12 Clever Ways To Deal With A Lazy Husband

Working On the Marriage | February 29, 2024 | , Expert Blogger
Updated On: February 29, 2024
lazy husband

“My husband does nothing around the house” — Some of our readers might jump in a chorus now: “Mine too!” Who thought you could bond over lazy husband stories someday? Laziness is a luxury that many husbands enjoy. Gender inequality in terms of household chores is due to the patriarchal upbringing of men, even in modern times.

You often hear relatives say, “Get the boy married, his wife will get him on the right track.” Ultimately, the wife becomes the rehab center for her husband’s selfishness. Studies show that the average men have to be 70% more active in housework to be as productive as average women.

If your husband sits around all day without bothering to do his part, you would certainly wonder how to motivate a lazy husband. The good news is, you don’t have to put up with this. There are ways to shake up the status quo and get him actively involved in running the household — We’re here to tell you how to do just that.

What Are The Signs Of A Lazy Husband?

After working long hours, wanting to spend time doing nothing concrete doesn’t make your husband a lazy man. It just means he needs a break for a day and that’s normal. However, prolonged unwillingness to work and lying idle for days can leave you thinking, “My husband is lazy and irresponsible.”

He may even come across as a selfish husband who displays a blatant disregard for your needs and expectations. One study shows that unfair and unequal distribution of household work is one of the main reasons behind dissatisfying marriages which increase the chances of divorce. So, if you do think you have a lazy husband ruining marriage, then you’ve come to the right place today.

There is a thin line between being laid-back and being lazy. But that line may be blurred to the extent of being non-existent in your husband’s approach to life in general and his role in the household in particular. In that case, the perception that “My husband is lazy and unmotivated” isn’t off the mark at all. For more clarity on which side of the laid-back and lazy divide he falls, pay attention to these tell-tale signs of a lazy husband:

1. He never runs out of excuses

You ask, “Could you dust the living room?” He says, “I think my allergies are acting up.” You say, “Will you drop Brian to school tomorrow?” To this, he responds instantly, “I have an early presentation.” Yes, this is what living with an unhelpful husband looks like. He would lie around all day like a couch potato and watch TV while you juggle several balls at the same time to keep the household functional and running.

The worst part is you will always find him with a ready excuse the minute you ask him to do something, like picking up the dry cleaning or just looking after the kids. And we don’t need to convince you of how dull these excuses are.

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2. He needs everything handed to him 24/7

The classic embodiment of this lazy husband syndrome would be Howard Wolowitz from Big Bang Theory. Remember how he just assumed his partner would do his laundry on the first day he moved in with her? We have all felt the frustration Bernadette had to go through for years of dealing with man-child signs. If you too feel like your husband is as demanding as your kids and needs constant attention from the minute he wakes up till when he is served dinner, you have a man-child for a husband.

3. He leaves a trail of mess everywhere

Clumsiness is among the telling signs of a lazy husband whose favorite sport is procrastination. Plus, he would barely finish a task he started. Naturally, his clumsiness is reflected in everything, right from his messy work desk to the way he arranges his closet and even his personal hygiene at times. If you often find yourself telling a friend that “My husband is lazy and irresponsible and I regret every time we try to share household chores,” you’ve got yourself a super lazy one who knows how to camouflage his laziness by being clumsy.

4. He is the least bothered about your needs

You know it’s always a one-way road with lazy husbands. Despite both of you having demanding jobs, you are the one who ends up taking care of him. When it comes to reciprocation, does he put in half the effort or even show enough gratitude? Hell no! In the mind of an idle, selfish husband, he is entitled to this kind of treatment from his wife, while doing the bare minimum in the relationship seems too much for him. He is oblivious to your needs let alone going that extra mile to make you feel special once in a while. No wonder you are so aggravated when you say, “I hate my lazy husband!”

Related Reading: How To Deal With A Lying Husband?

5. It’s always his work vs. your work

If you find your husband playing this particular male card every time you ask him to share tasks in the kitchen, it’s one of the symptoms of a lazy husband. By some inexplicable logic, his job, his deadlines, his promotions are all significant, and somehow yours are nothing but a hobby. Camilla from Long Island asks us, “Should I leave my lazy husband?” She shares her woes, “He makes me feel like I’m ignoring my wife duties by taking a full-time job. So the unsaid rule is that I have to tackle both. He has the audacity to expect that I would do all the cleaning and cooking after both of us had a long, toilsome day at work.”

my husband is a lazy parent
An idle husband might use his work as an excuse to avoid household duties

12 Clever Ways To Deal With A Lazy Husband

The active wife–passive husband equation is rocking the marital boat of several couples today. If your husband ignores you every time you ask him to pitch in, then you won’t be able to build a healthy marriage with so much discontentment kept inside, unless you figure out how to deal with a lazy partner real soon.

Most men would go to great lengths to make sure that they don’t lose out on the royal treatment they receive at home. So, as a wife, you have to take the first step to redefine the gender roles in household duties to make your married life more sustainable. Before you take a drastic step such as pack your bags and leave, let’s make an attempt to inculcate a sense of responsibility and accountability in him. Here’s what you can do to turn things around and do away with the annoying symptoms of a lazy husband:

1. Reason it out with him

A few days back, my friend Jen and I were talking about lazy husbands and she said, “My husband is lazy and selfish and just SO unmotivated that I absolutely can’t deal with it anymore.” I tried my best to calm her down, “Only open communication can save your marriage at this juncture. Have a one-on-one rational conversation, tell him how you feel, and lay out your expectations as clearly as possible.” You might have to deal with an angry husband after this, but you have to reason things out with him for a real shot at making your marriage better.

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 choked on his dirty socks that lay on the floor
  • You almost burnt yourself trying to multitask in the kitchen, even when he was around
  • If you are disgusted by the fact that “My husband expects me to serve him,” you have to convey these frustrations too
  • Just make sure you set realistic expectations and don’t sound too harsh, nagging, or sarcastic while talking to him

2. Make him your hero to help him recover from the lazy husband syndrome

“My unmotivated husband has no drive in life and doesn’t lift a finger to help around the house,” “I hate my lazy husband and I am this close to leaving him,” and “My husband is a lazy parent. I can’t even trust the kids to be safe with him.” If you relate to this series of conundrums, then think about trying this unique way. You can use reverse psychology techniques to trigger your man’s hero instinct and motivate him:

  • 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 actually need him)
  • Make him aware of all the positive changes that only he can make by simply ‘helping’ a little

To decode how to deal with a lazy spouse, you just have to come up with a few clever tricks, and the rest will fall into place eventually. 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. And who knows? This just might make him want to pitch in a lot more.

Related Reading: My Husband Is Moody And Angry All The Time – 13 Tips That Work On Cranky Husbands

3. Appreciation – Always, all the time

Recognition and gratitude can do wonders in your mission of getting your husband to help you out more at home. Constantly complaining about “My husband is lazy and doesn’t work” won’t bring any changes in your family dynamics. If by using a bit of praise, you can work things out with your lazy partner, then we don’t see why you shouldn’t try fixing it sooner rather than later. Just make sure you don’t make this a forever habit; it only needs to be done initially to get him started.

  • Start by getting him involved in small tasks at first
  • Once he finishes, appreciate your husband‘s efforts or thank him for lending a hand
  • You can also implement positive reinforcement strategies by awarding him with a treat of his choice such as his favorite meal or agreeing to watch a movie he really wants

We know it sounds like training a dog, but if it works, it works. You do need to stop doing this after he realizes the amount of work you unfairly have to do every day.

4. Set realistic expectations

As annoying as it is, this could be one way of tackling your lazy husband ruining your marriage. For a better understanding of how to deal with a lazy husband effectively, you may have to introspect a little. Do you think he will agree to do grocery shopping, laundry, and making breakfast all on day one? Do you expect him to do everything your way? Have you been re-doing his work because it wasn’t to your liking? Well, it may be time to lower your standards and expectations of him. Go slow toward your aim at creating a successful marriage.

This may be a little tough for you initially but if you wait it out, you will get your work done exactly how you want it. You just have to accept the inefficient work done by your husband in the early stages so that he learns and eventually completes the tasks properly. Once he realizes 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: That’s the secret to getting these lazy husbands involved in household chores.

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5. Avoid threatening your lazy husband

No matter how much your husband challenges your patience, try not to resort to intimidation or deadlines to get a chore done. It will only repulse him further. You shouldn’t have to threaten a grown man into performing his basic responsibilities in the relationship. Yet here we are today. We understand the temptation but try these approaches instead:

  • 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 better than you expected him to
  • Try using a more positive approach to push him to be more hands-on in the house

Yes, I understand the instinct to lash out when your husband sits around all day and doesn’t contribute in any way. But you will have to learn to rein in those instincts for a while. We hope he doesn’t give you another chance of shouting internally, “My husband is lazy and selfish. I’m tired!”

Related Reading: 20 Qualities To Look For In A Husband

6. Be feisty and firm

“Should I leave my lazy husband?” you wonder. If it has indeed come to this, then it’s time to be firm in your approach. You cannot be a pushover anymore. Don’t threaten a divorce so quickly but do show him that you might just walk out if he does not mend his ways soon. Whether you have a “My husband is messy and lazy” kind of situation or an even bigger stumbling block of “My husband is a lazy parent,” put your foot down and you will have your way. Remember, you might regret yelling and screaming at him.

  • Be tough and assertive wherever needed, without changing your tone
  • Don’t make the mistake of applying the strategy of raising your voice to discipline your kids to your husband as well
  • 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

7. Try some bonding activities

We know the last thing you want to do right now is bond with this lazy man-child when you are furious in your head that “My husband does nothing around the house.” But hear us out. Turning this whole journey into a bonding experience will shift his focus from how much work he is doing to looking forward to having this opportunity to spend time with you. It can be a great way to prevent his laziness from turning into a persistent bone of contention in the relationship. Try to bond with your husband like this:

  • Do things together like cleaning the house or cooking
  • As you have fun conversations and some meaningful discussions about your feelings and life experiences, it will develop emotional intimacy in your marriage
  • When you team up, chances are that he will be more forthcoming in taking on domestic responsibilities
  • You might go from struggling with “My husband is lazy and unmotivated” to a happier realization of “My husband may be lazy but he is learning to help”

8. Be flexible and open to new ways

You may have your way of doing certain things, which may even be the best, but once you assign a task to your husband, 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 after all. And we are afraid being bossed around might lead him to develop bitter feelings toward you.

Controlling women want things done their way only. Ditch that notion and try to relax. His way of doing things may be different but that doesn’t mean it’s all wrong. Bill Gates once said, “‘I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” So, if you are patient and keep an open mind, your husband might surprise you by getting actively involved in shouldering your burdens.

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 the future. Because the next time you complain “My husband is lazy and doesn’t work,” he’ll have the perfect comeback, “What’s the point when you’ll do it all over again anyway?”

He will always have the feeling that no matter what, he will not be able to meet your level of expectations, so it is best to stop trying altogether. The next day you will find your sloth husband back on the couch again. We must say you are not being very clever this way. Try to believe that he would improve, and show it too.

Related Reading: How To Choose A Life Partner – 12 Expert Tips To Find The Best Mate

10. Be considerate while dealing with your lazy husband

Consider the priority level of the job that you have assigned to your husband and try to see his point of view too. You can’t shift the blame to your husband for being lazy if you are overly efficient. Just because you have the habit of immediately washing a coffee mug right after you finish doesn’t mean your husband has to do the same.

  • The key to dealing with a lazy husband is learning how to delegate work
  • Once you’ve asked him to do something, keep reminding yourself that it is no longer your responsibility
  • Leave it to him to handle it, the way he sees fit
my husband is lazy and irresponsible
If he is making an effort, try to be considerate with him

11. Go on a holiday (without him)

Feeling clueless about how to deal with a lazy husband? Well, you could leave home for a few days. This is a drastic step but don’t make it sound so drastic. Tell him you are dying to go for that girl gang vacation or visit your aunt in the hills. If you suspect that your husband will strongly resist the idea, break the news to him after you’ve already done the trip planning and preparation. He won’t be able to discourage you from going considering that you have already put in so much effort (and money) into the trip.

According to a study, during family leisure or vacation, the responsibilities always fall upon women disproportionately which leaves them with little to no time for their own relaxation. On that note, this trip might offer you a much-needed break from the humdrum of life. Let him know that you are trusting him with the kids and the home duties and see if he can hold the fort without you for a while. We are sure that when you are back, you will see how much of a difference seven days without you made in his life. He might just rustle up a fancy meal to celebrate your arrival.

12. Divide all the work to make your husband more proactive

We can’t stress this enough! This is something you absolutely need to practice from day one. In fact, have a conversation before marriage to make sure you are on the same page. He should not expect that you would manage the home entirely on your own just because he is working outside. Whether you are a career woman or a homemaker, the chores should be divided accordingly. There are a few things you can do to streamline this process in daily life:

  • Laying down the duties and pinning them to the refrigerator is a great idea. In fact, studies show that writing down your goals helps your brain analyze and remember the tasks better which makes you more proactive in performing those tasks
  • You could get a few magnetic to-do list pads to stick on your refrigerator, and write down the division of household chores and errands on it every day
  • If the daily writing and erasing feels like too much work, consider getting a weekly planner instead
  • You can sit with your husband over the weekends to discuss what needs to be done during the next week and divide duties in consultation with him

Key Pointers

  • To get a lazy husband back on track, you need to communicate the inconveniences he is causing you
  • You may try to play with his hero instinct and apply certain positive reinforcement techniques to get your way
  • But be realistic with your expectations and start with one task at a time
  • Be firm in your approach so he knows there is no escape route
  • You can try turning it into a bonding experience and avoid bossing him around

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. That seems like a clever way of dealing with a lazy husband. All kidding aside, we think you should be concerned as soon as the very early signs of a lazy man kick in and not spoil him with love because it will come back and bite you in the back.

We are certain that with open communication, positive reinforcement, and a little team effort, you will come out with flying colors of this marital hitch. If you still think that things are not getting better and you need expert advice to show you the way, you must consider availing the benefits of couple’s counseling. Lucky for you, Bonobology has a fantastic panel of counselors that are only a click away.


1. Is laziness grounds for divorce?

Not traditionally, but we can see how having a lazy spouse can make things incredibly difficult in any marriage. Being a little laid-back is one thing. But if you are convinced that your spouse just does not care about you, is not even trying to help you, and shows no signs of changing, we can see why you might consider a divorce.

2. How do you motivate a lazy husband?

The first thing you can try is to talk to him. If you two often have good and clear communication in your relationship, this should not be a problem at all. If he doesn’t listen or understand, then you need to start being more firm with him about your expectations.

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Readers Comments On “12 Clever Ways To Deal With A Lazy Husband”

  1. “Assigne a task to your husband ” My husband call that CONTROLLING. Because he wants to be left alone the whole weekend watching tv. No family time. Then he says ‘ when are you taking us to the fair?’

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