I’ve heard plenty of women complain they’re the last person on their husband’s list for doing things. He’s fast to help others with what they want but ignores the growing “honey do” list at home. He’s working his butt off for others, so it’s not about being lazy. Why won’t he do things for his wife when everyone else gets his help?
There are a few primary reasons for this:
He’s A Pleaser
Some people have a need to please others. I don’t mean a healthy desire to be helpful, I mean a need that pushes them beyond reasonable bounds. One of the bounds that gets pushed is making time for those closest to him. Just as he will sacrifice his own time and needs for the sake of others, he will sacrifice the time and needs of his family for others.
One of the things that makes it difficult is he was this way when you fell in love with him, and it’s likely part of what attracted you to him. So asking him to change is asking him to stop being something you once found attractive. Fixing this requires him dealing with why he needs to be needed, and this isn’t something you can help him do. Finding a healthy balance is likely going to require him getting some professional help.
He Gets Appreciation from Others
During our travel this last year, we spent some time with a family where the wife expressed to us that she felt her husband was there for everyone else, but not her. He was the go-to person for anything needed at church, and many church members and neighbours reached out for his help. He was able to do almost anything and was quick to help with car repairs, fix up jobs, or lending a skilled hand or strong arm.
However, we saw him do plenty for his wife and family too. There was a huge list of things to be done at their place, and it seems his wife could only see what hadn’t been done. It’s as if the compleated jobs didn’t matter because there were still things not done. And frankly, he will never be done because jobs keep getting added and some things have to be redone every few years.
Our best guess is this fellow never hears a real “thank you” from his wife. She may say the words on occasion, but I doubt he feels she appreciates his efforts. In contrast, when he helps others he is praised both privately and publically. I’m not suggesting it’s okay to work for acclaim, but human nature is to do those things that are praised and avoid doing things for someone who seemingly can’t be pleased.
If this is the reason your hubby isn’t doing as much as you want, the solution is all about you. You either need to learn to show real appreciation or you need to set more reasonable standards for what he should be getting done. (And probably some of both are required.)
He’s Being Passive/Aggressive
He’s upset about something in your relationship and not giving you what you want or need is his way of protesting. He may have expressed the issue for a while and then given up because he saw no change or he may never have openly complained or asked for a change. Either way, his inaction is about something unrelated and his unwillingness to fight it out about that thing.
If you know the real issue, you might be able to resolve things by talking through the issue. Or, if what he wants is reasonable just do it. If you don’t know what he wants you can ask but that’s not likely to work. This is another situation where professional help may be needed.
None or All of the Above
Of course, there are other reasons a man helps others but doesn’t help at home, and some men do this for a combination of reasons. But the three given here are very common and the place to start looking if your hubby is this way.
~ Paul – I’m XY and my wife has learned how to make me feel appreciated.