How to get your husband (or wife) to help out more

Here’s how real moms got their husbands to pitch in and remember as much as they do.

This is how it should be, ladies.

At any moment in time, most working moms could recite dozens of tasks that need to get done, from replenishing the paper towel stash to booking long overdue haircut appointments for the kids to sending a birthday card to dear Aunt Sharon. That’s our mental load. But ask a dad what needs to get done, and you might be met with silence. “Women don’t need to be reminded to think about their kids or relationships because that’s what they have always learned to do—be empathic, be nurturing, be sensitive,” says Brandon Miller, Ph.D., an assistant professor of communication at the University of Massachusetts-Boston who specializes in gender studies. “It isn’t that men can’t be these things, but it isn’t always their first instinct because they are taught that they should be driven, competitive and self-focused.”

Since women are battling against years of conditioning, we can feel hopeless that our guys will ever remember to do more that benefits the whole family. We all want our husbands to help out more without having to nag them. But the wives below have found success with getting their husbands to do what needs to be done—without asking (more than that first time, anyway). Try their tricks on your spouse to lighten your mental load and help out more.

1. Make lists. “They make him feel successful. I write out things that nag at me, but that he could easily do without my needing to follow behind him and clean up after him such as: Take out garbage every night, look behind himself after showering and pick clothes up off the floor, empty dishwasher in the morning before work while waiting for coffee to brew. Honestly, it’s the little stuff that is a big help.” —Mary Herrington, Boston

2. Get him to admit when he has bandwidth to do more. “I will ask him, honey, are you able to take a load off of me this week? Sometimes, he really can’t. He has big presentations to prepare for. But when he can, see #3.” —Mary Herrington, Boston

3. Put him in charge when you’re down for the count. “When I was pregnant with my second and had hyperemesis gravidaram, he definitely learned to be more helpful. Since I was so sick, I would cry to him and say please either take our daughter somewhere or deal with her alone when I get home. Since then, I haven’t really had to ask for help.” —Kristie Cafiero, Ramsey, NJ

4. Give him an ultimatum. “Our firstborn was maybe a year old, and I had enough of doing it all, so I showed my husband his suitcase and told him that I wasn’t his mother, I’m Alex’s mother, and enough is enough. He could either stay and be a parent and husband, or he could go. Since then, he has done his part with the kids, the house and dinner.” —Laura Rensen, Welland, Ontario, Canada

5. Flash him “the look.” “He works hard all day, but he comes home and just has to look at my face to determine whether I need him to swoop in. Sometimes I have to direct him (‘brush Luca’s teeth,’ ‘feed Noah some soup’) if I want something specific done, but overall he takes initiative.” —Sarah Pampillonia, Staten Island, NY

6. Don’t criticize his work. “My husband loves to cook, so he is now in charge of keeping the kitchen clean. Sure, sometimes I would like to give it a scrub-down when he doesn’t clean it as well or as often as I might, but I try not to think about the kitchen anymore. It’s about taking ownership, which sometimes means giving it up.” —Ashley Womble, New York City

7. Play up his strengths. “Mine is a meal-planning whiz. He always seems to have a mental catalog of what’s ‘in stock.’ I think it comes from doing bar inventories for so long. I don’t need his logistical brainpower for much else.” —Ellie Martin Cliffe, Milwaukee, WI

8. Make him the master of his domain. “I find you have to give your husband a responsibility that’s all his, 100 percent. For my husband, among other things, it was signing up the kids for sports teams and making sure that all the arrangements around those were in place. I never got involved, so it was clear to him that he couldn’t expect me to pick up any slack.” —Deborah Skolnik, Scarsdale, NY

9. Just don’t do it. “I have found success with dashing to the bedroom closet and shutting the door behind myself when I hear our daughter wake up in the middle of the night. It’s not asking. It’s not telling. It’s just leaving him to deal with the situation however he wants.” —Diane Ross, Brooklyn, NY

10. Give him credit where credit is due. “We wives have to be honest with ourselves: Are there areas where our husbands assume the mental load, but we are oblivious? It’s easy for me to complain if my husband doesn’t put out the garbage, but before I do, I ask myself what else he might be doing that I never even think about, like handling the house/insurance bills, yard work and replacing the brake pads on the car.” —Deborah Skolnik, Scarsdale, NY

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How to get your husband (or wife) to help out more

A favorite book that I like to return to is The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. I cannot think of a better resource next to God’s Word in preparing women for marriage. The Excellent Wife is saturated with Gods’ Word and biblical principles for every topic.

Martha Peace addresses the heart issues and how our thoughts, actions, and attitudes reveal what is in our hearts. I appreciate that she is not just trying to transform our outward behavior but brings us back to God who is the only One that can change our hearts.

Related Articles: Marriage Podcast Series

Eighteen Ways a Wife May be the Glory of Her Husband
1. Ask your husband, “What are your goals for the week?”
2. Ask your husband, “How can I help you to accomplish these goals?”
3. Ask your husband, “Is there anything that I can do differently that would make it easier for you?”
4. Be organized with cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry, and cooking. As you fulfill your God-given responsibilities your husband is then free to do his work.
5. Save some of your energy every day for him.
6. Put him first over the children, your parents, friends, job, ladies’ Bible studies, etc.
7. Willingly and cheerfully rearrange your schedule for him when necessary.
8. Talk about him in a positive light to others. Do not slander him at all, even if what you are saying is true.
9. Do whatever you can to make him look good, to accomplish his goals. Some examples are offer to run errands for him, organize your day to be available to help him with his projects, pray for him and make good suggestions. Give him the freedom not to use your suggestion, and do not be offended if he does not follow it.
10. Consider his work (job, goals, hobbies, work for the Lord) as more important than your own.
11. Think of specific ways that you can help him accomplish his goals. Examples are get up early in the mornings to help him get off to work having had a good breakfast, take care in recording telephone messages for him, anticipate any needs he may have in order to attain a specific goal, and keep careful records of money spent to keep up with the budget.
12. Consider the things that you are involved in. How do they glorify your husband? Ask his guidance.
13. Be warm and gracious to his family and friends. Make your commitment to him obvious to them.
14. Do and say things that build him up instead of tear him down.
15. Dress and apply your makeup in an attractive manner that is pleasing to your husband.
16. When you husband sins, reprove him privately and gently, always giving him hope and pointing him to the Lord.
17. Encourage him to use his spiritual gifts in ministry.
18. Realize that just as God is glorified when man obeys Him, your husband is glorified when you obey your husband.

“The question always comes up, what if your husband is not a Christian? What if he is not glorifying the Lord? I’m reminded of a story that my grandmother told me once about her parents. They were born around the time of the Civil War. Apparently, her mother was a Christian and her father was not. Reflecting back, my grandmother told how her mother always wanted to please him. In order to please her husband, she was gentle and kind, and cooperated in all of the many relocation moves they made. Her usual answer when he requested something was, “yes, Dad.” She did not complain or grumble. She seemed to go gladly along with him in his plans. Even when she differed, she still respectfully supported him. I asked my grandmother, “How did your father treat your mother?” and she said, “He adored her.” Well, my great-grandfather may not have glorified Christ but my great-grandmother did by magnifying her husband, by living out the role that God intended for her. A special blessing for her was how her husband treated her and loved her. You see, a Christian woman can do the right thing and fulfill her God-given role regardless of whether her husband fulfills his or not.”

Parenting can be full on – if you’re a single parent you know this well. Beyond work, there are many details to take care of: banking, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, disciplining, etc. Many moms I coach tell me they feel overwhelmed and when I dig deeper I find that one of the reasons they feel this way is because they’re doing a lot on their own.

One mom I coach has three children and works three mornings a week. She is also responsible for the children as well as all the housework. She told me her husband says that his job is stressful and that he needs the evenings to relax. “but she’s tired too!” she told me.

Bringing up small children takes time, patience and consistency. Without support, it can be tiring. Moms who cope all day long on their own can struggle to manage the situation. Then Dad comes home in the evening to a stressed-out wife who may be full of resentment at the load she’s carried all day.

In some cases Dads will respond by withdrawing from family life and responsibilities. In other cases dads would happily support their wife but find that their wife doesn’t “allow” them to do anything. One dad told me, “She thinks she can do it better than me so she just does it by herself.”

Many moms have this curse of martyrdom. They rush around doing everything to the point of exhaustion and resent every last minute.

What is the best way for parents to support each other so that everyone is sharing the load and truly acting like a family “team”?

Here are a few ideas to try. See which one fits your situation or feels most comfortable to you.

1 ) Ask for help. Tell your husband or wife that you would like to have a chat about something. Be sure they agree on when. Is now a good time? If not, when? Then share your feelings as briefly as possible. For example:

“I am really feeling overwhelmed. I feel that if we shared some of the jobs I would feel better and would be able to have some much needed down time with myself as well as with you.”

2 ) Be sure to have a set routine in place. From the time you and/or your husband gets home from work to the time your kids go to bed, make sure your family consistently follows the same routine every night so that either you share the load together or you take turns looking after things.

3 ) Cut back on expenses enough to hire a cleaner. They can come once a week, twice a month or just once a month. Any version will help out in a major way – I know this one to be very true.

4 ) Say, “Thank You”. Thank your husband or wife when you feel relieved by their help. A quick text, flowers, note, hug, kiss or “Thank you” is not difficult to do. Just watch how that little token of appreciation makes your partner step up and be more consistent with their help.

Erin Kurt, parenting & life coach to working mothers, and founder of ErinParenting, is also the author of Juggling Family Life and creator of The Life Balance Formula and the How to Get Your Child to Listen program.

Have you ever struggled with getting your husband to help out more around the house? You have tried giving him subtle hints that you need him to help out more, but he just doesn’t get it. You have even tried using the BIG SIGH while you’re doing what feels like ALL the work around the house. Maybe you’ve tried pouting, getting angry, or even holding a grudge. Some of these things may seem a little extreme, but let’s be honest. We have all felt that way a time or two about our husbands. There are times when we feel like we are doing it all.

My husband and I have been married for almost 25 years. When we first got married, I had this misconception in my mind that I should take care of the house and my husband should take care of the yard, vehicles, or any other outside work. Even though we both worked outside of the home, this seemed to work pretty well until we had our first child. Then, it all changed. Now I was trying to take care of my son, the home, and work full-time. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling successful in any of these areas.

Due to the pressure I was putting on myself to try and do it all, I was slowly building up resentment towards my husband. Thoughts ran through my head like, “Can’t he see that I am doing everything?”. “Why doesn’t he offer to help with the dishes, the laundry, or my son’s bath time?” “I wish that I could just come home and relax before dinner.” Believe me, I could go on and on with the bitter thoughts that were running through my mind.

Before I go on, please don’t think that my husband is a lazy, inconsiderate pig. He is so far from that. My husband is the most giving, warm-hearted, and loving man I know. You see, he wasn’t the problem. I was.

Ladies, I hate to say this, but sometimes we are the reason why our husbands don’t help out more around the house. As women, we often feel pressured to be outstanding multi-taskers. We think that we have to get it all done, and if we don’t, we have failed as a wife, mother, or homemaker. Also, we may feel that we can’t give up some of our responsibilities to our husband because he won’t do the job right or not as well as we can.

So how can you get your husband to help out more around the house? There are three things that you must do.

1. You Can’t Do It All

The first thing you must do to get your husband to help more around the house is to realize that you can’t do it all. Trying to do it all will only bring you stress, anxiety, and failure. You and your husband must be a team, and a team has to work together. Realize that asking for help doesn’t make you weak or a failure. It makes you stronger as a team. Take it from me, you don’t want to build up a bitter and resentful heart towards your husband because you are trying to do it all. Your husband can’t read your mind. You need to communicate to him that you can’t do it all, and you need his help.

2. Things Don’t Have to Be Done Your Way

The second thing you can do to get your husband to help more around the house is to accept that things don’t have to be done your way. As homemakers, many of us have a certain way of doing things, whether it be cleaning the bathrooms or doing the laundry.

Once you have told your husband that you can’t do it all, and you need his help. You must be willing to accept the fact that some of the jobs you give him to do will not always be done the way you do them. Your husband will have his own way of doing something, and it’s not your job to criticize the way he’s doing it. Your job is to acknowledge the fact that he’s competent in doing the job, and his way is not wrong. Trust your husband to take on what you have asked him to.

3. Be Specific

The third thing you can do to get your husband to help more around the house is to be specific in what you need him to do. If you want him to help with the laundry or vacuum the house, tell him. Don’t just tell your husband that you need help around the house.

Often, your husband will need to be told specifically what you need him to do. Make a weekly list of jobs that he can do around the house. Post the list on the refrigerator or in a place where he will see it daily. If you are specific in what you need your husband to do, he will more likely get the jobs done.

As women, we often set unreachable expectations for ourselves. We think that we must do it all in order to be the best wife, mother, or homemaker. However, we need to realize that we can’t do it all, and it’s ok to ask our husbands to help us out.

So this week, I challenge you to sit down with your husband and have a candid conversation about this topic. Let him know that you can’t do it all, and you need his help. When he begins to help, remember that he doesn’t have to do things your way. As long as things are getting done, does it really matter how? Also, be specific in the jobs that you want your husband to do. He will appreciate the fact that you are giving him specific jobs. This doesn’t leave any mind reading or guessing on his part. Most importantly, remember that you and your husband are a team, and teamwork leads to success.

Want to remember this? Post this How to Get Your Husband to Help More to your favorite Pinterest board!

Two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women. This is why.

For the past two decades I have devoted myself to helping couples work out their differences in order to keep their marriages and families together. This marriage-saving passion is not based on religious beliefs nor do I think that divorce is morally wrong. My divorce busting bias is simply based on my firm conviction that the vast majority of problems that people are experiencing when they consider divorce are, without question, solvable. Over the years, I’ve had countless experiences of helping near-the-brink couples reinvest in their marriages and fall back in love again. That being said, there is one particular situation that I find particularly challenging: The Walkaway Wife Syndrome.

Do you know that two-thirds of all the divorces that are filed in our country are filed by women? This is not to say that women take their commitment to their marriages lightly. They don’t. Most believe that they have tried everything humanly possible to turn things around before throwing in the towel. Nonetheless, women are walking away from their marriages in droves. Why? Although there are a variety of reasons that might account for this mass exiting, there is one that, in my mind, stands out above the rest.

During the early years of marriage, a woman tends to be the emotional caretaker of her relationship. She makes certain her marriage remains a priority, insisting on quality time together, meaningful conversation and shared activities. When a woman feels close to her husband, all is right in the world. However, if the marriage takes a back seat to other commitments, she pursues her husband for more connection by having frequent heart-to-heart talks. If these tête-à-têtes are successful, the marriage blossoms. If not, her complaints are no longer confined to her feeling unimportant. She begins to find fault with many other aspects of their relationship. He hears, “If I had known what kind of father you’d be, I never would have had children with you,” or “Why can’t you pick up after yourself? You’re just like one of the kids.”

Suffice it to say, these complaints hardly prompt him to want to spend more time with her. And so she quietly plans her exit strategy. She tells herself, “I’ll leave when my youngest goes to college, or “I’m going to find my soul mate and then I’ll leave this marriage,” or “As soon as I can support myself financially, I’m out of here.”

Exit strategies often take years to execute and during that time women are focused on fortifying their resources, not fixing their marriages. The absence of complaints has their husbands believing that things have improved; they’re out of the dog house. “No news is good news,” they tell themselves as they obliviously continue to lead separate lives. But then “D-Day” arrives and their wives inform them that the marriages are over, triggering shock and devastation. “Why didn’t you tell me you were this unhappy,” these men protest, words that finally nail the marital coffin shut. It is then that they start to recognize the importance of their wives and their children. They become desperate to save their marriages.

It is said that people don’t change until they hit rock bottom. I can tell you firsthand that the bottom doesn’t get any lower than the earth beneath these men’s feet. The threat of divorce generates true soul-searching. These are the men who readily schedule appointments for therapy, sign up for marriage seminars, read every self-help book they can, seek spiritual connection, and even risk vulnerability by discussing the f-word (feelings) with friends and family. Gradually, they become the husbands these women have been wanting.

But for so many women it’s “too little, too late,” or “I know this is not going to last. If I stay in this marriage, you will go back to your old shenanigans,” which, though completely understandable, is nonetheless tragic. That’s because, rather than feign “appropriate husband behavior,” most of these men sincerely undergo a personal transformation that shifts their priorities forever. They typically make great second husbands. Every time a near-walkaway wife or her husband enters my office, I’m determined to do what I can to open her heart and mind to see the profound changes in her man. I’m often successful, but this is one of the trickiest clinical knots to untie. I’d much prefer that couples really grasped the concept that time together is of utmost importance and that nagging, though well-intended, almost always backfires. That’s why I’m a huge proponent of marriage education. Falling in love is easy. Staying in love is another matter. People need information and skills to stay in love. If I had my way, I’d teach myself out of a job.

Being “supportive” means different things to different people.

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“I wish he’d be more supportive.” Here’s what I’ve heard (almost as often) in response. “I try to be supportive, but she doesn’t appreciate it.” And the first-runner-up response? “I don’t know what to do when she gets upset. It’s like she wants me to read her mind.”

So what’s the disconnect? A recent series of University of Iowa studies suggests that “supportive” has almost as many interpretations as ”commitment” or “love.” For instance, a five-year study of 103 newly married husbands and wives identified four kinds of support: physical comfort and emotional support (listening and empathizing, taking your spouse’s hand, giving your spouse a hug), esteem support (expressing confidence in your partner, providing encouragement), informational support (giving advice, gathering information), and tangible support (taking on responsibilities so your spouse can deal with a problem, helping to brainstorm solutions to a problem).

Apparently, it’s too much of the wrong kind of support that wreaks the most havoc in relationships.

Couples Can Overdo Being Supportive

Don’t get me wrong; couples complain about too little support far more often than too much; about two-thirds of men and at least 80 percent of women wanted more support from their spouses. However, it was the one-third of men and women who received too much informational support – usually in the form of unwanted advice-giving—that had the highest rate of marital decline.

Perhaps it’s because many couples who are less-than-thrilled with their spouse’s support level make up for it with friends and family. This is especially true for us females, who tend to have multiple sources of support. However, there’s no way to compensate for too much of the wrong kind of support.

Want the Right Kind of Support? Ask for It!

“If he really loved me, he’d know what kind of support I need.” This is the kind of thinking guaranteed to lead to unhappiness. No partner should have to be a mind reader. In fact, when it comes to marital satisfaction, both partners are happier if wives ask for support when they need it.

However, husbands shouldn’t just throw up their hands up in the air if they’re not sure what to do. Ask how you can help—don’t assume you know what to do. Afterward, talk about what worked and what didn’t and adjust accordingly. (Of course, few husbands go wrong by listening to their wives express their thoughts and feelings without being subjected to his opinion on the matter or trying to fix it (or her)—unless she specifically asks for it.)

As far as husbands go, esteem support is a no-brainer; I’ve never met a man who didn’t love encouragement, appreciation, and praise.

Arguments Require a Different Kind of Support

A heated discussion about a sensitive or contentious issue is one of the hardest times to give your partner the support s/he needs. Not only do arguments create tension in the relationship, they also elevate levels of chemicals known as cytokines. These proteins are produced by cells in the immune system and help the body mount an immune response during infection.

Fortunately, research shows that the words we bring to the battle can have a powerful impact on our immune system as well as our relationships success. Couples who use thoughtful words with emotionally charged partners—words like “I think,” “Here’s my reason for” and “Because”—signal to the other person that the speaker is either making sense of the conflict or at least thinking about it in a deep way. Researchers found that this cognitive support not only helped prevent the argument from escalating, it lowered certain stress enzymes, especially in the husband.

Graham speculates that women may be more adept at communication and perhaps their cognitive word use had a bigger impact on their husbands. Wives were also more likely than husbands to use cognitive words.

The Bottom Line

No matter what the situation, dialog is key. Couples will be happier if they learn how to say, ‘This is how I’m feeling, and this is how you can help me.’” And if the asking doesn’t lead to giving, well, that’s a topic for another post.

How to get your husband (or wife) to help out more

Experts say that communication is the cornerstone of a good relationship. That’s why it can be deeply troubling when your partner is closed off and guarded.

How do you get them to open up? Below, marriage therapists share the advice they give clients married to uncommunicative spouses.

1. Don’t say “we need to talk.”

No sentence is more worrisome to hear in a relationship than “we need to talk.” If you set up a time to talk, your partner is liable to go on the defense and bottle up his or her emotions; Instead, pick a casual time to pursue the conversation, said Kurt Smith, a therapist who counsels men.

“I’ve counseled men who’ve been willing to open up over coffee at Starbucks on Friday mornings before work or while walking the dog together,” he told The Huffington Post. “Many couples with kids will say that they never have any alone time, but you can usually find it during the day-to-day activities of life if you think creatively.”

2. Don’t broach the subject when you’re both tired.

Don’t bring up something important when your wife just walks in the door or when your husband slips into bed after a long day with the kids, said Diane Spear , a therapist in New York City.

“You don’t want to be so focused on talking that you fail to consider if it’s the right time or not,” Spear said. “You want your partner to feel considered and comfortable when you have big conversations.”

3. Explain why it’s important to you.

If your partner is struggling to open up about something in particular, it might help to explain why you feel a conversation is necessary, said Debra Campbell , a psychologist and couple’s therapist in Melbourne, Australia.

“Talk to your spouse about how it can deepen relationship intimacy when you discover more about what makes both of you tick and what’s bothering you.”

4. Don’t pounce.

If your spouse has seemingly checked out of your marriage, it makes sense that you might respond with a little anger. But if your aim is to have a constructive conversation, anger isn’t going to do much good, said Aaron Anderson , a marriage and family therapist in Denver, Colorado.

“Anger provokes an instinctual fight-or-flight response in whoever you’re talking to,” he said. “Your spouse will either fight back or shut down and neither one is good for communication.”

Instead, try to hold your temper and use a relaxed tone of voice.

“A little patience and kindness will go a lot further than anger in getting your spouse to open up,” Anderson said.

5. Open up first about your own vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability breeds more vulnerability, said Kari Carroll, a couples therapist in Portland, Oregon. If your spouse did something last week that triggered emotions from your past, open up about it.

“If you talk about past hurts, your S.O will be more likely to understand the context of this pain for you because you have shared how you’ve felt pain from others,” she said. “When your partner sees you find safety in the relationship, they are more likely to do the same.”

6. Listen intently.

When your spouse does want to talk about something that’s bothering them, actively listen, said Amanda Deverich , a marriage and family therapist in Williamsburg, Virginia. That means not jumping in right away with reassuring comments like, “Don’t worry, it will be OK!”

“That shows concern but it’s not actually listening,” Deverich said. “Usually, quiet partners have learned in life not to bother expressing their feelings because they’ve been overrode by others who engage at a louder level.”

The next time your spouse has something to say, hold back and listen.

“Try just being quiet for about 15 seconds, maintain eye contact and a soft expression,” she said. “If they continue talking, you continue listening. Engage with just your most important sentences, not paragraphs.”

7. Ask open-ended questions.

You’re not likely to get the answers you want with “yes” or “no” questions, said Elizabeth Earnshaw , a therapist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“Questions like ‘Are you sad?’ don’t leave a lot of room for communication and can feel invasive or forceful to a closed off partner,” she said. “Try asking ‘What’s going on?’ or ‘Tell me about your day’ instead.”

8. Check in but don’t be obnoxious about it.

From here on out, make a point to check in with your spouse. The trick is to do it subtly, so your spouse doesn’t feel forced to open up or talk, said Marie Land , a psychologist in Washington, D.C.

“You need to be able to address the elephant in the room but they need to know they can get out of an uncomfortable emotional conversation,” she said. “If they say there’s nothing wrong, don’t act like it’s a personal insult. Be light about your check-ins and you may plant the seed for them to open up in the future.”

How to get your husband (or wife) to help out more

In This Article

How long has it been since you felt genuinely happy in your marriage? Was it always like this?

To be trapped in an unhappy marriage may be one of the saddest situations that we can get ourselves into. Of course, no one would be able to predict a marriage of unhappiness. In fact, most of us would be so cautious who to marry so we can have the best life with that person.

However, there are some things that we can’t control and basically, people change. So, when you have done all that you can but still see no change, it’s just expected that you would ask — how to get out of an unhappy marriage?

Understand why you’re not happy

Before we even consider divorce, we have already thought about what has happened to our marriage. It’s seldom that we would just jump into a conclusion and that we want to get out of a marriage just because of a silly fight or a small problem.

Most likely, this unhappiness is the result of years of neglect, problems, and even abuse. Start with getting to the main point of your unhappiness. Is it the neglect, the problems or the abuse?

There can be so many other reasons why one would feel unhappy and depressed and most of the time, they are all valid reasons. Once you understand the cause of the problem, then it’s time to plan what you will need to do with your life.

Try to mend it and give it a chance

So, how to get out of an unhappy marriage when you are afraid and uncertain of your future?

Well, the important thing to remember here is to have a solid plan. We are not talking about daydreaming a plan or imagining how you can break to your spouse that you want a divorce .

You need to plan this ahead of time, but make sure that you are making the right decision — you still have to do one thing.

Why do you think it’s important to still try to mend the relationship?

This is because you don’t want to have any regrets when you finally end your relationship no matter how many years you have been together. First, talk to your spouse and pour your heart into the conversation. Explain what happened and point out that you still want to save your marriage if he or she is willing to compromise and get counseling.

If your spouse agrees, then you still might get a chance to fix your marriage. However, there are some exemptions to this rule.

If you are married to an abuser or someone who has a personality or psychological disorders, talking isn’t the best step to take. You might need to skip some steps if your safety is at stake.

When there’s no turning back, consider the 8 steps on how to get out of an unhappy marriage

If you have done all your best and you are firmly decided to get out of your marriage, then here are some of the steps that you can start taking into consideration.

1. Make a plan

Write it and make sure that you will be ready for what’s to come. If needed you can write each scenario and what you can do about it. You can also write down everything about your spouse, especially when there is abuse involved.

Create a timeline when abuse is present because you will need it along with proof. This is the most important step when you are contemplating how to get out of an unhappy marriage.

2. Save money

Start saving money and slowly learn to be independent, especially when you have been in a long unhappy marriage. You have to start believing in yourself again and start making plans alone.

It is not too late to start a new life of hope.

Thinking about how to get out of an unhappy marriage? Start by saving money. This is one of the most important steps towards building a future which does not include your partner.

3. Stay firm

When it’s time to tell your spouse, make sure that you are firm. Don’t let your spouse threaten you into backing out or even using force and abuse to teach you a lesson.

Remember, it’s now or never. This is your first and last chance.

4. Stop protecting your spouse

Now that you have made up your mind, it’s just right to stop protecting your spouse. Tell someone and ask for their love, support and just to be there when you start the divorce proceedings.

In any event that you might feel abused or threatened, you may need to ask for a restraining order and let someone you fully trust know about important details.

5. Don’t hesitate to seek help

This is essential, especially when you are a victim of abuse. Reach out to a community or groups who offer help and are experienced in dealing with relationship problems.

Remember that seeking the support of a therapist can be a great help.

6. Avoid communications with your partner

Cut all communications with your partner, aside from divorce negotiations.

You are no longer required to be withstanding abuse and control or to just hear hurtful words from him or her. Don’t be affected with promises even if your spouse begs or even threatens you.

7. Expect challenges

While waiting for the divorce to be finalized, expect challenges such as financial problems and living alone again, but guess what, this might be the most uplifting feeling you will have since you were married.

Starting a new life and getting a chance to be happy again is just exciting.

8. Be hopeful

Lastly, be hopeful because no matter how hard the transition may be, no matter how tiring the process of divorce is, it’s definitely still better than living with someone who doesn’t make you happy anymore.

Remember, this is your ticket to a whole new life.

Getting out of an unhappy marriage can be challenging and cumbersome

Just thinking how to get out of an unhappy marriage may look challenging and tiresome at the same time.

After all, divorce is not a joke and will require time and money but you know what? Even if leaving an unhappy and toxic marriage may seem tremendously difficult, it’s all worth the risk and the chance of uncertainty because we all want to be happy and we all deserve to find the one person who we can spend our lives together.

In time, once you are healed and you can say that you are whole again – that person will come to your life.

So, thinking about how to get out of an unhappy marriage? Trust me! It is not that difficult.

November 27, 2015 Updated February 28, 2020

Yesterday was a completely normal day. I got up, showered, got ready, and went to get the kids. My husband got up, showered, got ready, and went to walk the dogs. We loaded the kids in the car. Dropped them off at school (okay, day care). We worked all day. We picked the kids up. We went home.

My husband took the toddler down to see the puppies (because immediately upon arriving home he began singing us the song of his people: “Puppy! Puppy! Puppy!”). I took the baby’s jacket off, took mine off, and hung our jackets up in the closet. I put my shoes in the closet (I promise, this is relevant). I took the baby with me to change my clothes. We came back, and I began to clear the papers and other nonsense from the kitchen table. I finished, and the baby and I went to play in the living room.

That’s when it began. My husband and toddler came back up from the basement, and my husband took off the toddler’s jacket and sneakers and set them on the kitchen table. Then he set the toddler in the living room and went to the cupboard to get himself a snack (yes, you read that correctly. He was getting himself, not the toddler, a snack). That’s when I said it. I said, “Can you help me out and put Haden’s jacket and shoes in the closet at least?”

Can you help me out, help me out. All at once, I saw my life with my husband flash before my eyes. Can you help me out and…

…put away the kid’s jacket?

…get the baby a bottle?

…rinse your plate?

…put your shoes in the closet?

…take out the garbage?

…fold your laundry?

It was suddenly so clear. These were the wrong words. He’s not helping me out. He’s being an adult, my partner. I said it, right then, out loud: “Actually, can you just do it? It’s not helping me out. It’s just putting your kid’s shit away.” He didn’t respond, but he put it away.

I decided then that I would never ask my husband to help me out again — unless he’s really doing me a favor, like killing a ginormous bug that was obviously sent straight from hell to assassinate me. Here’s why:

It diminishes his value.

My husband is an adult. He is a fully functioning human. He should not be viewed as my helper or assistant or someone who needs to take direction from me to be useful. He is useful all on his own. If there is something I need him to do that he’s not noticing, I can say it. But it’s not for me. It’s because it’s what needs to be done in a busy household. When he asks me to get the baby a bottle, he never mentions it being for him because it’s not. I’m not his assistant, and he is not mine.

It puts undue responsibility on me.

I don’t own the responsibility of keeping our house organized and our kids fed/clean/clothed. It’s not solely my job. By framing our dynamic in that way, using words like “help me out” instead of simply asking him to do something, I’m taking on that ownership. There are lots of things I’d like to own in this life: a fancy boat, an expensive car, a machine that folds laundry for me. But 100 percent responsibility for our household and our children is not one of those things. I only want 50 percent of that.

It sets an example for our kids that I don’t mean to set.

I don’t want my boys growing up thinking that if they put the toilet seat down they’re doing their partner some sort of favor. I don’t want them thinking that they should receive accolades for taking out the garbage or hanging their jacket. I want them to take personal pride in being a real partner. Working their fair share and, in turn, gleaning their fair share of pride and enjoyment.

It diminishes our partnership.

My husband is my partner. He is my equal. We might not always do things the same way, because we are not the same person. What’s important is that we work together to accomplish the main goal, which is a happy, healthy family (and a house that isn’t covered in pureed green beans, chicken nugget casualties, and mandarin orange syrup). I don’t want to boss my husband around. I certainly don’t want him to think that his purpose is to help me out, because it’s not. His purpose is to be a father and my partner. And kill bugs.

So next time my husband leaves his clean, dry laundry in the dryer for six days, instead of asking him to “help me out” and fold it so that I can wash the kids’ clothes, I’ll just tell him to get his shit out of my way.