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How to Get Your Husband to Do Housework Without Nagging

Man rolling up sleeves and preparing to wash dishes.

​Ladies, if it feels like you do your unfair share of chores around the house, it’s not your imagination. A 2020 study by the Pew Research Center found that 55% of men in a domestic relationship were happy with the division of household chores, but only 38% of women felt the same.

In general, men are far more satisfied with communication in the relationship and their spouse’s approach to housework. That disconnect extends to how men and women view the amount of work each person does. The study revealed that 59% of women said they do the most chores, while a mere 34% of men agreed.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it turns out the wives are correct. Compared to their husbands, women work over one hour more every day on chores, raising children, and taking care of the family. The numbers tell a story: women are overworked, and men are oblivious.

It’s the perfect formula for heated arguments when it’s time for chores. And if you choose to do it all without speaking up, it fosters some hard-boiled resentment. Neither of those scenarios encourages a positive family life, nor do they promote your mental health. If you’re starting to feel the stress, it’s time for your husband to help with housework.

How can I get my husband to do chores without nagging?

When you’re ready to get your husband to take on his fair share of household responsibilities and child care, your communication style is crucial. After all, chores are a medium that we use to express feelings about household dynamics.

The reason we fight over chores is that we interpret unequal chore-sharing as a result of a power struggle, traditional gender roles, or personal neglect. When your partner forgets to load the dishwasher, those deeper emotions can lead to explosive arguments.

It’s easy to jump on your husband when he falls short in doing housework. But that’s also an easy way to put him on the defensive. Before you react aggressively and initiate a fight, take a deep breath and try to understand why you’re upset.

Your husband will be more receptive to the message if you communicate in those terms. When you express how the disproportionate share of responsibility affects your feelings, he’ll feel needed rather than attacked.

Whether you’re working full-time or you’re a stay-at-home mom, the man in your life could stand to do more around the house. But since many husbands don’t notice the issue, nothing will change if you don’t start the conversation. From there, you can use these tips to instill better habits and break the vicious cycle of arguments.

Stop asking husband to help with chores

You’d think that married moms would have more spare time than single mothers left to raise children by themselves. But according to a 2018 study, it turned out that wasn’t the case at all — married women had even LESS leisure time than single moms.

So do men not contribute anything to child-rearing or household chores? In truth, they probably do at least a little bit, but they also add more housework for you to manage. A 2005 University of Michigan study found that men created seven extra hours of work each week. But does your partner contribute at least seven hours to cleaning the house?

That gets to the heart of how you should view the responsibility of household chores in marriage. Everybody contributes to the mess, everybody enjoys the benefits of a clean home, so everybody should be responsible for cleaning it up. 

And if everybody bears the responsibility, that means you shouldn’t have to ask for help from your spouse when there are chores. Your partner isn’t doing you a favor when he does housework. He’s simply doing his job. Asking for help makes it sound like he’s going above and beyond, and that won’t do anything to help you establish a new normal around the house.

Let him own his housework

Household chores are a shared responsibility in relationships, something involving two partners, not an assistant and a boss. It’s not on you to plead for help or assign chores like you’re his mother. You can start the discussion, but the two of you need to collaborate on chore-sharing.

That means that while you shouldn’t have to ask for help, you also need to respect your partner’s agency in his chores. It’s his job, so you need to limit the criticism and try not to insist that he do it your way.

If you don’t like how your husband handles certain tasks, you can make suggestions and try to understand why his way makes sense to him. That will create a more productive dialogue that finds a compromise. But when a task is his responsibility, he deserves a say in how he does it.

It can lead to some adjustment as you accept how he carries out different tasks, but you have to weigh the pros and cons of his job and decide what’s important. For example, you may love that he handles the dirty laundry on Saturday mornings. It gives you tons of time to work on getting the kids ready for the day, but you can’t stand how he folds the clothes.

You can discuss it, but if you can’t agree on a solution, you may have to swap chores with him to get satisfaction. Or you could let it go and accept his way of doing it.

Offer positive reinforcement

Many couples fight over chores, yet few take time to point out how much they appreciate each other’s effort in keeping a clean house. You can help your husband stay motivated to take care of his household chores with the power of compliments and recognition.

That doesn’t mean you should thank your partner for every minor task he handles. Again, he’s not doing you a favor by managing his part of the housework. Thanking him too much will both devalue the praise you give him and make it seem like he’s putting in more effort than he needs to.

Stick to complimenting and thanking your husband when you can be sincere and specific. Most men like it when their spouse notices what they do, and being specific shows you’re paying attention.

For example, instead of telling your partner, “Thanks for doing the laundry,” you can point out, “I liked the way you had the towels folded and organized. It opened up a ton of space in the closet.” These bits of positive reinforcement can be good for sustaining a positive routine and a happy marriage in general.

How can I get my husband to help around the house?

Communicating and complimenting are crucial to keeping your partner motivated to do chores and spend time with the kids. It will ensure he knows what you expect and vice versa, and you’ll have more success cutting arguments out of the process.

But sometimes, talking isn’t enough to inspire a gung-ho attitude toward household tasks. If your husband needs a boost to get him to take care of his household chores, try these simple approaches.

Tip #1: Make a list of household responsibilities

When you have to manage kids and housework, you’re likely pretty good at keeping everything stored in your head. A mother has an innate ability to stay on top of appointments, the kids’ activities, and just about any need the family has during the week.

By contrast, men need a little extra help to manage chores. Blame it on social conditioning if you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that you may need to find a solution to your husband’s absentmindedness.

Enter the to-do list, a tremendously helpful tool to keep your partner focused on his commitments. Sit down with your partner and revise tasks on a weekly basis. Give him specific chores around the house, discussing the expectation and deadlines.

Tip #2: Try to make chores fun

As much as each person is responsible for the mess in the house, few are happy to do unpaid work. Stir up some excitement by finding fun ways to get your husband mentally involved in the chores.

Here are a few ideas to help get your husband to do housework:

  • Make meal preparation fun with a favorite playlist or a small TV in the kitchen
  • Reward yourselves with a date night after a deep clean
  • Plan out your meals for the month, trying something new each week
  • Bet a little money on who can do more chores in a certain amount of time
  • Fold laundry in the family room while watching a movie

Making household chores fun for your husband is a chance to make it better for you too. Your partners are your best friends, and with all the time you spend raising kids and providing for the family, there isn’t always a ton of time for the other person. Chores can be a perfect time to spend together away from the kids while getting something accomplished.

Tip #3: Get the kids involved

Speaking of children, their involvement in chores should be a given. A family mess is a family job. Once your kids get old enough to take direction, you can mobilize them to help with simple tasks.

Give your children age-appropriate chores to do around the house. Find ideas to get them involved by talking to other parents about how they divide work and keep their family engaged. Getting your little ones started on housework at a young age is a great way for them to become comfortable with responsibilities. They’ll have a better work ethic and fundamental skills needed to make it out in the real world.

Of course, getting your children used to doing household chores is a huge help for you in the present as well. It’s easier to delegate tasks when your kids are older if you make it part of the norm early. Families that grow up with responsibility will give you fewer eye rolls and arguments when they need to get to work.

What’s more, by getting your children to own some of the housework, your partner has more reasons to pitch in his share. If they happen to see mom and the kids doing work, men won’t enjoy feeling like they’re the only ones not contributing. And motivating your spouse to share housework with the family can be more satisfying for him as well.

Doing work with the kids is an excellent way to spend more time with them. Your husband can catch up with them when they stay home to do laundry and organize the garage, or they can help him run errands and go grocery shopping. It’s a prime opportunity to connect as a family, accomplish essential tasks, and even have fun.

Tip #4: Hire a house cleaning service

Sometimes, there isn’t enough time for either of you to get housework done. With so many women working full-time, it’s harder for families to accomplish everything on the to-do list, even when everyone is doing their best.

Equality in responsibilities is fantastic, but you’re not doing anyone any good if you and your partner are cramming your day full of work. You’ll both stay stressed out and find the same arguments creeping back into everyday interactions.

Circumstances like new parenthood or career changes can jar you and create an adjustment period. But once being overworked becomes a new normal, you and your spouse may need to look beyond each other to find relief. A house cleaning service can be just what you need to give you and your husband room to breathe.

house cleaner can help your marriage in several ways, but the worry over money keeps many couples from taking advantage of outside help. Fortunately, there’s usually a way to get the help you need and stay within budget.

The great thing about working with a house cleaning service is that you can generally customize the kind of work you need. If you have a limited budget for maid services, you can prioritize the stuff stressing you out. A little help can go a long way toward taking off the pressure for everyone in the house.

Where can I book a reliable maid service in my area?

Maybe the laundry is piling up faster than you can fold it, or you and your husband can’t agree on who’s cleaning the bathroom. Housework might get in the way of your job as a mother or spending spare time with your better half. And no matter how hard you try to get the effort you need, it’s never enough to keep the place clean.

If that sounds familiar, let Anita’s Housekeeping help you find the personalized service and attentive care you deserve. It only takes a few seconds to connect with local cleaners and schedule an appointment with a trusted professional. When you’re ready for more satisfaction in your family life, request a booking for a house cleaning service in your area.


Anita's Housekeeping Editors