Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash
Photo by camilo jimenez on Unsplash

Absent Father


My husband and I both work full-time. But when he gets home, he immediately changes clothes and parks himself in front of the TV. Meanwhile, I start supper, help the kids with their homework, clean up the dishes, and do the other chores. I’ve asked him to help, but his response is, “I need to unwind. I worked hard today.” And I didn’t? I’m tired of not having any downtime—and of my husband not helping around the house. How can I get him to start helping out?


A lot of research shows many men don’t do their fair share of work around the home. In the average home, women are spending about an hour more than men in taking care of the family and the house. That ends up being bad for you, bad for your husband, and a lousy model for your kids. And it falls far short of the servanthood standard Christ modeled for us. You have good reason to be disappointed, frustrated, and upset.

A great starting place is to make a list of all the household and parenting tasks. Include chores inside and outside of the house—yard work, car maintenance, running errands, and chauffeuring the kids. For a two-week period track who does what and approximately how much time it takes.

With those facts in hand, arrange some uninterrupted time when you can share your findings and ask him where he plans to step up in ways that honor both of your needs and gives your kids the kind of model they need.

Let him know his family needs a real man. Real men don’t just show up, they step up. Real men don’t let their wives do the majority of the work and whine when asked to do something. Real men want to model for their kids that marriage is more than just bringing home a paycheck. In fact, coming home from “work” is when the real work—as well as the real honor and privilege of being a husband and father—begins.

If he needs to “unwind,” I’ve found that doing dishes can be a great way to relax.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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