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“My Husband Wants Me to Do a Better Job Keeping the House Clean and Neat”

Spouses almost never have the same exact preferences and tolerances for things at the same stage in life. Sometimes, a husband wants his wife to keep the house very clean. That may feel like an impossible task, especially if you have young children or if you work full-time. There are only so many hours in the day, after all. None of us are superwoman, even though our culture would like to say we can or should be.

Some Unproductive Approaches

It may be tempting to explain to your husband:

  • All of the reasons why it is hard to keep the house clean.
  • Why it doesn’t really matter to you if the house is messy or not.
  • That you believe you have a greater obligation to take care of the children than to keep the house neat for him.
  • That he should clean it up himself if he doesn’t like it.
  • That you are not his maid.
  • That he is a jerk for wanting you to do a better job with the housework.

These would all be popular ways many wives handle such a situation. Unfortunately, those approaches will only stoke conflict, resentment, and defensiveness in your husband, most likely. You also may experience a significant loss of intimacy in your marriage because of the tension.

Here’s a little peek into a husband’s perspective in a situation like this:

  • Explaining why his priorities are not important to you and why things that matter to him are irrelevant to you will only make him feel upset. Maybe angry, even. Understandably.
  • Showing him that he is important to you and his priorities are important to you can lead to him softening and to greater healing for the marriage.

Imagine if Jesus had asked you to keep the house tidy. How would you respond?

Different Husbands Have Different Priorities.

My husband, Greg, actually wanted me to STOP cleaning so much when I first started this journey. He said I stressed him and the kids out by trying to have everything so neat all the time. I wanted the house to always look magazine perfect and, inadvertently, made the house being clean more important than the feelings of my husband and children. It was very challenging for me to let things go and to see a lot more mess than I liked, but I was able to see that it was a blessing to my family and my husband.

God tends to do this for all of us – use our spouse to help balance us out.

The Marriage Comes First.

You have a covenant with your husband that you do not have with your children or anyone else. If the children are having a crisis and true emergency, their needs may need to come first during that moment. But in general, your husband is to be your greatest human priority and ministry by God’s design for the family. (And you are to be his greatest human priority.) He is in a position of God-given leadership in your life. God chooses to work through the people in positions of leadership in our lives, including our husbands. When we honor these people and cooperate with their leadership appropriately, we are honoring the Lord and cooperating with His leadership and His will.

When the Marriage Comes First in Godly Ways, Your Children Are Blessed

Interestingly…

Taking good care of your marriage is one of the best ways you can take good care of your children. They need to see godly parents who have a harmonious relationship who are united, loving, and respectful to each other.

If a husband loves to have the house look neat and orderly – he is not wrong. It is difficult, with young children or a packed schedule, to have a clean house, to be sure. But…

Surely you appreciate it if he cares about things that are extremely important to you, even if they aren’t extremely important to him.

A More Productive Approach

Eventually,  Greg began to ask that we have the front foyer and steps picked up when he comes home. I was so excited! He wanted something to be neat and organized! So, I began to let the kids know,

  • “Daddy will be home in about 30 minutes, let’s get your stuff in your cubbies and take all of your things upstairs that are on the steps because he likes to see this area nice and clean when he comes home. This is a way we can show respect and honor to your dad.”

You can sincerely say something in a friendly way like:

  • “Sure, Honey.”
  • “Okay, I’d be happy to keep the house more organized. What things matter most to you so I can focus my time and energy there first?”
  • “Thanks for letting me know that this would mean a lot to you. What specifically would you like me to do?”
  • “Okay. If it is important to you, then it is important to me.”

Human Limits

Of course, there are limits to your human abilities. If you have young children, home school, or work full time, the house probably can’t be perfectly immaculate all the time. If your husband tends to be a perfectionist about the house being clean – it may be helpful to ask what his top 3 priorities are for the chores so that he can feel welcome and at peace and so that you and your children have something to work with that is actually possible to accomplish.

You may, after praying and seeking wisdom from the Lord, say something like:

  • “I want to do whatever I can for you to feel welcome and relaxed here. I want to find the right balance with work, the kids, exercise, time with God, time with you, and chores. Is there anything you see I could take off my plate or adjust so that I could have an extra X minutes per day to make cleaning a bigger priority?”
  • “Would you consider watching the kids on Saturdays for 2 hours so I can focus on doing some extra cleaning?”
  • “I’d love to do that for you. I’ll need X amount of time per day in the afternoon. Do you have any suggestions that might help me have more time freed up so I can work on the house more before you get home?”

If you and your husband both work full-time, if your husband is home all the time and you are working full time, if you have extra challenges like ADD, or you are pregnant or chronically ill, these dynamics can be a bit more tricky.

In situations like that, a wife may prayerfully say something like:

  • “I can homeschool or I can keep the house really neat.”
  • “I can work full time or I can cut my hours and be available to do more homemaking.”
  • “I wish I could do everything, but that is not realistic. What would you prefer for me to focus on? If you would like me to work full-time/homeschool the kids, I will need help with the chores or we may have to have different expectations about how clean the house will be.”

(Check out the comments for more suggestions.)

How This Simple Thing Can Be a BIG Win

You can choose to use this opportunity to bless your husband, to strengthen your marriage, to set a godly example for your husband, to honor him, to minister to him, and to set a godly example for your children. And they will get to learn to clean up in the process, to be responsible with their things, and learn to show respect for their parents and those in authority, as well.

It is a win!

  • A win for the gospel being displayed in your marriage.
  • A win for your witness to your husband (if he is not a believer or he is far from the Lord).
  • A win for your husband to feel welcome and respected in his own home.
  • A win for you to have the chance to minister to your husband and honor the Lord.
  • A win for your children to witness a godly example in your attitude and servant’s heart.
  • A win for your children to learn to clean up and show honor and respect.
  • A win for you as you have a cooperative spirit that draws your husband toward you rather than repelling him with contentiousness.

If You Are Feeling Overwhelmed, Pray Before You Talk with Your Husband

Pray and let God know that you want to honor your husband’s request but you need God’s wisdom about how to do this. He can often show you a way to do things that you didn’t imagine before. God can help you:

  • Find time-consuming things you can cut out of your schedule (especially time wasters like social media, surfing the internet, etc…).
  • Find more efficient ways to get things done.
  • Figure out how to teach your children to help with the chores so the burden is not all on you (if you have children).
  • Seek His wisdom about respectfully speaking to your husband about cutting your hours at work or him helping a bit more with the kids so that you have more time to devote to taking care of the things that are priorities to him.
  • Respectfully talk with your husband about ways to organize things together, organizational systems, shelves, more storage, etc… that could help make an uncluttered, neat house easier to achieve.
  • Have a discussion about things that can be sold or given away to make less clutter.
  • If you are both working full time and it is feasible, perhaps discuss hiring a cleaning service at times.
  • Talk honestly about whether it is best for the family for you to homeschool or work full-time or if things need to change.

Seek to Have a Cooperative, Honoring Spirit

Seek to honor your husband’s request for things, whatever they may be (if they are not sinful, abusive, or illegal), simply as a gift to honor him out of reverence for the Lord. As you let your husband know that things that matter to him are important to you – he will feel infinitely more respected and loved.

Most reasonable men, when they are feeling respected and honored by their wives, feel motivated to be more loving and to serve more in the marriage. Yet, regardless of his response, do things he requests whenever possible to bless him, to bless your children,  and most of all – to honor Christ as your Lord. When we do things that honor the Lord, He will reward us in heaven no matter what happens here on earth.

SHARE:

We’d all love to hear what things work for you in your marriage on this topic. Or what works for you to stay on top of chores. How do you find balance for all of the things you need to do? You are also welcome to share any struggles you may be having.

Much love!

HELPFUL RESOURCES:

Respecting Our Husbands As Fathers – Part 1

Respecting Our Husbands As Fathers – Part 2

What Is Respect in Marriage?

17 Tips to Ask for What You Desire Respectfully – you may need to ask for help at times, as well

Can You Overdo Respect or Submission in Marriage?  (The short answer is, yes!)

Submitting in the Small Things

I Can’t Have Needs. I Can’t Ask for Things. by Radiant

www.flylady.net – cleaning and organizing tips (I don’t personally use a particular system, some of my friends and readers like this system, though.)

I don’t want us to become perfectionistic or to idolize our husbands. There is a delicate balance that is healthy and God-honoring.

For wives whose husbands are truly unreasonable and/or emotionally abusive, please check out the free resources at <a href=”http://www.leslievernick.com/free-resources/” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>www.leslievernick.com</a>

85 thoughts on ““My Husband Wants Me to Do a Better Job Keeping the House Clean and Neat”

  1. Y Husband was forever complaining about just that. Then I had to travel for work , the first time ever. Now he adjusted his standards and appreciates what I do. It is ALWAYS an entitlement issue. Men are not able to appreshiate what we women do for them and start to demand bigger and better.

    1. Lilou,

      I have noticed that in every one of your comments on my blog, you are very angry at all men. It sounds like you have experienced a lot of hurt and pain. And it sounds like you have some extra challenges in your marriage, as well. Would you be interested in talking about this with me? I’d love to see you find healing in Christ.

      There are generally things for both men and women to work on. We are all fallen people. We all need Jesus. The focus of my blog is what we can do on our side of things.

      There is certainly room for husbands to seek to be understanding and to help with chores. There are times when a husband may ask more than a wife can really do. And in such situations, I gave some examples of ways a wife might respond in a friendly, godly, productive way. There is also a post about husbands who are critical and perfectionistic that I linked in the post.

      I’m glad your husband appreciates what you do more now. That is great. 🙂

      I would really love to see all of us treat women and men with respect here.

      Much love!
      April

    2. We are responsible for us. Not for them. Not one man is perfect. But dont throw all men into one basket. If your spouse (should you have one) sees a positive change in you, it may encourage him to change. Ive heard many times, men in romantic movies tell a leading lady ‘ you make me want to be a better man!’ You set a good standard of living in other words live with integrity. And he may follow.

      1. This sounds a bit harsh :(. It is impossible to speak for every single man or every single woman, so everyone will make generalizations at one point or another. I am not expressing agreement/disagreement on her comment, but just taking it at face value, I see her words as her speaking of “her” perspective of men, whether we agree with her perspective or not.When we speak of flaws in us as women, I do not see it as being disrespectful to women. So I am not sure that stating flaws in men, as one sees it, is by itself evidence of being disrespectful of men.

        Re the “should you have one” comment, well she did mention her husband, so I think it is safe to assume that she does have a spouse. Plus having a spouse is not in itself a badge of honor and not having a spouse is not a reflection of inferiority. Our life situation can change at anytime. A spouse can be a blessing and being single can be a blessing too :).

        Re “romantic movies” – smile :)….

        1. prayinglikehannah,

          Anon M’s comment didn’t sound harsh to me. It sounded to me like she was hoping to bring a bit of balance. That is interesting how we hear different comments so differently.

          I personally would love to see us not assume that “all men are entitled” any more than we would want someone to assume that “all women are entitled.” Are there some men who act entitled? Yes, absolutely. Are there some women who do the same? Yes, absolutely.

          Of course, if the only experiences a woman has had with men have been very negative and painful, it may seem that way, that all men are evil. Or all men are always wrong. And that women are always good. Women are always right. That is what our culture teaches, to be sure.

          My prayer is that we might each begin to heal to the point that we might be able to see in a more balanced way the way that the Lord sees us all as men and women.

          1. Thanks for letting me know your thoughts April. Yes. It is interesting that we all interpret things differently – and that is especially true when we are “reading” as opposed to being able to see facial expressions and hear tones etc. I also thought the side remark re “if she has a spouse” was a bit sarcastic…. but again, maybe I totally misunderstood and it wasn’t harsh in anyway at all. Ultimately, it did seem harsh to me, but it did not seem harsh to you and that is okay :).

            Re your statement, “I personally would love to see us not assume that “all men are entitled” any more than we would want someone to assume that “all women are entitled.” — That is beyond what I was stating… I expressed no opinion on that, so maybe you are speaking to the original commenter’s post as it relates to that. I neither agreed or disagreed with anything she (Lilou) said. Being okay with someone expressing their personal view, does not mean one shares those views.

            Re your statement “Of course, if the only experiences a woman has had with men have been very negative and painful, it may seem that way, that all men are evil.” Thankfully, that has not been my experience. I am very aware that there are good and bad men and there are good and bad women, but again maybe you meant that generally. I have had wonderful and bad experiences with men and with women, so I see no gender as all bad and no gender as all good.

            I think we can receive other people’s views even if we do not share their views. That was what I was expressing, my focus was not on the views themselves. I also think it is not up to men to “make their wives better” and it is not up to women to “make their husbands better.” We are all responsible for our own sins/flaws. If we seek to improve ourselves and fix our flaws to honor God, that is fantastic…. but our goal should not be to change ourselves so we can make our spouses be better people. However, that can be a wonderful by product of honoring God.

            1. prayinglikehannah,

              I was attempting to address your comment, Lilou’s comment, and Anon M’s comment – in a general way. Everything wasn’t addressed to a specific person. 🙂

              I’m glad we can share different views here. And I pray that this discussion might be a blessing and a spring board to spiritual healing because I know there is a lot of pain on this topic for many women.

              Thanks for sharing and for your insights!

              Much love,
              April

    3. I had to smile when I saw this mornings post as this is an issue I have struggled with and I’m sure many women struggle with off and on in their marriage. At one time, my husband was very stern about keeping our house clean. Now that he’s retired, he has really become relaxed about it and I’m the one that would prefer things to be neater and cleaned up.

      My first thought was, “Wow, it’s so hard to be honoring when I look outside my backyard slider and see the old toilet sitting next to the porch for the last few days and trip over the shop vac in the bathroom that my husband used to suction out the toilet water the other day as well.” This sort of “stuff” is the norm around our house these days. I had a total hip replacement done 5 weeks ago so I am not able to do what I normally would do about these items.

      In an effort to not be argumentative or a nag, I would normally clean this mess up myself. There were people here the day the toilet was replaced that were willing to help my husband move these things and clean up. He turned down this help. God knows I am frustrated but I am doing my best to keep my mouth shut. Thank you for your suggestions and examples.

      1. CQ,

        Funny how the tables have turned. 🙂

        You know, I believe it is okay to say, in a friendly, pleasant voice, “Honey, would you please take care of the shop vac and toilet when you get a chance? That would be amazing, thanks so much.”

        I appreciate you sharing and I love that you don’t want to be argumentative or a nag.

        Much love!

    1. Im just embarking on that and i love it! Ive noticed a bit of a difference but its hard when hubby comes home and expresses his dissapointment. Which he is entitled to do. Its just not productive.

    2. Tena Tipsword Weyer,
      Ha! I shared that link in the post. 🙂
      Thank you so much for sharing it. I love your attitude. Our attitude can make all the difference in the world.

  2. Thankyou April, you have given me a few ideas here. Ive noticed when my husband comes home and expresses his dissapointment about the house, i feel a pang of guilt. Maybe its because i know in my heart i have’nt been attentive enough or i did slack off a bit too much that day. How do i know how to trust those feelings or recognise i did all i could and he is just being a travel agent for guilt trips? Or that he is being ‘jerkish’and unfair. I just dont know of i should rely on those feelings when he complains or if i should disgard them because they are not helpful. If that makes sense..

    1. Anon M,

      How clean would he like the house to be? What does he usually say and how do you generally respond? Are you working full time, too? Do you have any children? Let’s hash through this together.

      Much love!

      1. He complains i dont watch the kids enough, or i let them mess the house, or i see them getting into something and dont do enough to stop them.

        1. Anon M,

          Is any of this true, when you try to look at it objectively and prayerfully? Is there anything you believe the Lord might like you to adjust that would be better for the children, your husband, and yourself?

          1. I think it is something i need to change. It is challenging when i am in pain or exhausted or the kids wont cooperate. But ye just sees that as excuses to a point. He is very much a ‘talk is cheap’ kinda guy.

      2. He likes it pretty clean. Laundry and dishes always done, everything put away, attention to detail. Scrubbing every stain out of the carpet as soon as it crops up. We have a larger than average family and homeschool so things can be quite challenging.

        1. Anon M,

          With many children and homeschooling, that adds quite a few extra challenges to your plate. How old are the oldest children?

          Have you had a chance to ask him what the 3 most important things are to him so you and the older kids can focus on that before he comes home?

          Is it possible to focus for 30 minutes before he arrives home on tidying up and getting the kids to help?

          Do you have decent storage in place to help?

          Much love to you!

          1. My oldest is 14, then almost 12, then 9. We have lots of storage upstairs and downstairs. And we are usually ruching around an hour before he gets home and its still not geeat. Better, but not spotless or i ran out of time to mop the floor or fold a basket of laundry. Etc. Its the youngest 3 that cause a lot of the mess. (Aged 3, 5 and 6) i also have a 13 month old. But her job is to just look cute and quality control. 😋😍😂

            1. Anon M,
              Does he want the entire house in order – like magazine perfect? Or is it possible to just focus on the kitchen, living area, and foyer?

              The older kids are certainly old enough to be able to handle quite a lot of chores themselves once you show them how to do things, which should take a lot of the weight off of you.

              But with the medical stuff you have going on, and the number of children, and home schooling, you have quite a lot on your plate.

              I assume he wants you to homeschool?

              It would be awesome if you had the gift of administration – that would probably help a lot. I don’t seem to have that gift myself. But we can pray that God will give us more and more of His wisdom and discernment in this area.

              There are limits to what is humanly possible. So, my suggestions would be things like:

              – Ask what the most important things to him are.
              – Ask how much time he believes you should be devoting to teaching vs. cleaning.
              – Pray and ask God to help you both in your approach to this issue. Invite God to show you resources and ideas.
              – It may be that “completely immaculate” is not realistic in this situation. Is your husband willing to help with chores or with the kids in the evening when he is home? I wonder if this might be something that y’all could talk about maybe after you spend a few weeks making changes if he is still not happy?

              Perhaps there may be a few changes you can try each week to move toward greater organization, efficiency, and cleanliness. But I don’t want you to kill yourself over trying to keep the house absolutely spotless. It is definitely possible to do that. You will have to have balance so you have time with God, and with the kids, and homeschooling. And you may need a few minutes to sit down at times. I’m not sure if spending 15 minutes each hour on chores would be more helpful?

              Do the younger kids have a place where they can play that is out of the way in a playroom or bedroom and one of the older kids can watch them while you and the other older kids take specific chores or have a chore rotation each afternoon?

              Much love to you!

              1. Anon M,
                You may also be able to begin implementing new rules with the kids to help. Things like:

                – After you play with one toy, please put it back before you get out another toy.
                – After you eat, each of you (who is old enough, like maybe over 5) needs to put your own plates in the dishwasher/hand wash your own dishes. (You may even assign each older child to take care of a specific younger child’s dishes.)
                – After you eat at the table, please use your napkin to wipe up any crumbs.
                – After the dishes are done, we will have one child wipe the table, one wipe down the counters, one wash the hand dishes, and one child sweep the floor.
                – After you use the bathroom, make sure that you leave everything looking nice.
                – Chores for the day come before free time.

                You can even have charts. You can assign chores by week and rotate. Or you could assign chores by day and rotate. Or you could simply give specific chores to specific children based on their ages and abilities. But, in time, once the older kids adjust (in a few weeks), they should be able to handle a LOT of the weight of the chores which will be a big relief to you and a blessing to them. Then they will be well-prepared to run a household one day themselves. Eventually, you may not even have to say anything, they will just look at the chart and take care of things. Responsibility is a good thing for them to experience.

                Praying for the Lord’s wisdom for you, my precious sister!

        2. we sound like we are in similar circumstances, I only have 5 with a 6th on the way, and homeschool as well, and even that just overwhelms me!

          I will tell you what works for us, but since I am in the same spot where my husband still finds its not enough, it may or may not be helpful.

          Every morning after breakfast and before school the children have a “table chore” the 3 oldest 10,8,6 are the most helpful. One does the dishes, one sweeps, one puts away the food and wipes down the table and counters. My 4 year old gets a little chore, like setting the shoes right in the mudroom, or picking up the floor somewhere, wiping something down etc. I take this time to start laundry, get dressed, get the almost 2 year old dressed etc. I would like this table chores to end up happening after all 3 meals at some point, but I want to be fully in the habit with one meal first.

          The other thing that works in our home is our afternoon clean up. We have 2 main rooms, living room and kitchen, with the mudroom, and laundry room right off these areas. Every afternoon we clean these areas. My oldest 2 are the leaders, and they get the 6 and 4 year old as helpers. They must clean up, wipe things down, set things in order, and sweep and mop or vacuum. I take this time to deal with whatever else seems to need to be done. Ive recently started using the fly lady list and trying to get one of the zone cleaning things done each day during this time, as well as laundry. My kids are also responsible foe having rooms done before bedtime.

          The other fly lady thing that I shold implememt more is the room rescues, where you set the timer for 5 minutes and all clean up as fast as you can. Its amazing what gets done, it seems to focus everyone.

          When we stick to these routines it does stay relatively clean most of the time, but it still can get out of hand so fast!

          God bless, I know how hard it is, my husband often says its because I let the children get away with too much, which may be true, but being outnumberwd 5 to 1, with so much to do makes it impossible to be on top of everyone all the time! I know better habits could go a long way!

        3. Anon M
          My heart goes out to you and I will be praying for you and your family! I homeschool and I only have 3 children (7, 5 and 21 months) and a much smaller house and I am so overwhelmed lately. I am blessed that my husband doesn’t expect that of me, its me that expects all that of me (I think because my father sounds much like your husband, his demands were unattainable)……

          I can’t imagine how discouraging that would be when you are already putting all of yourself into your children and home. I will be praying for you and I pray that you will find some encouragement and strength in the Lord as you try and respectfully honor your husband. I will also pray over his expectations. May your marriage be strong and united in love and respect. Shalom sister in Christ <3

  3. This subject makes me pretty bitter.

    Why is it ok for a husband to criticize the efforts of the wife in the home, but if I criticize his messiness (socks, dishes, junk mail, etc) Im just being disrespectful and critical? I would NEVER criticize his work in the yard or with maintainance on the house. So why is it ok to criticize my work? This area created a LOT of hurt for me. It eventually became one if his excuses for leaving me. While I understand men and women have certain roles, at the end of our marriage I was working two jobs 7 days a week, and he was working 3 days a week. Now, Im a single mom working 3 jobs 7 days a week, my house is ALWAYS messy, but it feels more like home than ever before.

    Because of the hurt this whole subject has caused me, I fear ever getting into another relationship. Im not super woman. Im too old to care what other people think about me and my house anymore, and unless I have an evening or weekend free, Im too exhausted to even cook myself dinner. So my question is, (and Im being authentic here, not just argumentative) why, if both husband and wife work, is it the wifes sole responsibility to meet his expectations of a clean house?

    We are warned not to put expectations on our husbands. So isnt wrong for them to make demands of a clean house to his particular liking? And isnt his responsibility to HELP keep it clean? I never spoke up on this subject because I believed I was being “unsubmissive” and “disrespectful” if I didnt just do what he demanded. But I was hurt. I was exhausted. And I started to feel worthless and like a failure because i wasnt able to keep up with his expectations. (and at one point before he told me he was leaving me, I had spent the whole day cleaning and organizing, and even made our bedroom look all clean and nice- (this had been inspired by something I read on your blog)- when he came home, he looked around and said, “why did you clean NOW?” I was so confused and hurt. Really, it felt like he was saying, “youre not good enough, you never will be, so dont even try”.)

    These are legitimate issues for me. And cause for deep hurt and resentment. So, what do I do?

    1. MHMC,

      If a wife is working two jobs 7 days a week and a husband is working 3 days per week, it is kind of similar (but worse) than the situation I mentioned in the post where if a wife is working full time and the husband is home all the time and not working, let’s talk about those dynamics in the comments. I just don’t have room to fit any more scenarios in the post! It is already a lot longer than I hoped it would be.

      The post is primarily addressing women who are not working or who are working part time. It gets a lot more difficult when you are working full time. And if you are working two jobs, you are hardly home at all, so it would be almost impossible to do all of the cleaning, too. That is reality.

      No, we are not super women. We have to decide on our priorities. We only have so much time in the day.

      A wife, particularly who is working much more outside of the home than her husband, could certainly respectfully ask him to help with the cleaning. We all need help at times. Even moms who are at home. There are times we need to ask for help.

      There does have to be balance with reality. It is not fair for a husband to expect a wife to work more than he does and to also do all of the chores. I agree. In your particular situation, I don’t think you were dealing with a reasonable husband, from what I understand of your history.

      In a situation with a reasonable man, a wife can respectfully say something like:

      – I’d love to keep the house clean and handle that if that is the thing you think is most important. But in order for me to be able to do that, I am going to have to cut down significantly on my working hours outside of the home. How would you prefer for me to handle this?
      – Keeping the house as clean as you would like for me to would take me about 2 hours per day. I know you also value me working. And I need time with the kids, and with the Lord. What things do you see that I could take off of my plate if me cleaning the house is this important to you?
      – If you would like for me to continue working full time (or more than full time) I am not going to be able to also handle all or most of the chores. I’d love for the house to be clean, too. What do you suggest we do?

      At this point, you are no longer with your husband, so these suggestions may not be necessary. But it could be healing to think about how you could have handled things.

      Thank you for sharing how painful this subject was in your marriage for you. We can continue to hash through things if you believe it would be helpful. 🙂

      1. MHMC,

        I don’t criticize my husband’s yard work at all. I just thank him for it!

        As far as a husband criticizing his wife – that, of course, is not ideal. But – all spouses, husbands and wives, should be able to share things they need or would like with the other spouse. Hopefully a husband would share what he would like in a respectful, loving way.

        But keep in mind that we don’t get to control our husbands. Not all husbands are perfect. Some of them don’t even know the Lord yet. Sometimes we can choose to bless our husbands and honor them even if they don’t ask for something in the most perfect way. If they are truly being hurtful in the way they ask, we can address that respectfully on our end.

        “I’d really like to do things that honor you and that you would like. But I would appreciate if you would please ask me for things in a respectful way. Thanks.”

        A husband asking his wife to keep the house more neat is not necessarily wrong. And a wife respectfully asking her husband to cut the grass if it has been a month is not wrong – unless her husband has been out of town or is unwell. Just because someone asks for something, doesn’t mean it is automatically a criticism.

        But even if a husband is being negative or critical, a wife can respond graciously in the power and wisdom of the Spirit. That may mean she chooses to meet his request cheerfully. It may mean she addresses the way he speaks to her. It depends on the situation and on how the Spirit may lead a wife in a particular situation.

        You are coming out of quite an emotionally abusive situation. I am sure there are a lot of wounds in your heart and soul from that.

        Much love, my precious sister!

      2. Now if a husband is working full time and the wife is home all the time or only works part time, I believe it could be a reasonable thing for the wife to be the primary one taking care of some of the chores. He is working to provide for the family and to give her the gift of being home more often. So a big way she can contribute might be to care for the children, the home, the shopping, the cooking, etc… Then, it seems to me, they are being a team.

        If both are working full time – then there will have to be compromise and a different approach, in my view. Both may need to be willing to help with chores. What tends to happen when both husband and wife are working full time, though, is that the wife still ends up doing all of the chores. That is probably not going to work. She is going to be too overwhelmed and exhausted. This leads to illness and resentment. Not good for her or the marriage and children. Either she needs to cut back on her hours – as she prayerfully considers this and speaks with her husband. Or they may need to come to an agreement about dividing the chores somehow.

        If a husband is home all the time and the wife is working full time – it doesn’t make sense to have the wife do all of the working and all of the chores. It wouldn’t make sense to have a wife home all the time and her husband working full time and to expect him to do all the chores, too, either. This scenario is extremely difficult for most men and women. It is too stressful, usually, for both. I know sometimes it is impossible to avoid if a husband can’t get a job or has been laid off or is disabled. So, we can certainly bring this before the Lord and ask for His leading and provision. And we can also share with our husbands respectfully that we will need and appreciate their help with the chores in this situation.

        Of course, if the person who is home most of the time is very sick or disabled, they may not be able to do most of the chores. So, we will have to be flexible when there are difficult trials like this. Hopefully we will be able to involve older children or maybe extended family or friends.

      3. Thank you so much April. There are times I replay scenarios like this in my head and ask myself how I would deal with it now, knowing what I know. I honestly felt like I was losing my mind with what I felt was reasonable what I actually experienced. Of course, when the “disrespect” word was flung around I immediately felt guilty and defensive instead of stepping back and asking God what the TRUTH was. Im glad that women who are not stay at home moms can be given a little different perapective. It is truly hard to keep balance. And I so believe now, God wants to be the priority in our lives, BEFORE a clean house, perfect kids, packed schedule, and all the other priorities we pile on ourselves. My house will get clean eventually, one room at a time, one evening at a time, but God wants ALL my time, ALL my heart, ALL my effort- the rest will then fall into place once I make HIM my priority.

        1. MHMC,

          Yes, God must be the greatest priority. If we don’t have the nourishment we need from Him daily, we won’t have anything to give to our families or other people in our lives. In my next book, The Peaceful Mom, I actually have a chapter near the beginning of the book on that topic. That we need to “put on our own oxygen masks” first and get the spiritual nourishment we need from the Lord so that we have something to give and we have the power to bless and love our children and families.

          What you were feeling was reasonable. And when a wife is working full time or, goodness, two full time jobs – there certainly has to be consideration given to that reality. There is not an infinite amount of time in a day. And no, we are not super women.

          Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. EVERYTHING HELPFUL I KNOW ABOUT KEEPING HOUSE:

    FlyLady.

    flylady.net

    I started FlyLady in 2005.

    It used to be wonderful. It morphed into every email testimonial being about a product being sold, instead of results achieved by doing the principle ‘system’. Marla also brought in some “spiritual” people who were not Christian, and that is when I left. I do not know if they are still there/their information is being mailed out.

    That being said, the basics of the system are great, and very helpful.

    The old, original, bright pink Sink Reflections (by Marla Cilley) book may be the better way to go. For me, one of the MOST helpful things about FlyLady, were the testimonials that were sent out all the time. You got to understand that you were not alone, and there were other people out there struggling with (and getting out of) the same mess you were in. The last time I signed up for emails, I never saw any of those. ( ´•︵•` )

    The Control Journal I was -never- able to get into. Never. In twelve years time. My brain just can not do the paper Control Journal, for reasons I do not understand. Enter…

    HomeRoutines

    homeroutines.com

    This app is a miracle. It’s a check off deal, where you can set it up just like a Control Journal, and have your Zone Missions, too. It is wonderful. It is the best 5$ I think I’ve ever spent. I literally cannot function without this thing. When things start to fall apart, and I am completely overwhelmed, all of a sudden it dawns on me, that I haven’t been using it. It is wonderful, and I tell everyone I hear talking about struggling w/ house cleaning/keeping about it.

    Pam Young & Peggy Jones – Sidetracked Home Executives / SHE’s / SLOB Sisters

    cluborganized.com

    Pam Young & Peggy Jones are the proverbial mothers of FlyLady. They were around in the … maybe late 70’s?, but certainly 80’s. FlyLady based her system on their original system.
    The Slob Sisters Card File system …. I just could not even. It’s eons worse than the Control Journal, for my brain. But it works for a LOT of other people, so it may be worth looking into. There are YouTube testimonials on it.

    Their “The Slob Sisters De-Junking” video is awesome. It is weird, but it’s one of my favourite things to watch. I find it oddly soothing. Plus, it helps you declutter. I actually purchased a copy of the video from Pam, b/c I missed seeing the video, and you cannot find it on YouTube, et al.

    Pam is still around, but… she has gone off into a very weird ‘spiritual’ thing, that mixes Jesus into some newage-sounding stuff. She doesn’t talk about things like that regularly, though. But unless you are firmly planted in Christ and not easily swayed, I wouldn’t go too deep there. She has a lot of great looking low-carb recipes, and a new book about being ‘disorganized’. I have not read it, so I cannot comment.

    YouTube Cleaning Inspiration Videos

    Idk how it works, but watching someone else clean makes me get up & clean something.

    “My New Me” channel

    I am new to this lady, so idk if there is something awful about her that I just haven’t seen/heard yet, but so far, I have not heard her cuss, or say anything terrible. I like watching this lady. She is not rich. She doesn’t have an already perfect house that is just cluttered up with expensive stuff. She humbles me, and inspires me to both clean, and be thankful:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvH2cxIeVg27scVNCB2kn9Q/videos

    Make Your Children Work

    I hear so many women who are completely overwhelmed, and they have perfectly able-bodied little ones toddling all around. Those little people are HELPERS. If they can walk, they can clean up after themselves. They can help with laundry. They can do all KINDS of things, if you teach them! It’s not enslavement, it’s not shoving your work onto them, it’s preparing them for adulthood. And from the looks of the young people these days (boy, could I sound any older right now??), THEY NEED IT! I’m not that old. Really. But seriously – Kids these days….

    The key to this whole housekeeping thing, I think, is routine. Once your brain has established something as a matter-of-fact routine, it’s no longer a heavy weight, and you just automatically DO it. Give your babies this gift. Start them off TINY, so that when they are grown, they are not struggling like you are. Don’t you wish someone had done that for you?

    That Marie Kondo book I can’t remember the name of.

    I have that book. I read some of it. I like the part where you thank a thing before you throw it away. It makes me feel better and less sad about trashing something. But I am the sort of weirdo who worried about my stuffed animals feelings, so…. yeah. lol

    The hitch for me was, there is no way, in all the WORLD, I am going to take everything I own in a particular category, pile it up in the middle of the floor, and go through it. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea. I think it’s a /good/ idea. I’m just not doing that. Mostly b/c I physically cannot …. well, as I am sitting here, thinking of the reasons why, I’m seeing that there really IS no real reason. I technically could work around it. Maybe I need to revisit that book….

    The Five Second Rule – concept by Mel Robbins

    I recently heard this woman speak about how we talk ourselves out of an idea in 5 seconds or less, once having the thought. I do not necessarily agree with her reasoning behind it (I think the enemy is a huge part of it), but recognizing this – b/c I absolutely think it is a real thing – has helped me a lot.

    She has a TedX talk (and others) on it that you can easily look up on YouTube. I do not want to link to it, b/c she is absolutely not Christian, and she cusses (but not the hard cuss words, b/c she expresses disdain for those who do, which amuses me to no end). But learning this principle has been very helpful, for me. I didn’t study her, or her concept, but I did listen to 2-3 of her lectures (or part of them).

    That’s everything I can thing of, off the top of my head.

    idk if this works, b/c it just occurred to me, but try it.

    Ask your husband what 2 – JUST TWO – things bother him most, and focus on those 2 things.

    Once you have established routines, and have kept those 2 things at bay, you can ask him for one more thing, and so on.

    Hang Tough. Do Right. Have Hope. You are not alone. (⑅◠ ◡ ◠)

    1. RamonaQ,
      Oh, WOW! You know all of these resources very well. I am not familiar with most of these, so it is super helpful to have your expertise and guidance about them. What a blessing!

      LOVE this!

    2. I am approaching flylady with some caution. Some of her products are awful. And for someone who promotes getting rid of clutter, she pushes an awful lot of it!
      As for Marie Kondo. The whole thing is stupid, if my husband saw ,e thanking my socks for working hard for me that day, he would think id lot the plot. Its just an eásy way to get people into eastern mysticism. I am personally staying away from it.

      1. Anon M,

        I don’t personally use a particular system. I have read a few things by Flylady. Lots of my friends seem to love it. I definitely don’t talk to socks! 🙂 That sounds – very different.

        Thanks for letting us know your thoughts on that.

        1. Lol. Thanks for that April. Some people dont seem to need a system per se. Housework just flows naturally for them or they just do what makes sense to them. I need a system for sure. Ive tried steve and teri maxwells books on scheduling. I felt bad for years that i just couldnt get into it and i despised their methods. I felt their take on it was rather OCD. Until i read another blogger give her take on it and pretty much agreed with all my opinions on it and hated the system too. It works for some. But i found it detailed and overwhelming. Im a list and time frame sorta gal.not much of a scheduler.

    3. RamonaQ, i hear you on the slob sisters. All those cards 😨😱😩😧 i struggle working out what household tasks need doing and when. And as for how long each one takes, yikes! Like i know, it changes a lot.

      1. I begged my mom to buy it for me when I was a teenager, when they were on QVC. By the time I was done laminating each card, I was over it. Perfectionism. smh

        I had a hard time getting to sleep last night, after reading Sarah’s post, and then yours. Ten children? And I’m over here with one special-needs ‘baby’, and can’t get through the day. You guys are superwomen. Such mad props.

        1. I will add, i have 2 special needs children as well. #3 child is severely disabled, nonverbal and relies on me for meeding, bathing, dressing, changing her diaper she cant walk, crawl etc (she is 10) child #6 is verbally delayed and struggles with some directives and understanding basic concepts. So he is more intellectually disabled. Which makes it even more challenging. My first disabled child goes out to a school 4 days a week and her younger brother will be joining her next year.

          1. Anon M,
            Oh, wow! That would be extremely challenging. I wish I could hug your neck! You have quite a lot on your plate, my precious sister. Praying for God’s strength, power, wisdom, and discernment for you to be able to love each of these dear children for His glory. And for wisdom about how to handle things wisely and respectfully with your husband. And for you both to have tons of grace for each other.

          2. Thanks April. Yes, it is challenging. But rewarding. Funnily enough, i am one of the only ones that can interpret most of my sons babble. 😊 he is a sweet boy. I just have to give him a bit more time and grace than the others. My disabled daughter (Complete agenesis of the corpus callosum, global developmental delay and cerebal palsy to the 3rd and 4th qaudrant ( her legs) ) is rather happy and not too hard to manage. But taking her wheelchair and giving her fluids via a tummy tube is the most challenging part.

  5. Dear April!

    Thank you for this post! It is a confirmation of the thoughts I had when I started my journey of being a Godly woman. Yes, it is very challenging for me to handle my husband’s level of tidyness next to mine. I have 4 children, 2 years old the youngest, and she’s a whole tornado… But I also can testify, that my husband is more happy, if he experiences, that his preferences matters to me, and he comes home to clean dishes and tidy tables, floor… etc. He appriciates it, I can tell by the way he acts, and tends to be more closer to me, hugs me more often.

    I also want to thank you for writing Peaceful Wife e-book. In last year all of my prayers for 5 long and discouraging years were heard. I desperately prayed for my marriage to get better, to be livable, to keep it unbroken for our lives long. It was a prestige for me, because I wanted to make shure my marriage wont end with divorce like my parent’s marriage. Because I’m christian… Now I can laugh about my old self wanting to control my marriage…

    It was the Holy Year of Mercy when my prayers were heard by God, and he gave me your book through my best friend. He inspired me through your words. He gave me the solution of the biggest problem of my life through you. 🙂

    I always had struggles how to be a godly woman, and I made progress, but kept the best inspiration from you. I understand what it means to be strong in my womanly weakness. I found myself. The self God wants me to be.

    I realized, that all of my marriage issues came from what I did throughout the years of our marriage. I was disrespectful and controlling, throwing tantrums (and vases) if I did not kept the reactions what I wanted, being manipulative and critical… I hurt my husband so many ways, my kidness could not reach him. I was getting more and more hurt too, and go on being selfish…

    The pain was unbearable when I realized what I did to him. And I started to do what God inspired me to do to honor him, respect him, build him up. I took him down as an idol, and started to rely on only God. I could bear his unkind words without fighting back with God’s help. And He always fought for me. If I tried to defend myself, I ended up hurting my husband, and hurting myself with letting him say such words that he knows he can hurt me with. When I said nothing, and only prayed, God always let him apologize for the rudeness and unjustice that he made (if that was the situation). I need only do what God wants me to do, with His strength, and give the rest to Him.

    I admit, I’m on my way, but my marriage is much more better already.

    I stopped being the Holy Spirit for my husband. And nowadays God inspires my husband to come with us to church!

    To admit the truth, I have a promise from God to bring back my husband to the church, and to being a complete Godly family. So I have hope to rely on, to help me endure the years may come before I will see my new Godly husband. But I fully understand, that it will be the work of our Lord, and not my business. Maybe it will be only come true when we will be in the Heaven, but I trust God, and accept what He gives. I focus on being the woman Christ wants me to be. And I fully rely on what He gives me, He inspires me to do.

    Thank you for showing me the way! I learn very much from you!

    Love,
    Zsófi (Sophie)

    1. Sophie,

      It is wonderful to hear from you! Thank you so much for sharing what the Lord has been doing. I am thrilled to hear about the healing in your soul and in your marriage!!!! YAY!

      How I thank and praise Him that He will continue this good work in you and in your husband and marriage to completion and I pray for His greatest glory in your life and in your marriage.

      It is such a blessing to get to hear a bit of your story.

      Much love!

      1. Dear April,
        thank you for your kind words and your prayer!
        I also praise the Lord for being so merciful to us all, and leading us with His Holy Spirit. And I thank Him that I can have somebody like you to teach me and advise me in His guidance. Thank you for your ministry!
        If you want, I will write my story to you, so that I can give some hope to my sisters in our common journey. I find very upliting when I can read your shared stories of your jouney of being a godly women.
        Sorry for my horrible grammar (I’m hungarian, learned english in high school, and trying to keep my english alive with reading, speaking and watching films in english).
        With love,
        Sophie

        1. Sophie,

          I would love to share your story if you feel led by the Lord to write for us. Don’t worry about your grammar. I can help edit. 🙂

          I’ll send you an email so you can send it to me that way.

          Much love!
          April

  6. Thanks for this post April. What is working for me is Flylady. When we moved into our new house last year I vowed never to allow the house to get as messy as our old house and boy was it a mess! I plan to post about it on my blog Lord willing.
    Thanks again!

  7. Hi PeacefulWife, I’m sorry for posting on an unconnected topic, but I am just really crying out inside for someone to talk to about the situation I’m going through. I read an article on your blog guest-written by TheJoyfilledWife about discovering her husband’s pornography addiction, and I just wanted to talk to her because I wanted to talk to someone who went through what I’m going through. I can’t talk to my friends, because you just don’t tell people you know stuff like that– it gets around. Anyways, I couldn’t find any other way to contact the person who wrote that article. Is there any way I could talk to her?

  8. When my husband and i first married, I told him we could have the kind of marriage he wanted. I could either work outside the home, in which case I would need help with the housework, or I could stay home and fully care for him and our home. He wanted me to work, so I did.

    Over time he slowly did less and less, until I was essentially holding two full time jobs, one paid and one unpaid. He maintained his one job, came home and sat down for the evening. The frustration was unbearable for me.

    Fortunately I was able to get the help I needed in a respectful, if not downright funny, way. I reminded him that I was trying my best to keep to his wishes of working outside the home but somehow I wasnt able to live up to his standard. So I calmly mentioned I was being forced to give notice at work.

    He wanted to know why I felt I had to do that and i told him I was deeply disappointed in myself that I was unable to work full time and care for the home and cook, etc. as well. I told him he was my priority over money so I had to select the one most important.

    He was so concerned about my feeling bad that he put his arm around me and asked if I hated my job or faced something unpleasant at work. No, I said, I liked my job. But I loved him and couldnt do everything that had to be done.

    He then kissed me on the forehead, and asked if he could help me more. I told him that would be fantastic. The following weekend that man vacuumed and mopped the floors along with a couple other small projects. What an angel!

    I do have to admit to almost laughing at first, but the whole situation was win/win.

    1. Happily Gave Up,

      I agree with you – a wife can either work outside the home and have help with the housework and children, or she can be home more and handle the chores and the children. And I think your approach was productive. You let him know what you could do and what you couldn’t. You took into account what he said was important to him.

      So thankful that y’all worked together on this and that you acted as a team instead of treating each other like enemies. That was awesome!

      Thank you so much for sharing.

      1. Sarah,

        I like Happily Gave Up’s story.

        I work part time as a pharmacist now. And I do about 30 hours per week of ministry/book-writing. I used to work full time before my kids were born. And I work full time certain weeks of the year when I am helping cover vacations.

        I work in the pharmacy because my husband wants me to help contribute to the family income. I’d personally love to stay home. But I trust God to lead me through my husband on this. I am thankful I don’t have to work full time because I know that, for me, it would be extremely hard to have the right balance in my life if I did. The weeks I work full time, I do that because my husband appreciates the extra income. And he helps me out with the chores a lot more that week because he knows I am much more strapped for time.

        I think if a husband wants his wife to homeschool, that is essentially a full-time job. In addition to being a mom and housekeeper and cooking meals. There are certainly times a wife may need to respectfully ask for help or may need to share all that she is trying to juggle with her husband and invite him to help her find things she can take off of her plate to make room for the most important things. There is only so much one person can do.

        Much love!

  9. This is probably our biggest marriage struggle at this point. My husband wants things to be clean, at least in the main areas of the house at all times. Having 5 kids, pregnant with the 6th, and homeschooling, and cooking meals primary from scratch (3 meals a day) makes keeping the house clean all the time so so hard. While I think we have both become more patient with each other in this area, it is still hard. I feel like he looks at me like a maid, and expects more out of me than I can even possibly give, and I believe he feels like Im just not caring about something that is so important to him.

    I have started to try flylady again, as i have found it to work if i stick to it, and the kids do have things they have to do. I just find I am pulled in so many directions it feels almost impossible. I was the messiest person, just a complete slob before being married, and it has taken years to get to where I am, which is just treading water.

    I feel both encouraged and discouraged by this post, I want to please my husband, and keep the house clean for him, I just dont feel capable, and it makes me feel like a failure. What if you just dont have any more to give, and its still not enough?

    1. Sarah,

      You know what? Having 5 kids and being pregnant with number 6 is a lot on your plate. I know everyone here would agree. And then you add homeschooling, that is a lot like a full time job. And if you are making 3 meals a day from scratch, that is a lot of work, too.

      I love that you want to try to keep the house clean for your husband, that you care about this thing that matters to him a lot.

      I also appreciate that you have a very hard job and that keeping everything completely immaculate would be almost impossible for anyone, it seems to me, under these circumstances.

      I’m really glad that your husband is more patient now. I don’t fault him for enjoying a clean house. I enjoy a clean house, too. I feel like I can’t think straight when everything is messy. It gives me heebie jeebies. I have personally learned to try to not go in certain rooms when my husband is working on projects for months or to just avoid his garage. I can’t even walk in there, and if I think about it too much, it is overwhelming to me. We just have very different ways of handling putting things away.

      I don’t want you to be discouraged at all. But it would be awesome to be realistic. How much time can you devote to cleaning per day? And what are his biggest priorities for the main living area? Try to hit the things that mean the most to him. Let him know you will be spending X amount of time and that you definitely want to honor his desire to have the house clean. Teach the kids to help.

      But I hope you can both continue to be patient with each other realizing that this is a season when it is really difficult to keep things completely clean. One day, the kids will be teenagers or out of the house and the house can be neat all the time. Perhaps you can sit down and talk about what the most important things are. Time with God. Time with each other. Time to love the kids. Teaching the kids school stuff. Teaching the kids responsibility stuff with chores. The house being in some semblance of order.

      How many hours per week is he working? What are his thoughts about helping you with the chores?

      Are there some baby steps you could take?

      This is a struggle for everyone. And it is an extra struggle for moms with lots of kids and moms who homeschool, as well as moms who work full time. You can push yourself so much that you can make yourself insane or sick. I don’t want to see it come to that.

      But what if there is just a step or two this week you can take that may be a blessing to him but that is reasonable for you?

      We will have to give ourselves some grace in certain seasons of life.

      Radiant talks about this issue from personal experience with 4 kids (she homeschools, too) on this post.

    2. Sarah – I need a nap just reading that. Wow.

      I implore you – Put your kids to work. Please.

      You are NOT a failure. You are remarkable. I would have lost my everloving MIND a few children ago. The fact that you even CARE about pleasing him with all that you do, and your hormones in their current state, amazes me. I would have also been a widow, a few children ago, I feel fairly certain, and therefore, in prison.

      Please be gentle with yourself. Your body is making an entire other human being right now, and it’s already made FIVE other ones. Do you even… I mean…. Come on! “Capable” is relative, and changes.

      You are about the farthest thing there IS from a “failure”. You are an enormous, screaming success, regardless of the state of your house. REGARDLESS OF THE STATE OF YOUR HOUSE.

      I implore you again – Put your kids to work.

      I know that the teeny ones can only really pick up after themselves, but that is /something/.

      If you have older ones, give them jobs to do – The dishes, vacuuming, dusting, hosing down the smaller ones after they eat, anything that they can safely do, teach them how to do it, and require it of them. If you can, have a calendar where they get a star for every day they do their schooling and chores w/o complaining, and if they get one for every day, they get _____. It doesn’t have to be money, or a toy, it could be eating lunch at the park (or yard, if you can’t haul them all), or watching a particular video they like.

      Please don’t be so hard on yourself. You are doing a great job. The days are long, the years are short. These days are going to be gone before you even know what happened. Breathe, talk to the Lord at every opportunity, drink water, and be kind to yourself. And put your kids to work.

      Hang Tough, Momma.

    3. Holy cow woman! We could be twins! Except i am pregnant with my 10th and two of those children have special needs. It is exhausting. (Yes April, i emailed you last week 😉😂) i am so glad you posted this April. It has answered many questions and frustrations i have had. I think the biggest thing for me is, learn to block out the negative comments and jabs from others, including your husband. ( hear me out here) while we want to please and respect him. Negative, non contructive comments wont help. We can respectfully ask what areas he wants dealt with first, and make the effort to get those done, even if its only 15 minutes a day but if je comments are hurtful and not helpful. It can wear us down. Our spouses feel hurt because they dont feel listened to or respected. And so they may lash out. Just focus on flylady routines, get at least 15 minutes done in an area that your husband likes to spend time in or wants to spend time in but cant because of mess. And dont be too hard on yourself.

      1. Anon M,

        It is possible to focus on people pleasing rather than God pleasing. It is possible to make our husbands’ feelings the most important thing in the world – and that is not a healthy place to be. Their feelings are important. We want to seek to honor them and respect them. If they would like the house to be more clean, we can see how much time we can give to that issue and we can teach our kids to help and devote the time we can to making the house welcoming and clean each day. Maybe 15 minutes after breakfast. 15 minutes after lunch. 15 minutes before our husbands come home. Younger kids can handle chores for 5-10 minutes. Older kids can handle doing chores for 30 minutes or longer at a time. With that many children, the kids will have to be given responsibilities. It’s good for them. It’s good for you. It will keep you from going insane.

        There are times when you are just not going to be feeling very well and you may have to pace yourself or depend more on the kids. That may have to be okay.

        You can teach the kids to do chores and to do them cheerfully. That can be a ministry to them and to your husband. But if you can’t keep the house completely immaculate, there may be some things you have to let go. You can still greet him at the door with a smile or smile as soon as you see him and give him a big hug. You can try to work especially on the top few things that mean the most to him. You can seek to listen to him and he may have some great advice about how to do things more efficiently.

        But you don’t have to absorb a lot of negativity. And you do have to have a reasonable expectation of what all you can do. You may not be able to do everything. You can take some baby steps toward greater organization and invite God to give you wisdom and a system that would work best for you. And you can have a discussion about the things that are truly the most important things that have to be the greatest priorities in your life and then prioritize your time from there.

        It is possible to be way too hard on yourself in this area, yes. If you have room to grow, take on an attitude of “I am going to learn how to do better managing time and recognizing which chores need to be done.” And then seek to use your time wisely and efficiently. And then let go of the things you are not able to do.

        Much love!

        Praying for you and your husband and family, Anon M and Sarah!

  10. The awesome thing about teaching your kids to take over the chores is that, eventually, they can do them on their own. You don’t even have to supervise at some point. After supper these days, I just let our 10 and 15 year old know that they are handling the dishes. They clear the table. They put the clean dishes away. They put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. They put the food away. They wipe the table down.

    Zero time involved from me.

    They also handle all of the garbage and recycling.

    They can dust or dust mop.

    They can clean bathrooms.

    They can help a ton with laundry.

    They can put their stuff away.

    They can even help with cooking meals.

    These are skills they both will need in the future. It is a good thing for them to have responsibilities. And it takes a lot of weight off of me now.

    🙂

  11. Another thing about doing chores with the kids – it doesn’t have to be drudgery. You can turn on praise music or songs that are about scripture and learn verses and sing together while you all work. It can be a very happy time. Or you can use that time that the older kids are doing the dishes to quiz them on their studies. You can get more than one thing done this way. And it might even be fun!

  12. Praise God, this is a wonderful post. My husband is that man, who likes a really clean and orderly house both in a spiritual sense & a physical sense. An area I’m still growing in, but I will say if one is seeking the Lords will, He can give us some amazing grace to submit to our men! I used to think I could never handle my husbands requests, but slowly I’m starting to realize when I think on his needs and the needs of others above my own, and don’t think on all I feel I deserve or should have, it is surprisingly easier on me! God can give us so much strength if we are truly wanting the strength to accomplish His will (by submitting to our husbands.) and I’ll say, when we make our husbands priorities OUR priorities, they may become more kind, tender hearted, appreciative & loving to us. My husband has so much more love for me once I started to try to maintain a cleaner house & cook good meals. These were things I previously thought I was above having to do, to my shame! He just started a new job & I excitedly offered to start making his lunches which I never used to do, but I think the eagerness he can see from me wanting to help him has blessed him. Just to encourage other women who like me may struggle here! God bless

    1. Ashley,

      Aw! This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing! I know your story will be a blessing to a lot of other ladies. When the Spirit is in control instead of self, it makes a huge difference! And when we have great attitudes, that makes a big difference in our marriages. ❤️💜❤️

      Love it!

  13. May I add one recommendation that helped us? When our girls were little, I read this idea: Group toys into five or six categories, place them in five/six boxes, and label each box with a day of the week! This worked SO WELL for our family!
    On Mondays, they played baby dolls.
    On Tuesdays, we took down the doll house & stuff (lots&lots of ‘stuff’ for the dollhouse!),
    On Wednesday, blocks & kinectic toys.
    Thursdays were hair styling toys and “big” dolls (American Doll-style dolls – any doll with hair!:))
    Fridays were the “Miscellaneous box” which had a few toy cars and trucks, a tractor, a racetrack, balls, jacks – anything!
    Each evening, the children put the toys all back in the box (or “no dessert!” 🙂 ). And the next day, the new box was brought down.
    Each night at bath time, we could hear the girls saying, “What day is tomorrow? Oh! It’s (baby doll, etc.) Day!” Our youngest knew her “toy assignment” days before she knew the days of the week! ;0)

    Now, our girls are 16 and 13. And, out of habit, they pick up their rooms each night without us even thinking about it. It’s a wonderful life-time habit!

    Blessings & Joy to you all, Busy Mommas!

    Much Love & abundance in Christ ~
    melissa b.

  14. I struggle with this! We are pretty young and have two kids. I have been trying so hard to change my attitude and not let my temper get the best of me! I was doing the dishes the other day ( which is hard because I have a twisted vertebrae) and my husband was telling me a story, I asked him to pack his snacks while he is telling me and he got really upset! He said I was being rude, but I felt he was being rude. We both misunderstand each other so much, I need physical help and he wants me to emotionally be there! I appreciate your blogs, they are encouraging even though we still struggle!

    1. Melanie,

      It sounds to me like neither of you were purposely rude. It sounds like you just have different expectations. Would it be okay with you if we hash through this situation together? I’d love to see y’all come to an understanding so that you don’t have to have this kind of unnecessary conflict.

      Much love!

      1. I would really appreciate the help! I mentioned that we should get some counseling and he’s not liking that idea at all. I keep trying to change myself and my attitude but I hit a rut is seems and I end up giving up. I just don’t want to give up on our marriage because we both believe marriage is for a lifetime and that’s what we are striving for.

        1. Melanie,

          So, the masculine world of respect is a very different place from our feminine world where we focus more on love. And because our culture has basically gotten rid of the concept of respect, many of us, particularly women, just aren’t very fluent in that language. We don’t even recognize what can seem disrespectful or respectful sometimes. I know I was that way for over 14 years in our marriage. I had no idea I was inadvertently being disrespectful a lot to my husband and to other people in my life, as well.

          One thing that can feel disrespectful to men, often, is to interrupt them when they are talking about something that is important to them. You may have just felt like you were trying to be efficient. You may have thought that you were just letting him know something really quickly and then he could continue the story. But to quite a few men, your husband is not alone in this, that situation would have felt disrespectful.

          I have to VERY purposely guard myself about this, too. Because my husband, when he does start talking, sometimes likes to tell long stories. And maybe I feel like I need to eventually get ready for bed while he is talking. I don’t want to interrupt him. I don’t want to stop him. But I may need to brush my teeth or go to the bathroom or something. But if I leave the room or interrupt, he may feel like I am not giving him my full attention.

          This particular issue is something that is easily resolved as you learn to understand his masculine perspective and how different it may be from yours. I have a number of posts on the topic if you are interested.

          Husbands Share What Is Disrespectful to Them
          Finding Out What Is Disrespectful to Your Man
          Signs Your Husband May Be Feeling Disrespected and Unloved
          What Is Respect in Marriage?

          If you would like me to help with some other issues, I’d be glad to seek to point you to the wisdom and healing of Christ. 🙂

          Neither of you are beyond His reach. His ways seem strange to us at first, but they lead to life.

          Much love!

          1. Melanie,

            It may be that when you both have a few minutes and are not exhausted or in a rush, you could gently, respectfully talk about this together.

            “Honey, I think I may have a better understanding of how I may have upset you one time. I didn’t realize how differently we think and how different our perspectives are. Is it possible that when I asked you to pack your snacks that you felt like I was interrupting you and you felt disrespected? (Let him answer.) I am SO sad that you felt disrespected by me. I never want to come across that way to you. How do you feel like I could have handled that situation in a way that felt respectful to you?”

            Then, if he is willing and able to articulate how he was feeling and what may have been better, thank him for sharing. Don’t get defensive. Don’t argue. Don’t tell him he was wrong to feel upset. Just listen. And let God begin to expand your understanding of your husband’s world.

            Then write it down. You now have a new piece to the puzzle to begin to work on. 🙂

            If he isn’t able or willing to share. I would be glad to help you hash through things and offer possible suggestions about how to handle things in ways that may feel more healthy and respectful to him.

            1. I do think I need to address it because when we hold it in after a fight it gets much worse later! I’ll talk to him tonight and use your suggestion. I can be very selfish and I know he is normally very open to talking to me but it’s gotten to where we both just explode! I think me apologizing will help him put his guard down. I appreciate your insight!!! I will try to be more mindful of the love vs respect aspect of his personality!

              1. Melanie,

                I think there is a respectful way to share what you need to share next time. I’m glad you are going to talk about it with him.

                Perhaps, if you know he is about to share with you – you could mention what you need to tell him before he starts the story? Or you could simply lay out some snacks and let him take the hint. Or you could pack them yourself if there is time. Or you could wait until he is done.

                But if you can talk about what approach he likes best, that would be awesome. Without being defensive. Just seeking to understand his perspective. 🙂
                Let me know how it goes!

                I have a number of posts about respect and disrespect that may be helpful.

  15. Hi April. I somehow stumbled upon your post this evening. My husband and I have been married for 33 years and currently, we are talking separation. We definitely have respect issues. I can say 100% that I have no respect for him and this is something he recently brought up in a text. I work full time for his company, working between 9-12 hours a day from my desk at home. He also works from home but normally only puts in 4-5 hours per day. All day long I am jumping up and down from my desk, working feverishly to do the laundry, clean the house, run errands, etc. He watches me and doesn’t lift a finger to help me. I’ve actually stood in front of him and pleaded with him to help me, only to have him tell him I’m not his (cuss word) manager. He leaves trash and messes all over the house, dirty dishes wherever he happens to be, and dirty clothes all over the floors. I have tried being nice. I’ve tried to reason. I’ve tried to tell him I’m overwhelmed and can’t do anymore and need his help. Nothing works. I’ve been in prayer asking God to change me and help me to be kind and loving but I just can’t deal with his disrespect to me any longer. Last week he even called me a Mulatto! I think my marriage is over because I’m just too worn out and frustrated to keep dealing with this man. What do I do??? How can I respect someone who cares so little for me and treats me like a slave?

    1. ( ´•︵•` ) I am so sorry. I have at least some understanding of how you are feeling. I know it hurts, and I’m sorry for your pain.

      April will have a better answer than I will, but I wanted to say this – You cannot Biblically divorce him for this. It seems like he is not saved, so this may fall under 1 Corinthians 7 and 1 Peter 3.

      It’s painful. You have to decide that you are living your life (especially where your husband is concerned) in obedience to God, regardless of whether or not your husband ever changes, and even then, it’s still hard.

      WhateEVER you do – do NOT go shoving Bible verses under his nose. Pointing out his sin, and his wrongdoing toward you is not going to do you a BIT of good. It will only backfire.

      Hang tough. I know it’s hard.

    2. Pamela,

      That sounds like a really tough situation.

      Would it be okay if I ask a few questions to get a better feel for what is going on?

      Then I would love to point you to the healing that is available to you in Christ!

      Much love!

Thanks for joining the discussion! Let's keep it classy and respectful. I'm so glad we can walk this road together.

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