Your husband is a good guy – sweet, supportive, kind – but he has no motivation to do anything. You feel bad even thinking that your husband is lazy…but the truth is that he has no ambition or motivation to do anything. He doesn’t do much around the house or yard, or even with the kids. Maybe he works hard at his paid job, but he spends all his energy there and brings nothing home for you. You are not alone if you feel like you have hardly any energy to do your own work, much less figure out how to motivate a lazy husband!
“My husband is not abusive or bad, but he just seems like he is existing,” says Maryanne on 5 Ways to Stop Feeling Alone in Your Marriage. “He isn’t making the money he used to make so he is just there. No motivation, no drive, not like the man I used to know when we first fell in love. Do I wait around for him to get back on the wagon, or do I keep it moving? I’ve invested time and money. I put in applications for him to get jobs and go to school. I paid for his school. I’m trying to be there but I just have become too frustrated and TIRED!!”
Last week, a friend said something similar about her marriage. “I’ve had it up to here with my husband” she said. He’s a sweetheart, but he hasn’t had a job since she’s known him. They’ve been living together for 12 years, and he’s never had money or a job. He wants to be a musician, and he spends all his time working on his music. Since he’s over 55, it’s not likely he’ll hit it big as a rock star! My friend didn’t call him a “lazy husband” – and maybe she doesn’t think of him as lazy. But he definitely has no motivation to do anything but play with his music and let her support him financially, socially, and in every other way.
How Do You Motivate a Lazy Husband?
If you’re not married but you’re in a relationship with a guy who might be dragging you down, read If Your Boyfriend Isn’t Motivated, Will He Drag You Down? You’ll be especially interested in the comments section; many girlfriends seem to be dating men who aren’t ambitious or motivated to do anything but play video games and hang out online.
Wives, how do you decrease laziness and sloth in your husbands at home? To be honest, I don’t know. I have no idea how to motivate your husband! It depends why he’s lazy, what your relationship with him is like, and what you’ve been allowing him to get away with. Let’s start there.
1. Start with someone you can change
You can’t change your husband, but you can learn different ways to encourage and reward him to pick up the slack at home. This requires work on your part: noticing when your husband does something helpful, and praising him for it. It sounds a little like parenting, doesn’t it? But positive conditioning and a reward system is an effective way to groom good behavior in people. And pets. Motivating a lazy husband won’t happen overnight, but it can be done.
Read the The Self-Centered Marriage: The Revolutionary ScreamFree Approach to Rebuilding Your “We” by Reclaiming Your “I.” I love this book because it teaches us that focusing on our own behavior, choices, and moods (which we can control) rather than our husband’s (which we can’t control) is the first step toward creating a healthier marriage.
2. Get objective feedback about what you can do
I’m not a marriage therapist, but I have read lots of books about relationships. I’ve also been married for 15 years! Sometimes my husband calls himself lazy, but I don’t think he is. Sure, he likes to watch tv and would love to sleep a Sunday away. Who wouldn’t? If I truly thought my husband suffered from serious bout of laziness and sloth, I would get external help. I would talk to someone who could give me personal, specific advice on how to motivate my husband to do what I need and want him to do around the house.
Who can you talk to? The reason it’s important to get individual advice – even if it’s not from a marriage counselor – is that your husband’s personality is unique. What might work for my husband wouldn’t work for yours. That’s why even writing a blog post offering tips on how to motivate a lazy husband seems ludicrous! But I want you to see that you aren’t alone, and that you can find ways to build a healthier marriage.
3. Consider your husband’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health
Sometimes we mistake emotional, spiritual, or spiritual health issues – such as depression or a physical condition – for laziness. If your husband is struggling with from clinical or serious depression, he’ll find it extremely difficult to go to work, do chores, engage in hobbies, or find motivation to do interesting things in life. I don’t know if you have a depressed husband or a truly lazy husband, but it’s important to think about the possibility that his mental or emotional health is affecting his behavior.
Help your husband get healthy, but remember that you can’t change who he is. Reading books about marriage, motivating lazy men, and communicating with a husband who is unwilling or unable to change may help…but there is no guarantee your husband will become less lazy. You can’t change him. You might do and say all the right things, but even a professional psychologist or counselor can’t change a lazy husband unless he wants to change.
If you suspect something is “off” with your husband, read How Do You Help an Unhappy Husband?
4. Accept your husband for who he is
The more you try to motivate your husband up to be less lazy and more active, the lazier he’ll get. He’ll withdraw and resent you. We fall into patterns in marriage (and most relationships) – some counselors call it a dance. You say this, he says that. You move that way, your husband moves this way. The key to re-setting a marriage is to break the patterns. How you do that depends on the pattern and what you’re willing to do to change it.
How do you make your husband want to be less lazy? You could find out what motivates him. This is difficult but doable. If you want to encourage your husband to pick up the slack, you might learn ways to “trick” him into wanting to change. What is important to him? What does he want, and how can you connect that with the things you want him to do? Talking to a counselor or wise friend – and reading books like Screamfree Marriage – will help you.
5. Decide how you will live with a lazy husband
As much as you’d love to, you can’t change your husband. You can learn tips and strategies from marriage books and relationship blogs, but you can’t change who he is. People can and do change, but it’s hard. Even people who want to change have a hard time changing! When was the last time you changed? What habit have you recently broken, and why? Whether it was spending less money on organic food or trying something new at work, I’m sure it was difficult.
Your husband may never change…and it’s up to you to decide if you can live like this for the rest of your life. The only person you can change is yourself, your expectations, your dreams, and your goals. You can learn how to be happy with or without your husband doing anything different.
If your husband is stressing you out, take Dr Oz’s Marriage Stress Test for Couples. Maybe your husband isn’t as bad as you think!
How are you feeling? Your thoughts – big and little – are welcome below.