Recently my friend called me to ask, rather grimly, what would probably happen if she just killed her husband. Perplexed by her prodigious decision, I asked her to calm down first while a series of possibilities ran across my mind. I assumed infidelity as a possibility for her outburst, but the appalling reason, why she almost killed her husband, turned out to be his ‘laziness’. Her husband is, simply put, lazy.
Laziness is a luxury that most husbands enjoy, especially in India.
Her husband’s tardiness in getting things done had been infuriating her for quite some time now. Finally, all hell broke loose on that one day, when she was multitasking in the kitchen with the cooking and the baby and the doorbell and her husband kept calling her from the other room. She frantically enters the room only to find out that her husband was too lazy to switch on the lights and needed her assistance to do so. All I managed to say to this was, “No comments”.
Laziness is a luxury that most husbands enjoy, especially in India. Indian men spend a mere 19 minutes a day on housework, even when both spouses are working, says a report.
Gender inequality in terms of household chores in India is related to the patriarchal upbringing of men, even in the modern times. Surprisingly, even educated mothers tend to ignore the lackadaisical approach their boys have towards life. You often hear relatives saying “get the boy married and his wife will bring him on the right track”. Ultimately, the wife becomes the rehab centre for her husband’s lazy, selfish, unmotivated, idle life.
What are the signs of a lazy husband?
We all have our off days, when we feel like doing nothing at all. This doesn’t make your husband a lazy person; it just means that your husband is feeling lazy on that particular day and probably needs a break. However, prolonged unwillingness to work and lying idle for days together does qualify him to be a lazy person. There is a thin line between being laidback and being lazy.
- The extremely idle husband: If you find your husband with a ready excuse every time you ask him to do something, like picking up the dry-cleaning or paying a bill or just babysitting the kids, you definitely have a shirking spouse who is lazy. But if his laziness is accompanied by traits like being selfish, idle and unemployed, then this is a case of extreme laziness. In such a case, the wife has to take drastic steps to secure her future, as the idle unemployed husband can do no good to a marriage
- The boy-husband: If you feel your husband is as demanding as your kids and needs constant attention from waking up for work to serving food, in that case you have a boy-husband who is just grown physically. You will have to focus your anti-lazy parenting skills on him just as much as your kids
- Being clumsy: If you often find yourself regretting assigning any chore to your husband, then you are facing the clumsy husband who know how to camouflage his laziness with being clumsy. His motto is “Do everything in such a pathetic way that no one ever asks you to do it again”
- Being a selfish chauvinist: If you find your husband playing the male card every time you ask him to help you in the kitchen or with the kids, he is most likely trying to show his superiority while actually hiding his laziness. He probably thinks that arguing about a chore will discourage you from expecting help from him
- The sweet-talker: If your husband flatters you by saying “I can’t do it as perfectly as you do it” and regularly gets away with any chore delegated to him by sweet-talking, then you have a sugar-coated lazy husband. He can be so charming that you won’t even realise he is playing you
- The conveniently handicapped: Your husband gets blind occasionally and can’t find the baby’s bottle even after you have told him exactly where to look. He chooses to get deaf every now and then and say that “you never told me I have to take the garbage out every day”. He loses his memory quite often, especially regarding the errand he was supposed to run. He suddenly develops specific body aches depending on which body part he will have to use for the work you just mentioned. All these are sure symptoms of a lazy husband
Related reading: Five reasons why wives find husbands half as useful as a table lamp
10 clever ways to deal with a lazy husband
The active wife–passive husband equation is rocking the marital boat of several couples today. Primarily due to the changing scenarios at home, where we have the working wife who expects her husband to share the home responsibilities just as they are sharing the finances. Since no man in his right mind will make any efforts to change the royal treatment he receives at home in spite of his laziness, the onus to change the current situation again falls on the wife.
The wife is left with two choices; one is to take the extreme step of divorcing the sloth husband. Unfortunately, even if the wife decides to divorce her husband who is an extreme case of laziness, she will have to pay for maintenance according to Section 24 of the Hindu Marriage Act.
The second choice is applicable to the ‘not so hopeless’ case of husbands where the wife still has a chance of trying to inculcate a sense of responsibility and accountability in him.
1. Reason it out with him
Have a one-to-one rational conversation with each other. Point out all the practical inconveniences caused to you and the kids as a direct result of his laziness. Tell him how your toddler almost chocked on his dirty socks that lay on the floor. How you almost burnt yourself trying to multitask in the kitchen, even when he was around. Try to convey your frustrations and expectations, clearly telling him what you want him to do. Just make sure you don’t sound too harsh, nagging or sarcastic while doing so.
2. Make him your hero
Let him know that there are some things which only he can do for you. Ask him for help by handing over your superhero cape to him. Let him feel needed (even if you don’t). Make him aware of all the positive changes that only he can make by just by helping a little. Once he experiences how happy he can make you and the kids by doing a little more around the house, he will be tempted to keep his superhero image forever.
3. Lower your standards (and expectations)
This may be a little tough for you, but eventually, you will get your work done exactly how you want it. You just have to accept the haphazard work done by your husband in the initial stages only to prove that point that he has to complete that particular task. Once he realises that he can’t get away with it, he will do a better job the next time. You just need to have loads of patience.
4. Appreciation – always, all the time
Loads of appreciation works wonders in your mission of getting your husband to help you more at home. Just make sure you sound genuine and not fake while you compliment him on a job well done. You can show your appreciation by awarding him with a treat of his choice.
5. Avoid threatening
No matter how much your husband tries your patience level, do not resort to threats or deadlines to get a chore done. Give him ample chances and time to do the job his way. Once he is convinced that no matter how long it takes you are ready to wait for it to be done, he will do it. He might even surprise you by doing it even better than you expected him to.
6. Be feisty and firm
Be tough and assertive wherever needed, without changing your tone. You may think that raising your voice in getting your kids to do something may be applicable to your husband as well, but in reality it doesn’t work that well with kids and certainly not with your husband. So just be firm and let him know that there is no way out of the task assigned, period.
Related reading: 10 times your pet was better than your partner
7. Work on bonding
Try to bond with him while he is helping you at home. Try doing things together like cleaning the house or cooking and have deep conversations about feelings and experiences. This will shift his focus from how much work he is doing to looking forward to having these kinds of friendly talks.
8. Be flexible and open to new ways
You may have your way of doing certain things, which may even be the best way, but once you assign your husband to do a job, do not interfere in his work. Be flexible and accept his way of doing it. If you interfere, you might end up doing it yourself.
9. Avoid redoing anything that he has done
No matter how bad or messy the job done by your husband is, do not redo it immediately or in the presence of your husband. This is a sure-shot way to prevent him from doing that particular task in future. He will always have a feeling that no matter what, he will not be able to meet your level of expectations, so it is best not to do anything.
10. Be considerate
Consider the urgency and priority of the job that you have assigned to your husband and try to see his point of view too. You can’t blame your husband for being lazy if you are suffering from OCD. Just because you have the habit of immediately washing the teacup after you finish doesn’t mean your husband has to do the same.
Getting your husband to take on more is sometimes as good as taming a wild stud; you should know just when and how much he needs to be stroked and scratched before you handle the reins.