You come home from work, and the first sight that meets your tired eyes is that of your wife sprawled on the couch, watching TV.
You make your way to the bedroom, only to find a mountain of clothes concealing what you know is your bed. Famished, you enter into the kitchen to get some dinner – something that you have already stopped asking your spouse to do for you.
However, the pile of dirty dishes means that, unless you put on the washing gloves and turn to the dishwasher, you will not be able to eat any food. You hastily eat your food, because it will soon be time to put the kids to bed and you do not want them to go to sleep without drinking their milk.
Seeing your wife devoid of motivation and energy can be frustrating and worrying. It can often create rifts in a marriage, and eventually, lead to a marked reduction in any positive communication.
In this article, I will discuss some of the ways how to deal with a lazy wife and encourage her to change her ways.
1. Talk to her
Of course, before you can do anything about her lethargy, you have to figure out the reason behind it. Is there a particular reason that she is acting the way she is? Try and find that reason out without sounding accusatory or harsh. You could say something like, “You have always been so full of energy and enthusiasm, and I want to help you regain that vitality.”
Sometimes, a lack of motivation can even stem from mental illnesses, such as anxiety or depression – and, speaking from personal experience – it is not pretty. If you fear that your wife is having mental health problems, you need to be with her and encourage her to seek professional help as soon as possible.
2. Lead by example
It is often easy to notice others not fulfilling their responsibilities, but it is harder to turn that same critical eye inwards. Household chores are not your wife’s sole responsibility, and you are required to chip in almost as much as her – even if she is a housewife and you are the family breadwinner.
As head of the family, you should be establishing an example for your wife and kids (if any) to follow. For instance, you could do your dishes as soon as you have had a meal, or volunteer to buy the groceries whenever you can. Remember, words are heard, but actions are noticed and felt and – most importantly – replicated. So, seeing you rise to the occasion will hopefully motivate your wife to follow suit.
3. Stay consistent
Sure, you might have made the grandiose announcement of helping around the house. However, if household work is not something that comes naturally to you, you might find it terribly hard to follow through on your promise.
So, if you want to really make a positive difference for your wife, you have to stick to your word. Even when things get hard, do not go back to your old ways, and do not let your wife do that either. Stay on track, keep moving, and make sure that your wife is right by your side.
4. Ask for her help
Yes, you have to help her out with household chores, but you can – and should – also ask for her help when you need it.
For instance, if it is your turn to do the laundry, but you need to head to an urgent work meeting, a simple “Hey, darling, can you please do the laundry for me?” will go a long way in elevating her motivation. Why? Because you are counting on her, and it will make her feel important and valued.
Also, since your wife will notice that the two of you are sharing the burden of household work, she will be more inclined to do her bit. The idea of work will not bog her down because she would know that she does not have to deal with it all by herself anymore.
5. Start working out together
Exercising is an excellent way to help your wife find her energy, but it will be even more effective if the two of you are working out together.
Now, exercising does not necessarily mean that you have to hit the gym for a couple of hours, five days a week. Even a twenty-minute walk around the neighborhood can get those endorphins going. A lot of couples also sign up for kickboxing or yoga classes. What is better than improving your health while getting to spend quality time with the woman you love?
There are plenty of exercise routines that you can also perform at home, such as squats, pushups, pullups, or other calisthenic workouts. The important thing is to stay consistent with workouts, even if you are doing it just a couple of times per week. The mental and physical benefits for you, and more importantly, for your wife, will be immense.
6. Support her
When someone enters into a lethargic slump, it could be hard for them to snap out of it by themselves. Yes, it is natural for you to want an overnight change in your wife, but that is not how these things work.
It is also wrong for you to assume that your wife should go back to normal just because you have made a couple of changes yourself. She will gradually find her motivation and energy, and your support during this phase will prove to be a real catalyst.
When you see her making progress, appreciate her. On the days that she feels down and out, be her shoulder to cry on. To see her husband being loving and understanding will just act as added motivation for your wife to get back to her old, enthusiastic self.
7. Communicate the negative consequences of her (lack of) actions:
Now, this in no way means that you tell her, “Start getting stuff done, or you can walk right out of this house”.
What you need to do is bring to light how her inactivity and lack of motivation is affecting the entire family’s mood. If you are parents, it is likely that your kids are worrying seeing their mother suddenly so void of any energy or vigor. It is likely that your wife’s mood is already volatile, so choose your words cautiously.
8. Adapt ways that your wife prefers
When trying to get your wife back on her feet (literally and figuratively), remember what works best for her. If she is more efficient when she has a to-do list, help her out with that. If you think that planning is her forte, allow her to plan, for example, your budget or a weekend outing.
The key is to let her walk the way she knows best. You might think that imposing your own procedures will get the job done quicker, but it will not achieve the core purpose, which is helping your wife get back to normal. If you are unsure about what your wife would prefer doing, nothing is stopping you from sitting down with her and figuring it out.
9. Make her feel loved
It is possible that your wife does not feel good about herself, and when that happens, it is very easy to feel gloomy and unenergetic.
Maybe she has gained a bit of weight or has a few wrinkles around her eyes, and she feels that you might stop loving her the way you did. Making your wife feel loved and beautiful, and appreciated is your utmost obligation as a husband. Compliment her every chance you get. Bring flowers for her when she is least expecting it. Give her that sweet, loving, understanding glance when she is sat across from you in a room full of people.
You probably do not realize this, but perhaps your complacency and taking her for granted is what caused her to fall into that bottomless pit of laziness. Start valuing her for all that she is and has done for you.
10. Improve your sex life
Generally, the better your sex life, the better your marriage. However, sex can also help boost your wife’s self-esteem, leading her to be more active and stimulated – not to mention that sex is an excellent form of exercise and can help you burn a lot of calories, especially if you know how to engage your core.
Try and find some time in the week to get intimate with your wife, even if it is just once or twice a week. Now, we are not saying that sex is the silver bullet that will magically solve your wife’s laziness issues, but it is certainly going to help.
11. Consider couples counseling
If you think that nothing is helping, it might not be a bad idea to find a couple’s counselor. They might help you address the problem and perhaps provide the roadmap to solving it.
Counseling will assist your wife in pinpointing any personal problems that might be contributing to her behavior, but it will also bring up some issues in your relationship that need addressing. Once you can identify the root cause, you can come up with the best way to eliminate it and get your normal life back.
However, remember that counseling takes time to produce results, which means that you should…
12. …be patient
It is vital to remain patient, both with counseling and your wife. Of course, your wife’s struggle will mean a great deal of additional burden on you but remember that you did make the promise of staying with her through thick and thin. You knew that marriage would not be a bed of roses, but you did not mind the difficulties as long as it meant being with the person you love.
When your wife is close to giving up, keep her motivated and uplifted. If she needs your help, give it to her without complaining. Remember that she is the most important person in your life, and when she is in trouble, everything else takes the back seat.
Parting words – work with the right objective
Your purpose behind doing all of the above should not be to hurt your wife in any way.
It is important to remember that the person you are dealing with is the love of your life. I mention this multiple times throughout the article because we often tend to forget this fact while we are going about trying to solve our wives’ problems.
Inadvertently, we start turning selfish, thinking that we are the only ones putting in the work while our spouses are either fast asleep in bed or lazing in front of the television.
I am not saying that you are wrong; I am just asserting that focusing on yourself is not going to get you or your wife out of this mess. Remember that she is not a burden on you, and making her feel that way is not going to do much good.
So, instead of calling her out with a, “Get up from that sofa and help me out with the cleaning”, you could go with, “The earlier you finish your work, the more time you can spend with the kids”. Change her mindset. Incentivize her, instead of threatening or belittling.
Marriage – like nothing else in life – teaches us what it means to live for someone other than ourselves. Instead of making it all about yourself, take the time out to understand why your wife is behaving the way she is.
Know that, even though she might appear ‘lazy,’ it is probably not voluntary, and there is a deeper issue to be addressed. Only by fighting her fights with her can you hope to bring her back to the passionate and energetic woman she was when you fell in love with her.
I hope that this article will help you help your wife in regaining her lost energy, strength, and purpose.