and her husband had to sell—learning a tough lesson in the process. “If our home had been affordable, we may have been able to keep it and, at the very least, enjoyed our first home for more than one year,” she explains.
By removing your emotions from the decision, you’ll be able to choose a home you and your spouse will enjoy (and still have!) years from now.
Be Willing to Postpone the House Hunt
If you and your spouse are butting heads, take a step back from the conversation. There will always be new homes for sale, but digging in your heels over a home-purchase disagreement will only create a divide between you and your significant other. Gunn often advises couples who are having trouble finding common ground to take a two-week break from the discussion then reconvene. “I do believe their marriage is more important than a house. I would rather them get on the same page than it be a really rocky situation,” she says.
A home isn’t worth straining your marriage. Compromise is key to finding something that will fit both of your needs. When Jenny J. was looking for a home with her husband, she focused on three things during the search: necessities, budget and partnership. If couples don’t prioritize these things, she says, “You might as well be single again and buy a house on your own.”
So if you and your spouse can’t agree on a home, take a breather. Make a pact that you will not discuss locations, square footage, price and so on for at least a couple of weeks. Then come back to the discussion with a fresh perspective and outlook.
Related: Ready to get your savings rolling? With our free 5-Day Home Buyer Savings Plan, you can learn how to save up $21,000 for your new home in just a year! We’ll give you tips and tricks to save a big down payment fast. Did we mention it was free? Time to turbocharge your savings!
Let Your Real Estate Agent Be Your Mediator
A quality real estate agent can listen to your housing disputes and help bridge the gap between you and your spouse. With their intimate knowledge of the market, an experienced agent can provide sound, unbiased advice.
Gunn has plenty of experience assisting couples who want different things from a home. She jokes, “We are counselors—that’s like our second job!” Gunn explains that she’s able to make sure each person feels heard, ease tensions, and find a solution that works for everyone.
Leigh S. found an agent to be invaluable during her lengthy search for a home. “My [agent] helped me step back from the ledge a few times when I wanted to make some emotional decisions when it was taking too long.” Her agent didn’t have any emotional ties to the situation, so Leigh found it easier to listen to input.
Don’t let a stressful situation like buying a home cause strife with your spouse. A real estate pro can help you find a place you both love. Get in touch with an ELP in your area today!
In the history of the world, begging a partner to stay has never ended in a good result. Even if — after all your pleading — your partner agrees to hang out in the relationship a while longer, it’s only a matter of time before he or she will grow tired of the charade. Not only that, but begging is demoralizing. There’s no dignity in it. And sometimes, when a relationship is crumbling, self-respect is all you’ve got left.
Tears and threats won’t move your partner — at least not in any permanent fashion — so save your energy for tactics that will make a difference. What you’re going for here is reason not emotion.
Here are five conversation starters that just may tilt the relationship — and your partner — back toward togetherness. More than one break-up scenario may apply to your situation, so mix and match as needed!
When it’s news to you:
I know you’re ready to call it quits. The thought of that is devastating to me especially since it seems so sudden. This is all so unexpected and I don’t know what to make of it. Given all the time we’ve had together, I’m asking you to consider setting a mutually agreed upon timeline for your leaving. Please understand that I need some time to adjust (and so do the kids). If you still feel the same way in x months, I won’t stand in your way — but I hope we’ll use that time to try and fix what’s broken.
When forgiveness is the issue:
You know I’ve been having a hard time forgiving you for your (affair, lying, unavailability) but I know I have to if I want you to stay in this relationship. You’ve apologized but I haven’t really heard you. I’m sure you think I’ll never forgive you and that we’ll be fighting about this forever. I promise you, that’s not the case. I’m going to do everything in my power — and I’m committed — to fully forgiving you and moving on. I hope you’ll give me a chance to show you I’m capable of this.
When the kids are (almost) gone:
You really seem in a hurry to leave — and I understand that. Neither one of us has been happy here for a long time. You know I really don’t want this but we have to consider that the kids are struggling, too. Given that they’re in high school (or leaving home soon), we only have a short time left to live together as a family. I truly think that would be the best thing for all of us. If you can wait a little while, I don’t think you’ll regret you made that choice for them. Please think about it.
When you need help — and haven’t gotten it:
It seems crazy to throw away our relationship without getting some outside advice. We’ve put so much time and energy into our marriage (and family) that it’s only wise to see if we can make improvements with the help of a professional. On top of that, we really want to be able to tell the kids we tried everything to hold our marriage together. If we don’t at least try couples therapy, we won’t be able to tell them that and mean it. We have to show them that our marriage — and our family — was worth fighting for.
When you’re ready to take ownership:
I know you’re having a hard time forgiving me for my (affair, addiction, neglect) and I totally get that. Now, I’m paying the price for my behaviors and you’re ready to leave — and it’s killing me. Maybe I haven’t shown you enough how sorry I am. I know I’ve hurt you through my words and actions and it slays me to see you in so much pain. I certainly have a lot of making up to do. Would you consider staying a while longer so I can show you I can take full responsibility?
When the relationship has been an afterthought:
I can’t believe we’ve gotten to this place where you want to end our relationship. I’m sad to say that I kind of get it. Neither one of us has put much effort into it for a very long time. We’ve let everything else take priority — work, the kids, our families — and we’ve neglected what was once a very good thing. I’m horrified that things have deteriorated to this point and I’m wondering if there’s any chance we could try again. We loved each other once. We really did. And I’m convinced, with some work, we can get things back on track. Are you willing to give it a try?
Sheri Stritof has written about marriage and relationships for 20+ years. She’s the co-author of The Everything Great Marriage Book.
Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.
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When you or your partner is unhappy about the allocation of household chores, the stress level in your home can increase tremendously. If you ask wives what their top source of stress is, quite a few will respond that it is the fact that their husbands don’t want to do their share of work around the house.
Stress levels increase in your home when either one of you is unhappy about unfinished chores. Couples fight over who does what around the house almost as much as they fight over money.
Surveys and studies consistently point out that even though many women work outside the home, they still tend to do most of the household chores.
Uneven Chore-Splitting Can Erode the Partnership of Marriage
Marriage is a partnership that includes the practical business of running the household. That means keeping financial records, home maintenance, shopping, planning, cleaning, cooking, childcare, transportation, etc. When the practical aspects run smoothly, there is more peace and harmony.
However, if friends drop in and the house is a mess, or if there are no clean clothes to wear, or it rains hard and the leaky roof wasn’t fixed because of procrastination, then irritations grow. Misunderstandings surface and a conflict can arise.
How to Share Household Chores
The biggest mistake you can make in your quest to have your partner do more chores around the house is to ask for help. Asking for help implies that the responsibility for the chores belongs to just you. In actuality, chores are shared responsibilities, and doing a good job dividing up the housework is essential to ensure a happy marriage. Here’s how to do it.
Learn About Priorities
Set your priorities as a couple. What is truly important to each of you? Many couples find they look at the division of chores differently. Domestic disorder simply doesn’t bother some people. But if you are comfortable with a messy home and it bothers your spouse, you both need to compromise. Compromise works best if you select priorities, rather than trying to completely satisfy both partners.
Discuss how you both feel about home-cooked meals versus quick meals or eating out now and then. Find out your own and each other’s feelings about dust, a clean toilet, an unmade bed, a perfectly manicured lawn, paying bills on time, and so forth. If one of you feels that a toilet should be cleaned every two or three days, then you need to share that information so you can understand what you each feel is important.
Sit down together and make a list of the chores that each of you absolutely hates to do. What one hates, the other may be able to tolerate. If both of you detest the same chore, then figure out a way to compromise in getting this particular unpleasant task done. Or perhaps you could tackle the horrid chore together, as a team.
Agree on a Timetable
It is important, too, to be considerate of one another’s body clocks. Some folks are morning people and some folks are night owls. Forcing one another to do a project or chore when they really aren’t ready to do it only creates tension. Timing is important.
Touch Base on a Plan Each Week
Let one another know what the coming week is going to be like: meetings, errands, special occasions, etc. Then decide who is going to do what, make a list, and post the list. Then let it go.
Don’t nag each other about what you volunteered to do. If the task hasn’t been done by the following week when you next sit down to share expectations, that’s the time to bring it up.
If one of you doesn’t follow through on promises to do your share of the work around your home, try and discover together why there is such reluctance. Sometimes one partner overcommits or underestimates the time it takes to get something done. Blaming your partner for what hasn’t been accomplished will not be effective. Reevaluate your plan and adjust as needed.
Be flexible and allow your partner to accomplish tasks in their own way. If having the towels folded a certain way is super important to you, then do it yourself.
If after discussing the situation, the two of you really can’t get things done, then you need to make some choices. Look at some areas of your house and yard that you may want to cut back on to save both time and money. Or try to get your home organized so it runs more efficiently.
Ask yourself if some chores even have to be done on a regular basis. For instance, if mowing the lawn is taking too much time, try replacing grass with wildflowers. If you hate ironing, give away the clothes that need ironing and toss the iron. Do the really care if the windows sparkle? After a re-examination of your standard of housekeeping, your chores may become less draining emotionally and physically.
If you can’t or don’t want to lower your standards, you can hire some outside help if your budget can handle it. It requires some organization on your part to create a list of tasks. You can hire someone to clean your bathrooms, vacuum, dust, shine windows, change bed linens, iron, mend, or take down seasonal items. This should not be viewed as help for one partner (the wife, for example) but for both partners.
Assistant Professor of Marketing, IUPUI
Associate Professor of Health and Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado Denver
Helen Colby receives funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Meng Li receives funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
IUPUI provides funding as a member of The Conversation US.
The Conversation UK receives funding from these organisations
The best way to protect against the flu is the flu vaccine. But even so, about 60% of Americans will skip getting a flu shot this year.
This can be especially frustrating when it is a friend or loved one who is putting themselves and those around them at risk. We are behavioral scientists, and we wanted to know: How do you convince someone to get the vaccine?
The flu shot doesn’t just benefit the person who gets it. It also helps protect everyone around the vaccinated person, such as the very young, the very old and people whose immune systems are compromised. People in these groups often cannot get the vaccine, or it is less effective for them.
The CDC warns viewers to get the flu shot.
It’s a bargain
We would love to tell you that a logical presentation of facts like those we listed above is the best method for convincing someone. Unfortunately, it usually isn’t.
It really seems like we should just be able to tell our spouse, uncle or babysitter how the vaccine works, what it does for us and why it’s important, and then, watch them run straight to the nearest immunization clinic.
The surprising truth is that telling people the facts about the flu shot just doesn’t work.
However, our research, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Evidence For Action program, has found that showcasing the flu shot in different ways – like explaining what a good deal it is – can be much more convincing.
For instance, even though the true cost of getting a flu shot is typically between US$40 and $70, most people can receive one free or for about $10 by using insurance, an employer’s program or finding a community clinic.
That’s a 75% to 100% savings. If televisions were offered at that discount, people would be lined up out the door of Best Buy.
These studies have shown that some of the consumer excitement people feel when getting great discounts on household goods can be transferred to preventive care activities, like flu shots.
Reminding people what a great deal flu shots are is a much more effective strategy to increase interest than listing the health and societal benefits. In our studies, it’s been even more effective than showing a 30-second informational video about flu shots from the CDC website.
When and where?
So now your friend or loved one is a little more interested, maybe even willing to get the shot. How do you make sure they will follow through?
If it’s your spouse or child, you might be able to make them an appointment.
In a separate set of studies, we found that signing up people for a specific date and time to get a flu shot – without asking them for convenient dates or knowing anything about their schedules – was 36% more effective at driving flu shot uptake than sending an email that asked people to click to make an appointment.
Even though some people changed their appointment date or time, and some didn’t show up, more people who received a randomly assigned appointment got the flu shot than those who had to make their own appointments.
If you can’t just make them an appointment, you can also nudge them to create what’s called an “implementation intention,” or a concrete, specific set of plans about when and where something will happen.
Implementation intentions increase the likelihood of getting the flu shot by as much as 4.2%. For example, will they go to the pharmacy near their house for the vaccine? When will they do it?
Tying it to specific activities can help them remember – like “after dropping off the kids at soccer practice on Saturday morning I will stop by the CVS on the corner of Main Street to get a flu shot” – is a great implementation intention.
Help the person develop an implementation intention by asking simple questions or making suggestions about when and where they might be able to get the vaccine.
Encouraging them to write them down – or even better, set a reminder in their phone or calendar – can also be helpful.
Getting the flu shot helps people who are most susceptible to the flu, like kids. CNK02/Shutterstock.com
The flu is no joke
Though the optimal time to get a flu shot is much earlier during the flu season, it is not too late to get the shot, as the season sometimes goes as late as May.
The flu kills hundreds of thousands of people every year around the world and debilitates millions more. The best prevention is getting the flu vaccine.
But if presenting the facts to your friends and family isn’t encouraging them to get the shot, try emphasizing the great value, making appointments for them or encouraging them to set and record concrete implementation intentions.
They will protect their health and get a great bargain too.
If you are considering filing for divorce, you likely feel overwhelmed with all of the decisions you may need to make that will impact every area of your life. Child custody, child support calculations, spousal support, and the equitable division of marital property all are important aspects of your divorce. However, before a final judgment is ordered by the court regarding all of these important issues, certain decisions need to be made, including which spouse will stay in the house during the divorce process. Learn how to ensure that your legal rights are protected and how you can stay in your house during your divorce process.
Can I Legally Stay In My House During My Divorce?
Yes. You can legally stay in your house during the divorce process unless there is a restraining order, or other court order requiring you to stay away from your spouse, your children, or the property.
However, every person will have a different comfort level regarding staying in the marital home during the divorce process. Many spouses will want to leave the marital home in an attempt to avoid any additional conflict or adversarial confrontation. However, if you want to stay in your home during the process of your divorce, you have a legal right to do so. You have the absolute right to stay in the marital home if you are listed on the title to that property. Therefore, unless there is evidence of criminal activity, domestic violence, or harassment by one spouse against another, you have the legal right to stay in your house during the divorce process.
Will I Have More of a Legal Right to the Home if I Stay in the House During a Divorce?
There is a chance that the spouse that stays in the marital home will have more of a persuasive argument to keep the marital home if both spouses are requesting that the court award them with the actual home. While there is no legal statute providing for this, the status quo may prove compelling to a family law judge as they attempt to preserve the routines and established environment in the best interest of the children.
Some other key factors regarding the award of the marital home include the following:
- The spouse that left the home may face abandonment charges if they do not return.
- The spouse remaining in the home may have a better chance of keeping the marital home if they make the full mortgage payment and pay all of the household utilities and expenses.
- The spouse that makes the decision to leave the marital home does not ever give up their legal right to the financial interest in the property, and will still receive their monetary share of the equity through the equitable distribution of property within the divorce if they are not actually awarded the property within the divorce.
Can I Make My Spouse Leave the Marital Home During the Divorce?
Yes, but only under very serious circumstances. There are two ways you can make your spouse leave the marital home during a divorce.
If you are the spouse that files the divorce petition, at the time of filing that petition, you may also request that the court grant you a temporary order to property possession of the marital home during the divorce process. If you make the decision to file this request, you will have to provide a substantial reason for doing so, such as it will benefit the children or because there is a reason to be concerned for your safety. A court does not have to grant this request, and if it does not, then your spouse will have the legal right to remain in your marital home during the divorce.
Order of Protection
The second way you may make your spouse leave the marital home during the divorce involves obtaining an Order of Protection. If you do not feel safe in the house because of your spouse, or you feel your children are in danger in any way, then you have the legal right to file an Order of Protection with the court forcing your spouse to stay away from you, your children, and the marital home. If your spouse committed any acts of domestic violence, this court order will require them to remain away from you for up to six months. If your spouse contests this court order, you will have to present specific evidence regarding the abuse, harassment, violence, or other actions that caused you to seek this court order.
If I Left the Marital Home, Can I Change My Mind and Decide to Stay During the Divorce?
If an individual makes the decision to leave the marital home for any substantial period of time during the divorce process, they may not have a legal right to access the marital home if they did not continue to make mortgage payments. The spouse staying in the house during a divorce has the right to an expectation of reasonable privacy, and not to have a spouse constantly entering and leaving which disrupts the family and children. If you make the decision to leave the marital home, the spouse staying in the house may have the legal right to file a court order to keep you from returning during the divorce process.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney
Many spouses want to remain in the marital home during a divorce for several reasons including convenience, a continuing relationship with the children, or simply for financial reasons. If you are considering staying in your marital house during a divorce, you should ensure your legal rights are protected. If you have additional questions, consider taking our free mini-course that provides additional answers to commonly asked questions regarding the divorce process. If you have additional questions or concerns, we are more than happy to help. Learn how one of our experienced family law attorneys at My Modern Law in Scottsdale, Mesa, Peoria, or Phoenix, Arizona can provide you with answers to your questions and help you through the divorce process. Contact us at (480) 470-7731 or online today.
How to Make a Spouse Move Out During Divorce
If you and your spouse are in the process of divorcing, it is understandable to want them to move out of your home. Deciding to end a marriage is often emotionally challenging, and living under the same roof as the person you’re divorcing can make an already stressful process even more so. Unfortunately, it is not easy to compel an unwilling spouse to cooperate, especially if the two of you own your home jointly or if both of your names are on the lease. However, under certain circumstances, a judge may issue an order requiring your spouse to vacate the property while your divorce is pending.
1. Try to come to an agreement with your spouse.
Before pursuing action through your attorney and involving the court in your living situation, try talking to your spouse. You may find that he or she is not happy with the living situation either and is willing to leave if you can agree on terms that satisfy both of you. If you have children, be prepared for the possibility that your spouse’s attorney will advise your spouse not to leave the family home because it could look like he or she is abandoning the children.
2. Determine whether there are extenuating circumstances.
The judge overseeing your divorce case may order your spouse to leave the home you share, but courts reviewing such requests are usually reluctant to issue such orders without proof that there is sufficient cause. If you fear spousal abuse or if you have a reason to believe that your spouse’s demeanor, behavior, or substance abuse problem may put your child in danger of assault or abuse, you can ask the court to grant a restraining order or an order giving you exclusive occupancy of your home.
3. Request an order for exclusive occupancy.
Your divorce attorney can help you file a motion asking the court to give you the exclusive right to live in your home until the divorce is final. If there is a compelling reason to request an emergency order—for example, you fear imminent physical danger from your spouse if he or she remains in your home—you can request an emergency order. In most cases, courts hear and handle requests for exclusive occupancy on a nonemergency basis. The court schedules hearings where each spouse presents his or her case, including relevant evidence and facts supporting his or her position.
There are variations to this process, so it is important to understand your state’s terminology and procedures. For example, some states issue temporary orders, but other states’ laws provide for “divorce from bed and board,” which has the effect, among other things, of separating the spouses legally while their actual divorce action is pending. No matter what state you are in or what your state calls this type of order, you need a valid reason for asking the court to remove your spouse from your home and you need evidence to back up your assertion.
This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.
Oh dear, the overspending spouse. Few couples consistently avoid money problems, but yours might not be as overwhelming as you think. Even if they are, there’s only one way to get on a solid financial path, and that’s by taking control. This means both of you working together to take control of your money.
When credit card bills rack up and savings dwindle because of one spouse’s spending habits, here’s how to get back on track.
Hint: Manage your money, not your spouse!
Be Honest, and for Heaven’s Sake Be Nice
Presumably you like your spouse, so don’t let money turn you into a mean-spirited ogre. This applies, regardless of how bad the financial situation happens to be. In fact, the more stress you feel, the more you need to think about what you say and how you say it. Some things, you can’t take back. And yelling is a no-no.
CNN Money’s Jeanne Sahadi says it’s easy to point at your overspending spouse and lay blame.
“You probably each think the other spends money on things that aren’t necessary. Well, define ‘necessary’ and look in the mirror while you’re doing it.”
A family budget centers around “family.” You’ll get nowhere fast, and you might just make an enemy, if the approach is deliberately unkind. Say what you have to say, but keep emotions in check.
Lay Out the Problem in Clear Terms
Don’t beat around the bush. If you’re worried about money, say so. And as the famous Max Ehrmann poem Desiderata recommends, “Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others.”
You can’t manage a budget if your spouse doesn’t know what’s wrong, and you can’t work together if you do all of the talking. The problem might seem obvious to you, but do yourself a favor and make it obvious to both of you. Be open to discussion; this isn’t a lecture, but an opportunity to work together.
Who’s the Boss, Anyway?
Be sure that your money worries are real, and not based on an unrealistic idea of who has the right to do what. Some money problems emerge when there’s an income imbalance. When one spouse earns significantly more than the other, someone could feel left out. That’s no way to manage family finances.
Money Crashers’ Casey Slide digs deep into this topic. The high earner in a family might resent every penny that the lower earner spends, and feel empowered to judge what is and isn’t frivolous.
Slide says, “Similar to a power struggle issue, but isolated only to issues with power over the money, the spouse earning more sees the money as his or her own, and believes that he or she has the right to spend the money at will.”
For a family budget to work, everyone has to be equal, regardless of their respective paychecks.
Sharing Really is Caring
A family budget benefits the family as a whole. It only makes sense that both partners share in its creation and implementation. When one spouse lays out a plan to manage debt and spending, then insists on compliance, there is no partnership; there’s only a rule maker, and a rule follower.
Talk with your spouse about what’s important to him, and share your own goals. For a budget to work, both sides have to feel equal. Equality also makes it easier for you and your spouse to stick to the plan.
Money problems rank high among reasons why couples fight and even separate. But money is just a thing; and things can be managed. Financial responsibility rests on the shoulders of both spouses, and it doesn’t have to be a big, smelly elephant that’s always in the room.
Sheri Stritof has written about marriage and relationships for 20+ years. She’s the co-author of The Everything Great Marriage Book.
Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.
Tetra Images / Creative RF / Getty Images
- Spouses & Partners
- Marital Problems
- Violence and Abuse
It’s obvious to you that your spouse needs to see a doctor. To your partner, though, it either isn’t so obvious or they just refuse to go. It is very frustrating and worrisome when a spouse does not have the motivation to take care of their health needs. It can also begin to impact your marriage quite negatively.
It is more common for wives to struggle with this problem. Men are particularly more stubborn about seeing doctors. Perhaps they feel invincible or that it is a sign of weakness to see the doctor. Women are also more accustomed to seeing doctors regularly, such as the OB/GYN.
Reasons People Refuse to See a Doctor or Seek Help
- Rationalization that the problem will go away.
- Fear of what the doctor will say.
- Belief that this is not the right time to be sick.
- Too busy.
- Dislike for the whole medical experience.
- Medical care too expensive.
- Spending too much time in the waiting room.
- Embarrassment about the illness or medical condition.
- Concern about being viewed as weak.
- Fear of painful medical procedures.
- Bad past experience with a particular doctor, healthcare facility or medical procedure.
- Denial about the current health status.
What You Should Say and Do
- Tell your spouse that you are worried. Talk to them about the fear you feel over this situation.
- Talk to your spouse about your own feelings related to the impact this refusal of help or treatment has on you.
- Accept your role as spouse and not as your spouse’s parent. Your spouse is an adult and capable of making personal medical decisions.
- Tell your spouse that you want them to see a doctor because you love them. You can also offer to go with them.
- Ask if you can set up an appointment for your spouse to see a doctor.
- If you believe your spouse’s refusal to seek medical or psychological care is life-threatening, then you need to get professional help in getting your spouse the help that is needed.
- Consider seeing a counselor on your own to help deal with your mixture of feelings. It is important that you take care of yourself and accept your own feelings of frustration, anger, etc.
What You Should Not Say or Do
- Do not continue to nag.
- Do not set up an appointment with a doctor without your spouse’s okay.
- Do not continue to have endless arguments about this issue.
- Do not manipulate your spouse into getting help.
- Do not threaten to leave the marriage (unless you really mean it).
A psychological issue can cause significant distress in a marriage. This is often trickier, as the spouse may lack insight into the problem.
Both psychological and medical problems left untreated can begin to impact the entire family system. If a spouse continues to refuse to get help, perhaps starting in counseling together may be a productive gateway to helping your spouse get their own personal help.
If your spouse still refuses to see a doctor, there isn’t much more you can do other than to share your feelings of concern, fear, and love.
It always boils down to personal responsibility. Unfortunately, there may not be much else you can do. A spouse not getting needed help will unintentionally be sending a message to their spouse that he or she is not important enough to do so.
- What Can I Do If My Ex’s Partner Is Abusing My Child?
- How to File a Motion for Divorce if a Spouse Is Stalling
- Can You Be Legally Separated and Live in the Same Home?
- How to Put a Family Member Who Refuses to Leave Out of Your Home
- New York State Supervised Visitation Laws
When you said for better or worse, someone may have forgotten to mention that the worst part could last a long time after you’ve decided your marriage isn’t working. If you want a divorce, there’s no rule that says your husband must leave the house. After all, it’s his house too. You have some options if the situation becomes intolerable, however, and using a little common sense might convince him to pack his bags.
Draw the Line
Not all men are comfortable with living alone. Your husband might be reluctant to move out because he’s not the domestic sort and the idea of being on his own intimidates him. If he doesn’t know where the clothes dryer is and he doesn’t know how to turn on the oven, you might have to convince him that he can handle this sort of thing. Stop taking care of these chores for him – because as long you do these chores for him, he has no incentive to leave. If your relationship is still reasonably civil, you can show him the ropes before you pull the rug out from under him, but let him wash and fold his own laundry, and let him make his own meals. This approach can also benefit you for legal reasons. If you end up filing for divorce on no-fault grounds that require a separation, the way you live under the same roof can draw a line between being a married couple and living “apart.”
Your husband is probably as unhappy living together as you are, so something is holding him in place. Ask him why he doesn’t want to leave. He may have spoken to an attorney who told him not to move out and leave his home and his kids before the two of you have worked out an agreement. Even if he hasn’t consulted a lawyer yet, he might naturally worry about seeing his kids only at scheduled times if he moves out, or that he’d be giving up his ownership stake in the home. If the two of you can reach an agreement – and commit it to writing – he might be willing to go. You might have to sweeten the pot a little when you’re negotiating, however, such as by offering him unlimited access to the kids.
Ask the Court for Help
If neither of you have actually filed for divorce yet, your husband may think that you’re just having problems – your marriage isn’t officially over. He may not realize that your mind is made up. If you’re absolutely sure you want a divorce, file for one. This may allow you to ask a judge to make your husband move out and give you exclusive possession of the home. Asking doesn’t guarantee that the judge will see things your way, however. Generally, you must prove that living together is intolerable and bad for your mental and emotional health, as well as for that of your children.
Issues of Abuse
You might have a friend or an acquaintance who told you that she got her husband out by filing for a restraining order. Don’t resort to this unless you honestly think you or your children are in danger because your husband is violent. As a legal ruse to make him move out, it often fails. The court will make him leave for a short period of time – usually a week or two – until a hearing can take place. If the judge decides at the hearing that your husband isn’t a threat, he’ll let him return home, so at best you’ve only bought yourself a couple of weeks of peace. If you do feel that you or your children are in danger, however, talk to a lawyer. If you don’t have the money for this, call your area’s legal aid office. You have a right to be safe, even if your husband refuses to leave on his own.
If you are getting tired of doing 90% of the chores in the house—we hear you. Here are some tips from psychologist Joshua Coleman.
By Micah Toub May 22, 2020
Illustration: iStock Photo
Are you ready to sit your partner down to talk about the aggravatingly unfair division of labour in your house? Here are some tips from psychologist Joshua Coleman, senior fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families.
Look for underlying issues
Before even starting to dig in to a discussion about division of domestic labour, Coleman suggests assessing whether your anger is actually being used as a stand-in for more profound grievances. “Some men may protest their feelings of being deprived or hurt in the relationship by not doing housework,” he says. “Similarly, a woman might be especially critical of her husband’s sloppiness because of feeling rejected, unseen or uncared for by him in other areas of their life.” If these deeper wrinkles aren’t ironed out first, Coleman says housework negotiations are bound to fail.
One of the biggest ways to shut down a conversation is to criticize your partner or use general negative statements about their character, like “you’re lazy.” Coleman suggests using language that inspires your partner to work together with you on solutions. For example: “I feel like I’m doing more work than I’d like to be doing, and I wanted to get your thoughts to see how we might move forward together on that.” If you really want to grease the wheels, begin the chat by acknowledging everything your partner is already doing.
Express standards as preferences
The reluctant spouse may need tips on how to do things. Giving feedback, however, can be a minefield. Coleman suggests first recognizing that your standards are just that—yours. “The person who has the higher standards often feels like they’re the right standards,” he says. “But if you come at it from the perspective of preference rather than moral certainty, you’ll have a much better chance at influencing your partner.” Although the person with the lower standards puts more of an imposition on the other’s lifestyle than vice versa, it helps to keep in mind that you’re talking to someone who may not choose to be as tidy as you. “The more you ask, ‘What can I do to get you to see it more my way?’ the better it’s going to go,” he says.
Take dramatic measures
If talking with your partner goes nowhere, Coleman suggests moving on to the “best alternative to a negotiated agreement,” a theory that negotiators use at the bargaining table. Coleman’s own wife used this when she was carrying the burden of supervising their kids’ piano lessons even though it was his desire that they take them. She just stopped doing it, forcing him to take up that duty if he really wanted it to continue. (I’ve also heard of women making dinner and doing laundry for everybody in the family except their husbands, as a kind of labour strike.) But if you see the conflict heading toward divorce, Coleman says you need to communicate that. “You can say, ‘Look, this is a very serious problem for me. It’s making me think about whether you and I are compatible, and it’s causing me to change my feelings about you.’” You want to make these statements, however, while you still have some love in the tank and the relationship is not beyond resuscitation.
By David Hodges on April 22, 2016
By David Hodges on April 22, 2016
Get ready to have a frank discussion about the budget.
Q: How do I convince my unemployed partner to get a job? He shows no initiative and we need the money.
— Stressed in Stratford, Ont.
A: Get ready for some tough love, says Rona Birenbaum, a Toronto-based financial planner and founder of Caring for Clients. Your first task is to sit down with the budget and show him in black and white which expenses will have to be cut sharply if he doesn’t starting earning. “Make it clear it’s a requirement of the partnership,” says Birenbaum. But also try to keep the tone even-keeled by outlining all the benefits you’ll be able to enjoy together when he returns to work. “That could mean more travel and fun activities now, as well as earlier retirement for both of you,” Birenbaum says. If neither of those options provide the necessary motivation, she suggests talking with a neutral third party present. “This will put reality on the table and allow you to raise awareness of the money issue in an impartial way.”
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Money is a cause of conflict in many marriages. Managing your finances can be especially difficult when your spouse has conflicting ideas about money or won’t even take part in the discussion to begin with. When one spouse doesn’t want to participate in financial planning, it can be frustrating for both partners—and could cost you in the long run.
It doesn’t help matters if your spouse thinks you are nagging or hounding them about money all the time, and you don’t want to let your finances ruin your marriage.
So, how do improve the situation? Let’s explore a few of the most common problems and solutions.
What’s the Problem?
To start, it helps to get to the root of what’s causing the money tension. For example, your spouse may refuse to combine finances if they have underlying fears or more serious financial issues that you are not aware of.
Differing ideas about how to spend money, organize a budget, use credit, and tackle other financial goals have also caused issues in many marriages. Approaching financial issues with your spouse in a nonaccusatory way and keeping things simple can help you make progress as a team.
Take the time to sit down with your partner and try to find out the “why” behind their reluctance. Once you understand where they’re coming from, you can work together to solve the problem.
If the situation is too tense, consider sitting down with a third party who can mediate and help you both remain calm and focused.
The Problem: Spouse Doesn’t Want to Budget or Plan
If your spouse understands the need to plan but just doesn’t want to, or they hate following a budget because it seems like too much work, it can be difficult to get them on board. Sticking to a budget is hard enough when you’re committed to it, let alone when you’re not completely sold on the idea to begin with. For the sake of household harmony and financial health, though, it’s important to come up with a solution that will work for both of you.
The Solution: Create a Basic Plan for Review
Make it easy for your spouse to participate in the discussion. Come up with a basic budget that covers bills like groceries, utilities, and gas. Then talk about how you will choose to spend your discretionary income on expenses such as eating out and shopping, what your individual spending money should be, and other typical expenditures.
To make things very simple, you may even consider switching to a cash budget. You can break the money into weekly amounts to make it easier to get used to. That way, when the money is gone, both you and your spouse have to stop spending. In this scenario, you won’t have to worry about nagging your partner to stick to the budget. Plus, some people feel their spending more when actually handling cash and seeing it leave their wallet, rather than using a debit card, an online banking app, or a spreadsheet full of numbers.
This approach can take some of the pressure off of you and eliminate fights about every expenditure. At the end of each month, go over the budget and actual spending to see how you both did.
The Problem: Feeling Blamed in Discussions
If you’re in a bad financial situation with a lot of debt or you seem to have a hard time sticking to a budget, the way you are approaching the issue may make your spouse feel like you blame them.
This can be a delicate situation—especially if you do feel that they are to blame for your financial troubles. However, it doesn’t improve the situation if you place blame, no matter how deserved you feel it is. Blame makes your spouse feel defensive and less likely to participate in money discussions and stick to a budget. It will also cause you to approach the situation with a negative mindset, instead of a can-do attitude.
The Solution: Change Your Approach
Change the way you approach talking about money. Stop using blame, and don’t focus on the past.
Instead of looking back, focus on what you can change moving forward and set up baby steps or milestones to track your progress toward your money goals. Try using phrases like, “Let’s work together to get out of this situation.”
Ask your spouse to help create and commit to a plan that will improve the financial situation for both of you. With this approach, your spouse may be more willing to get on board and work together to improve your financial situation.
Reorienting your approach to a positive one diffuses any negativity and allows you to work toward a more positive future.
Problem: Not Being Involved or Resentment Over Being Told What to Do
While you may think you have a reluctant spouse who does not want to plan, you may actually be dealing with someone who does not feel involved in the process.
Ask your spouse if they would like a more active role in the budgeting and planning. If they say yes, then you may benefit from changing the way you approach the situation by sharing some of the financial responsibilities with them.
Often, one spouse feels like the other is controlling all of the spending decisions, making them feel like a child rather than an adult in the situation. This may be especially true if one spouse gives the other an allowance.
The Solution: Start Over
Fix this problem by including your partner. If your spouse doesn’t feel involved in the process, maybe it’s time to start the process over and do it together as a team. Take care to avoid being bossy, condescending, or otherwise making your spouse feel like they’re somehow less integral to the process than you are.
Gather your actual bills and list your expenses and income together. Go over monthly expenses, your budget, and your financial goals. When looking at your budget, get your spouse’s take on how you should spend your remaining monthly income. Once they see the numbers in black and white, they may be more willing to stick to a budget or curb their spending.
Plus, once they are involved in the process, they will be much more likely to participate in future budgeting and money discussions, since they had a say in the original plan.
Problem: Belief Everything Will Work Out Somehow
When your spouse is holding onto the belief that everything will work itself out naturally, you may have a difficult time getting them to participate in the discussion. Many personality types are much better at being flexible in the current moment but not great at planning for the long term. These personalities often feel that if they keep working hard, everything will just somehow work out. The truth is, financial success comes when you make a solid plan and stick to it.
The Solution: Give Your Spouse a Reality Check
This may sound harsh, but the best way to handle this is to provide your spouse with a reality check. Talk about goals or desires that they have expressed in the past, such as owning a home or traveling during retirement years.
Compare these goals directly to your current financial situation. Put together an estimate of the level of savings you need to accomplish and demonstrate to your spouse whether or not you will achieve that goal at the rate you are operating now. Through this process, you may be able to get them on board with a monthly budget discussion and a financial plan. Sometimes it takes seeing the hard facts to wake someone up to the reality of the situation and help them get inspired to take action.
Chances are, when you got married, you and your husband were both equally excited to start your new life together. Unfortunately, when it comes to ending a marriage, the situation isn’t always so balanced.
Many women call us and say, “My husband doesn’t want a divorce. What can I do?”
If you want a divorce but your husband doesn’t, it can be incredibly frustrating. But before you resort to paying an attorney to light a proverbial fire under your spouse (which will undoubtedly set a confrontational tone for the rest of the proceedings), consider the following five tips for divorcing a reluctant spouse.
Hopefully, they will help save you time, money and your sanity during the divorce process.
Enlist the help of a professional.
First thing’s first. Divorce is stressful and can trigger a whirlwind of intense emotions — for both of you.
An individual or couple’s counselor or professional divorce coach can help you explore the reasons you’re considering divorce and determine whether there is still work that can be done on the marriage and help you process your emotions constructively. If your husband is willing to join you in counseling, it can create a safe space for both of you to share your feelings.
Dr. Pamela Brand, a licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in Chicago for more than 30 years, offers this advice to individuals who want a divorce but whose spouse does not:
“I typically encourage individuals to approach their spouse with the greatest compassion and to recognize the likelihood that they might be faced with a period of resistance, anger, and emotional escalation. It is important that the spouse who is announcing the decision to divorce present this in a way that conveys the process of thought and consideration that went into making the decision. The spouse who wants the divorce may also want to recognize and validate the hurt and pain that this poses for their spouse and offer to listen to what kinds of things may be helpful to their spouse during the initial adjustment period.”
Open the lines of communication.
The goal is to start a dialogue and discuss the situation as openly and honestly as possible. Often just talking it over candidly can help a reluctant spouse begin to accept the reality of the situation.
If you’re not sure just how to approach the topic, here are a few more tips on how to ask your spouse for a divorce. Whatever you do, don’t wall off your soon-to-be ex. It will only make them feel isolated and defensive.
Give it time.
When it comes to divorcing a reluctant husband, it’s important to remember that you’ve probably already had plenty of time to deal with the idea of your marriage ending.
If your husband doesn’t want to divorce, he may be resisting due to the fact that your news came as a shock he wasn’t quite expecting — even if he knows that the marriage has been off track for quite some time.
It can take some time for him to emotionally prepare for divorce. Once you’ve told your husband that you want a divorce, step back and give him some time to process his emotions and come to grips with the news.
Learn your options.
When the time is right, you’ll want to have a conversation about which divorce method to use.
If you’re frustrated because your husband doesn’t want a divorce, you may be tempted to hire a lawyer to force their hand and get the process underway.
But this can backfire and may not be the best way to proceed. If your goal is to get through the divorce process as peacefully as possible, take the time to learn about all five of the available options for divorce first.
This way, you can choose the divorce method that is most appropriate for your particular situation.