My husband is very handy and will do anything for anyone - except at home. I understand that he works hard and is tired at the end of the day. So am I, but I still fix dinner and do laundry, etc. I don't ever ask him to help with the housework, but I do ask him to do little fix-its. He always tells me he'll do it Saturday, then never does. It's very annoying that he won't ever help out. How can I let him know how much this bothers me in a tactful way? - S.H., 28, Salt Lake City
Related: How to Have a Better Relationship
Forget letting him know that it bothers you. He already knows. He knows and, I hate to say it, he doesn't much care - because whatever little fix-it you want him to do, there's always going to be another one down the pike. Unless the house is on fire, there really is no reason for him to hop to. The only thing that has a prayer of working is to turn your way of thinking completely around. Forget what he doesn't do and focus on what he does do.
Related: The 18 Most Annoying Male Habits Explained
Ask him to fix something, and when he doesn't, ask him again. Just keep asking nicely, without editorializing. Say, "I'd love it if you could fix the leak under the sink this weekend, hon." If he doesn't do it, on Wednesday say, "Is there a chance you could fix the leak on Saturday, baby?" It will take all of your wifely strength not to say, "Oh, my God! How many times do I have to ask you?" Then, when he finally does fix the sink, thank him lavishly. This will reinforce his good behavior. Anne Sutherland writes all about this in her funny and insightful book, What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People From Animals and Their Trainers.
How to thank him? Cook him something fabulous, drag him into the bedroom, or both.
Related: Easy Ways to Feel Closer to Your Partner
Karen Karbo is an award-winning writer and author of The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman. She's also a mom, a writing teacher, and a horse owner. Check out more advice from Karen.
Need smart advice?
Maybe your best friend is suddenly acting strangely. Or your parents or in-laws are making you nuts. Or your sister always takes your mom's side in an argument, instead of yours. Whatever's bugging or perplexing you - about your friends, brother, sister, parents, in-laws, husband, you name it - REDBOOK's Karen Karbo has the smart advice you need. Email your questions, rants, and worries to her at firstname.lastname@example.org and please include your initials, age, city and state. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.
More from REDBOOK:
Could You Go a Week Without Yelling?
Have the Hottest Sex of Your Life…with Your Husband
- 6 Shocking Reasons Why Men Stray
- Get a Flat Tummy in 2 Minutes
- Get More on Love, Family & Fashion - Subscribe to REDBOOK & Save Up to 84%!
Connect with REDBOOK:
- Become our Fan on Facebook
- Sign Up for REDBOOK's Free Weekly Newsletter
- Follow Us on Twitter
- Enter to Win FREE Daily Prizes
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.