Life Advice



Ask Amy: Kindhearted husband has nagging problem

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My husband is such a sweetheart. I love him for his kindness and tenderhearted nature. We never fight, except in one area, which is household chores.

I know he hates nagging, so I refrain from asking him too often to do chores around the house (like vacuuming and dish washing).

However, I do need help and I feel resentful when he doesn't proactively help. I don't know how to encourage him to do it on his own.

Is there a better way to communicate or help me achieve this? I know this isn't the biggest problem out there but it sure is a strain on the marriage.

— Anxious Wife

Dear Anxious: Your husband’s kindness notwithstanding, it is not really kind or tenderhearted to watch your partner be overburdened by the job of taking care of the household. Furthermore, your fear of bothering him with your nagging means that there is a disconnect. His need not to be bothered by you should not be more important than your need — and right — to express yourself.


You and your husband should have regular household meetings where you discuss all of the basics — your schedules, your grocery shopping list, your expenses, and your social or family obligations.

At your first meeting, you should agree on a basic chore list. Does he hate to vacuum? Perhaps there is a regular chore you don’t enjoy that he can take on as his own, and you can vacuum. The idea is to agree, form a contract of sorts, and then for each party to act like an adult and do their part. And oftentimes, doing something you don’t enjoy without acting like a martyr is a pretty profound statement of kindness and love. When he does something without prompting, notice it — and let him know that you feel loved.

As I have reported before, hiring a bi-weekly cleaner has been a game-changer in my own house. If you can afford to outsource some of your housecleaning, it is worth it.

Dear Amy: I have been in a same-sex relationship for almost three years with “Paula.” I love everything about her. Paula said that I was smothering her, that I was boring, that I am lying to her (but I have no reason to lie), and that I went through her things (and I have no reason to go through her things).


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