How to resolve a nagging issue that you've had for years

My husband drives me bonkers when it comes to taking care of the yard.  For the first year of our marriage it wasn't an issue because our landlord took care of our yard promptly.  I LOVED IT!  I genuinely think Hubby never noticed.

During our second year of marriage we moved to a place with 100% more space for only 20% more money.  Was a great move for us except for the yard issue.  My husband had mentioned how much he hated the yard being his job at home (he was the only son), so we talked about the chances of this becoming an issue.  He insisted it wouldn't be because the house was in the trees and there was very little yard to take care of...could all be done with a weed eater.

Well he was never taking care of the yard promptly, so he insisted what he needed was a push weed eater.  It would make the weed eating much easier and would be sooo much better for his arms which always hurt after doing the he did it more than a couple times a year anyway. :eyeroll:

But fine, we bought a push weed eater to make it easier for him.  He did the yard a negligible amount more with a negligible amount less of nagging.  I was so angry he talked me into this purchase (and definitely was not the only one) with the promise that it would enable him to get something done easier and it did very little good to get this accomplished.

It was while we were living in this home that he got diagnosed.....about 4.5 years ago, and he spent at least a year grieving over the diagnosis and not doing an appreciable amount more of ANYTHING, so I am trying to remember how much better he got at the yard after the end of his grieving period,.  I guess he was better with it but we moved 3 years ago, so it wasn't good for very much time before we moved again.

Due to some other goals we had, we needed to move to a more expensive area.  My brother ended up offering his house to rent for the price of his mortgage (which was also a similar price to what we could rent a 1 bedroom for here).  Was a fabulous deal for us again.......40% more money to double our space again and live in the area we really needed to be in.  But I almost vetoed the entire plan over the is that big of a deal to me.

We had MANY serious conversations about the yard issue and I made it clear that I am not longer willing to deal with this as an issue, and the yard here is MUCH bigger than our previous is about 2.5 acres which we both really wanted, but I was very concerned that he be willing to take care of it.  He insisted it would be a non issue and he'd take care of it.  He really really wanted to live here, as did I, and the deal was fabulous, so we moved.

Now my brother had a deal with my father (who lives nearby) for my father to mow both yards, and my husband was up front with his hope that he'd be able to make a similar deal.  I told him I didn't care what deal he made, but that my bottom line was that our yard be taken care of promptly when needed, regardless of what that required of him and he agreed.

My father does indeed mow both yards (some of you might remember this as I have posted before about the issue) and my husband's part of the deal is to weed eat both yards.  This takes him a max of about 3 hours once every 2-3 weeks from about April-the first freeze in December.  It is very little work for him to get our entire yard mowed, but the kicker for me is HE DOES NOT DO HIS PART PROMPTLY!!  AND he *needed* a newer bigger weed eater to do this job too......uh huh.

This shouldn't even be an issue this time of year, but we've had such a mild winter that really it has needed to be done again for at least a month-6 weeks and hubby just won't do it.  It is hard to get him to take care of the yards, and it generally involves me getting really irritated before he'll do it.  Sometimes he has even done OURS to get me off his back and then NOT DONE MY PARENTS.  I mean what the heck!??!?!?!

Part of the issue is that he doesn't really notice the yard when he drives in, then he comes in the house and since he HATES HATES HATES the sun, he has all the curtains and shades pulled like it is a cave in here (then he naturally wants to turn every light on......again wth?!?!), so he never really has the opportunity to notice the outside if he is trying to avoid it, which he always is.

I have told him for at least 3 months now that our bushes in the front need trimming.  My father has said he can use his electric or gas powered sheers, but hubby has done nothing.  We had two trees that died and hubby did nothing about them for so long that my uncle brought his tractor over and pulled them HUMILIATING to me that my husband is not taking care of this stuff.  Doesn't seem to bother him.

I took a good look outside today, and I am adamant this man WILL be taking care of our yard within the next week.  It needs a good weed eating, straightening up of stuff that goes in the shed but he has the shed too full for it, hedge trimming, and just a general sprucing up.  I want to plant a butterfly garden (which he is on board with) in the spring and thought about using that discussing to launch into this one.  Also his parents want to come visit, and I will not sign off on that (his mother is a nightmare) until the things that need to be cared for her are cared for.

ANY IDEAS HOW I GET THIS ISSUE TAKEN CARE OF ONCE AND FOR ALL?!!?  I cannot keep having the same source of argument and stress.  And it needs to be resolved before the new season for weed eating begins--we have been through 2 springs and summers here and I am not having another one like those.

If you are nonADD, how do you get your husband to do his part around the house?  Especially to keep his agreements when you vocalized a concern several times and he PROMISED it wouldn't be an issue.  And if you are ADD, what would motivate you to keep an agreement you made, even if you find out later it is harder than you expected?!?  Is there a point where you think, I do not like doing this but I promised so I will push through and do it?  Cause that is what I keep expecting and not getting.

Last year I suggested he find someone to do the weed eating if it was too much trouble for him, but that he would have to pay for it out of his blow money because I would not use joint money to cover it.  He isn't willing to do that though he IS willing to try to find someone to do it if I would pay for it out of joint funds which there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY NO HOW I will do that.  Joint funds have bailed him out of stupidity too many times.  This is an irritation for him or something that isn't his preference, but it is his commitment and I think he needs to start looking at it that way.  He already has the WAY WAY WAY easier side of the deal as it is.  He should be grateful.

I can sympathize but I can't

I can sympathize but I can't help.  The only things that have helped make the unequal division of labor in our household not as big a problem as it could be are the following:  1) I truly like doing many of the things I do.  2) I have lowered my expectations for my husband.  3) There are certain things that I don't care about very much, like the exterior appearance of our house.

OK, here's one thought:  Can you sell the weed eater and use the proceeds to pay someone to do the job?


I don't even know what it would cost for someone to do it

I have been working on appreciating the things that he does around the house, and it is less than it was at it's best but I am ok with that because I have been able to cut back on my work.  I feel like if I am home more, I should do biggie there.  I used to wait around for him to do *his jobs* like the vacuuming, but it just got to be too big of a hassle and if I think the floor needs vacuuming, I just do it. 

Sometimes he get offended, but we discussed how unfair this is.  And that he needs to either do it when needed or not get upset if I do it.  Those are the only options.  That seems to be resolved.  I have been as lovingly as I can drawing my lines in the sand..if there is visible lint, paper, etc on the carpet, I have the right to vacuum it. period., and he has been responding really well.  And besides it gets him out of vacuuming, so he should be thrilled, right?

As far as selling the weed eater to pay someone to do it, I am sure that money wouldn't last for long....prob not even an entire year assuming we could even find someone to do it reasonably.  If I were paying someone I would want it done every 2-3 weeks which my husband agrees is when it is needed.  He thinks he does it once a month, but I think it is more like every 5-6 weeks.  But any way you slice it, someone else would be doing it more than he does, which would cost us money per time.  Plus if we were hiring it done, I seriously doubt my father would mow our lawn for us anymore, which would then require us to buy a lawn mower which we haven't needed up to this point.

Plus there is the issue that we live in a rural area, and I don't know of any kids in our area.  I have no idea who would even do it.  Unless they had other lawns in the area, it would no doubt cost us more than it is worth. Seriously it is a couple hours of work every couple of weeks, I would do it myself before I would hire it done, but you better believe my husband would need a DARN good reason to have me doing it because we always agreed that outside is totally his job.

Honestly, I don't think hiring it done is a good solution at all.


It seems to me that you can

It seems to me that you can argue that the darn good reason for you to do it is that he isn't doing it.

Under that reasoning....

They'd never have to do anything. Just refuse to do it, and your wife will step in and do it. That CAN'T be the answer.

If I had an answer to this, I'd sell it and become a millionaire! My husband lost his job and I'm enabling him by supporting him and he doesn't even look for a job, because I have to eat! I know I'm enabling him and I don't know what the answer is.

If he thinks he is doing it more often than he is, mark it on a calendar and say "It's been 2 weeks, you are due to weedeat again." My husband thinks he is "looking for a job" by getting a paper but he never answers any of the ads. I do think they underestimate the work everyone else does and overestimate the amount of work they do.

I am with Sueann on this one

If I have to do it, he will be doing a more than equal amount on something else to make up for it.  I am not taking on any more things just to get them off his plate.  I have all I am willing to do on my plate.  I am just angry because I foresaw this as an issue and did everything I could think of to make sure it wasn't going to be an issue up to getting a PROMISE from him that it wouldn't be, and here it is still an issue.

If I take it over, he takes something I hate off my plate and I don't really see him liking doing that any better as a lot of my plate is already dictated by what he doesn't like doing and/or isn't good at doing.

I don't want to come across as a (*(# here, but you make a keep it...the end.  We are functioning well in the vast majority of things, so I think it is time to tackle these kinda sources of stress.   We've already tackled the tax paperwork since the beginning of the year....may as well get another one in right? :)

I really do sympathize with

I really do sympathize with you.  But the answer, I think, which I hate, too, is that you can't make another person do what he or she doesn't want to do.  It doesn't matter if that person has agreed to do it; is an adult; likes the task; and claims to not want you to do it.  (I would jokingly suggest the gun to the head, but that's not legal and even that might not work.)  If he or she refuses, actively or passively, you're stuck.  This is my reality now. 

summerwine's picture

We have a tiny yard and I get

We have a tiny yard and I get the neighbor kids to take care of it for me because being a single mom it's just one more job. When my son is older I would like to get him into the habit of helping in the yard but he is too young to be playing with yard tools right now. What motivates your husband? Is he a guy who would do the work if he got a special dinner or got to pick a fun activity out it? Is he the kind of man who likes to be a hero and rescue you from your yucky yard? If you guys broke it down into smaller steps like one thing each day for a week would it be more likely to get done? What about letting him blast some good tunes while he worked? ps I love the idea of a butterfly garden!

My sister lives in town and can do something similar

She has about a 1 acre lawn and has a guy come every couple weeks and mow and weed eat for I think $20 or $25, but she lives on a short cul de sac and he has several yards on her street.  We live about 8 miles out town where ppl have much bigger tracts of land, and I have never seen anyone doing yard work in our area other than the home owners.  Not even sure where I would look to find someone.

And that doesn't even approach the issue of I absolutely WILL NOT pay someone to do what he took on as his own job and promised to care for.  If he spent a seaon keeping up with it and then said "Babe this is too much because of x, y, or z" we could absolutely renegotiate, but I will not renegotiate until he does the job well for at least a period of time.

As far as motivation, my husband is probably most likely to go the hero route....loves to be the hero :)  Also he would prob do it for a special dinner, but I would have to consider that seriously.  I have no problem making him a "I appreciate all you've been doing" dinner, but to reward for each job that he took on?  I am just not sure that would be a good message to send.

I honestly can feel the

I honestly can feel the frustration oozing from your post...and I am sorry. I know how you're feeling, but have no solution to offer except to pay to have someone do it JUST FOR YOUR OWN PEACE of mind. It is all about see it as 'bailing out his stupidity' and I see it as minimizing any stressful situation humanly possible. If it helps, I would love to be able to afford to pay someone to do mine, but we barely make ends meet as it is. I am embarrassed by how our yard looks 90% of the time...but since I am responsible for mowing and weed eating it myself, I have just learned to live with doing it 'when I get around to it'. We got a letter in our mailbox anonymous neighbor complaining...we live in a decent subdivision but I just don't always have the time or energy to devote to the yard like a lot of the people here do. Believe you me, I would give my right arm to be able to afford to pay from where I'm sitting, if you have the money then pay someone else and don't let this be an issue between you and your husband anymore. You cannot make him do it. Since the difference in how much of a priority it is to him is vast from how much of a priority it is to you I doubt there will ever be another resolution to this. The status quo will probably only fester resentment and frustration on both parts. 

Yeah I am frustrated :(

Had a good talk with him about it today.  He worked for several hours out in the yard and promised to trim the trees and bushes on Wednesday, so I am happy with that.

I am not thrilled about how it happened because I was hoping to approach it all ADD-friendly like, but when he got home, he noticed that I seemed upset and just kept pushing until I told him I was angry both about the yard and his attitude about the yard.

His reasoning was "It isn't that bad."  Those might be the 4 more frustrating words in my marriage lately.  I said "Well what is wrong with wanting to make something GOOD instead of 'not that bad' all the time?!"  He didn't really have a response for that......naturally.   We talked out where our priorties differ on the yard and hopefully have come to agreement.

I guess we shall see....until April-ish it should be mostly a non issue because once everything is trimmed up it should stay till growing season begins.....then the real work begins too.

As far as the 'pay for it and don't let it be an issue anymore'.......I just don't believe I am built that way.  I can after he takes charge of it for a while, visit the idea of having someone else in to do it, but in my world when you make a commitment, you do it.  I can't stand being told one thing and then having it melt into something else esp when it is something you COULD do, but just don't want to.

If I hired it out now....and as I stated above I don't even know how possible that would be....I would resent the heck out of it and it would need to be resolved somehow between us that he took it on and just punted it for no good reason other than 'don't really like it'.

I love taking care of the yard!

It is great fun for me to show up the neighbors, most of them at least. The yard is predictable, I get to use noisy power tools and if something pops me or cuts me I can cuss like a sailor and nobody hears me. I love making perfect yard cuts, perfect edging and trimming. I done some pretty nice beds and love to sit on the patio with a beer and cool off afterwards. It's very therapeutic to me. Do you guys need a slightly OCD yard guy? I'll take bids :) It's the opposite of programming to me. Burn calories, release to dopamine and sleep good at night :)

There are recurring geometric patterns that show progress as the patterns decrease in size until you are done. While I'm doing the yard I don't have to do laundry, sweep the floors, mop, dust or clean the bathrooms. Rot Row my motives are showing ;) I'll do those things too, but letme get out to the yard please :)