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I am looking for help for my wife. I love her and I want to nip this in the but before it's the end of us.

A little about us: We have 2 kids. The oldest is our daughter; at 3 and 1/2 and growing-older-by-the-minute she is very exited to learn and has a huge imagination at her fingertips. And our son is a little over 11 months to date and seems like he's growing up faster than our daughter did.

I am 22 and my wife is 23, which means we got pregnant in high school. Obviously not the best of ways to go in this world but I wouldn't trade our kids for the world. We had our daughter for about 6 or 7 months before we got married.

I work at a Stanley Steemer franchise and make just enough money to be able to be on state help. She is a stay-at-home mom and is going to junior college online. This is currently her first semester.

Our problem: well, it's hard to put in one or few words. I love her with all my heart and I want to work this out before it becomes the end of our marriage. And keep in mind while reading this: I don't want to make her sound like the scum of the earth or even like a bad parent. She just... well, lets just say hasn't had the best of childhoods. That being said she has a problem. She doesn't clean the house and needs to pratice better hygiene with our kids. The house will at times have dishes all over, dirty laundry laying every, trash upon trash piled up, toys everywhere, and even clean clothes everywhere. I would say that at some times the house would be considered "unlivable" and that if the state would come in to our house the state would take our kids away. Here's how it will go, I will clean and i will make her help me, and we will have the house clean from top to bottom, and the next day it would look the same as before. And then I will ask her to pick up just a little, maybe gather all the dishes to one spot, maybe to just put the dirty and clean clothes in piles, just one thing at a time. This will go on for about a week or two and then I will help her clean. But at some times it will get so bad that I just kinda have a mental break down. This is something I am not proud of at all. I wish I could control myself better, but living in a trashed house for a month kinda takes a tole on you. So I will do something horrendous. I've been know to throw stuff around, I've even flipped the dinning room table once. I have never laid a hand on her or my kids though, just to make that clean. I don't thing I could live with my self. But i will go lay down for a while and kinda just think about nothing for a few hours, get up, apologize, and continue on with what we were doing.

Now our marriage is good except for this. Our love life is amazing and always exciting. I will randomly come home with a rose and box of chocolates "just because". She is an amazing wife, she takes care of me and the kids (actually probably babies me and takes care of the kids lol) and we constantly tell each other how much we love each other.

Now as I have mentioned that she hasn't had the best childhood and I can guarantee that this isn't the way she had imagined her life. So I am guessing that she is not happy about where she is in life. She's not exactly thin and we constantly have struggles for money, as we all do. So this has to be a lack of motivation from not living a great life. She has hinted towards this in some of our past fights.

So my question is, how do I motivate her, show her how an amazing wife, and give her some time away form the kids when I am working 6 days a week?

She does like to read so are there any books or magazines that is all about mothers and/or women? Please keep in mind that we are not the richest of people. Thank you so much for all of your help in advance.
 

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You're on gov't assistance and your handle says you're in the US--presumably you're on Medicaid or Medicaid-plus? If I'm not mistaken Medicaid/Medicare are actually better or more flexible at providing coverage for mental health than many private insurers.

Anyway, if she's had a "bad childhood", individual counseling sounds like the way to go. It sounds silly b/c otherwise it sounds like you have a healthy marriage and "my husband says I don't do the dishes" sounds like a tiny, tiny issue, but there's probably more crap there. A lot more, by way of "bad childhood".

And you need to calm down. Easy to say, right?

First off, you can't do that with kids around. You just can't. It's not okay. They already live in a dirty house, which might not be a problem, but when you are upset, the kids really want you not to be but can't do anything about it. They also know that they can't do anything about the dishes. They're scared and concerned, about your anger, and about the mess. They end up having to feel like 'parents' inside when in truth they're both little and need to be parented--there's nothing they can do. And they're too small to help. If they were older, I think you'd already have a solution on your hands, but until then...

*You* are going to have to take responsibility for that anger. Yes, you have the right to expect a clean house, and no, you can't enable your wife's negligence, but you're going to have to do something. Step one is probably helping your wife go into counseling of some sort. You do the dishes while she calls counselor's offices, or looks for pro bono treatment. Clean up while she's in counseling, or something--if you're doing that work, she has to do work, too, and understand the terms of the arrangement. I'm not either of you so you two have to figure it out, my advice could backfire.

Also unless you can't afford soap and water not feeling motivated isn't an excuse that justifies things, it's just an explanation, so, you can acknowledge the reality of that but you still have a problem. The cure for lack of motivation is... Doing anything! It's amazing how after you do dishes for three minutes, you'll do them for ten.

You're doing a lot, too, and that's commendable, and w/ two little kids, I'm sure your wife is, too. But you need a little more structure and self-awareness for her--and you, too.

In the meantime: baby steps. Have your wife keep a log of how many dishes she cleaned. Zero today? Okay. Two tomorrow? Great!

I really don't know all that much about what I'm talking about here. My wife is not a fantastic cleaner, and neither am I, though I have started cleaning a lot for the hell of it, it helps me be more 'intentional' about stuff.
 

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I agree with less_disgruntled.

clean.

You are probably both very busy and stressed. Its hard for either of you to do.

Be the bigger person, take the lead, and clean. Have your wife to other chores (the kids) to make it more even if she isn't good at those chores.

My household really only works if I do the laundry and dishes and my wife does other chores. It was a HUGE issue when she was cleaning and I was constantly on her about it. Me keeping up with and being in charge of day to day cleaning is an enormous deal in our marriage, and has made things much better. my wifes love language is acts of service, so its not altogether that surprising.

Your wife will probably always be terrible at cleaning and cleaning is VERY important to you. You will have to work around that. Make cleaning your job and have her do something else.

Your wife loves you and your sex life is great. Make this work. It is hard. Especially since you got married, had kids young, and have previous baggage.

Best of Luck

Edit: Sacrifice 30 min or an hour a day of cleaning even if she can't do anything in return in terms of chores. Do it for your marriage, and you will both be happier. The only thing she may do in return is love and appreciate your more (and there will probably be more sex), so its not all bad to do more chores than your wife.
 

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I also agree. It ends up being a little one sided for you to be working out of the house plus picking up the household cleaning but for your sanity and your marriage, I don't think this is a huge thing to do.

If the home is kept in a very clean state for an extended period of time, this may motivate her to work at keeping it that way too.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the advice. I have been working hard for the last couple of days at getting the laundry done and actually put away as apposed to putting it in piles to be "later" put up. I am making more of an effort to help. Hopefully this works.
 

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I'm really glad to hear this. Keep this up. It will take a bit to dig out of the mess.(when my wife and I put our minds to it, it can take a lot of work over a weekend of work to clean until she is happy) Feel free to ask any more questions as it goes.

My wife needs to have the house a lot cleaner than I do, and she has been very stressed at her social work job. I have cleaned 75% or more of the house and made dinner and cleaned up ever night this week. Its a sacrifice I make towards our marriage and happiness. I easily put 6 more hours a week into chores and other various household tasks than she does currently. She will help more when she finds a new job, but that unfortunately may take months. I have talked about this with her a few times. She is willing to spend 10-20 minutes on my physical needs a few times a week, which are very important to me.

The moral of my story: do chores first, and your wife feels loved and appreciated make you happy later. I currently feel loved and appreciated, which my wife wouldn't be able to do without feeling supported and that she is living in a clean and orderly home.

Best of luck.
 
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