Laziness in a marriage is not only frustrating, it can create resentment in a spouse who feels like he's doing all the work. Inaddition, that anger and disappointment can cause a breakdown in healthy communication. Balance is critical to a successful marriage. Both spouses need to feel as though they are valued and respected. Nipping laziness in the bud is a matter of both people being willing to work together for the sake of a healthy marriage.
Consider Your Own Motivations
Spend a little time reflecting on your own motivations for wanting your spouse to change her behavior. Consider whether inspiring a positive change in your wife's actions is your primary goal, or if it's really about being right, says certified mediator Kate Stewart, in "How to Motivate Your Spouse" for hitchedmag.com. If you find you're thinking increasingly negative thoughts about your wife, it's also likely you've indicated this to her through your behavior, suggests Stewart. Just as you would be less inclined to respond positively to someone who thinks little of you, it's probable that your wife won't be too enthusiastic about changing if your actions are condescending.
Confront the Issue
No matter how long you've been married, the relationship is always a work in progress. Don't be afraid to confront your wife about the laziness issue that's bothering you. Let her know that you'd like to work out a more balanced division of labor. Retired psychologist and media personality Dr. Phil McGraw in Fox News Magazine suggests treating the conversation like a negotiation. Talk to your wife about what you need, as well as what's important to you. Listen to her, in turn, when she tells you what's important to her and what she values about what you do.
Offer Positive Reinforcement
Many people in relationships spend a lot of time telling their partners what they don't want that person to do. It's just as important to be clear about the positives your spouse brings to the table, reinforcing positive actions with gratitude and appreciation, says psychologist Shawn Smith in an article for ironshrink.com. As necessary as it is to confront issues in a marriage, it's just as valuable to make a point of noting what's being done right. If your wife receives positive reinforcement for her actions, she is more likely to repeat them.
Get Some Perspective
Learn to check your anger when your wife helps, but not in the way you wanted her to, says Smith. Getting upset about how your spouse helps can result in a serious loss of perspective and can make the laziness issue seem much bigger than it actually is. So the next time she helps you clean the kitchen, but throws the bottles away in the garbage rather than recycling, consider how important it is to become upset. Then, thank her for helping, and decide to have a nice evening together instead.
A New York native, Carrie Stemke is an avid writer, editor and traveler whose work has covered many different topics. She has had a lifelong fascination with and love of psychology, and hold's a bachelor's degree in the subject. Her psychology research articles have been published in Personality and Individual Differences and in Modern Psychological Studies.
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