How should a husband deal with his wife’s laziness?
Love, relationship and family
We must face the fact that discipline does not always yield the results that we want for those we love that are under our authority and spiritual care.Updated on November 30, 2020, Biblical Gender and Roles
You come home from work to find piled up dishes from dinner the night before. Clothes are everywhere and nothing in the house has seemed to move while you were gone – including your wife. Your wife says “Honey I don’t feel like cooking – how about you run and get us some takeout?” How can a husband deal with this situation?
Know beforehand that this will hurt her
Very few women if any will take it well when their husband tells them he believes they have been lazy and neglectful in their duties to their home. But it must be said. This is the sacrifice of discipline that you must make as a husband.
Speak the truth in love
The “L” word is not a swear word. In some Christian circles a man saying his wife is acting “lazy” is akin to him calling her a cuss word. The KJV uses two words for laziness – one is “slothfulness” and the other is “idleness.”
So yes speak the truth in love – but speak the truth. If it walks like a duck and acts likes duck – it’s a duck. In fact the Bible says that a godly wife is NOT a lazy wife.
There is no sugar coating this gentlemen – if a wife is not keeping up with duties of her household she is being lazy and she must be called out on this.
I think that initially you should try and handle this in private with your wife away from your children and with most other issues. But at a future point if she continues in this sin of laziness it will become evident to the children that mom is doing something wrong. I will talk about this more later.
Make the consequences for her laziness clear
At first give her a warning. But let her know that if you come home and see the house is a mess, laundry is not done, the home is not clean or dinners are not being prepared there will be consequences for her laziness.
I have talked in more detail about how men can discipline their wives in my post “7 Ways to Discipline your wife”.
Follow through on disciplinary consequences if she fails to change her ways
If you thought confronting your wife about her laziness was the hardest part you would be wrong. Following through on the consequences you promised will be the most difficult part. But remember why Christ sacrificed himself? It was to make his bride holy and so to you must do this to try and yield the fruit of righteousness in your wife’s life.
Attempt private discipline first
Once you have examined “7 Ways to Discipline your wife” you will notice that most of these methods could be instituted in a way that does not draw attention to your wife from your children. I would suggest you try these kinds of private discipline first.
One method of private discipline that I added as an update to “7 Ways to Discipline your wife” is using your time as a husband as a method of discipline. This is especially important to men in Tom’s situation where finances are tight. Many women value their husband’s time more than almost anything else. A man can use discretion with how much of his free time that he allocates to his wife as one method of discipline.
Move to more public discipline if private discipline does not work
An example of public discipline would be turning off the internet or cable in your home. Perhaps you might lock these things out with a code only you know. If you need the internet for work or children need it for school you could put the new code only in your computer and theirs and not your wives so she will have no access while others can still use it. If you have to do this to shake your wife from her laziness this will get the attention of your children as it affects them.
Contrary to what some Christian teachers may teach – you do not have shield your children from your correction and discipline of your wife especially if she puts you in the position to have to do things that are more publicly visible to the rest of the family.
Some might say that this type of discipline undermines a mother’s authority in the eyes of her children and dishonors her before them in direct contradiction to I Peter 3:7’s admonition for men to honor their wives. But this could not be further from the truth.
The mother has dishonored herself by placing her husband in the position to have to elevate his discipline of her from private to public. Matthew teaches us this principle that first correction is to be attempted privately but if the person remains in unrepentance their sin is to be made public. Wives and mothers are not an exception to principle.
If she spurns your discipline then bring her before the Saint
An now we come to the most public form of discipline a man might have to bring against his wife.
As husbands we have a duty to discipline our wives for sinful behavior. But whether it comes to our wives or our children there is only so much that we can do to discipline them and try and get them on the right path. If they despise our discipline and rebel then we must leave them in the Lord’s hands.
It is only when we have exhausted what we can do and if they continue in steadfast rebellion against our attempts to discipline them that we then should bring them before the church.
But again they may not even listen to the church.
We must face the fact that discipline does not always yield the results that we want for those we love that are under our authority and spiritual care. But discipline requires two active parties for it to be successful. It requires the authority to perform the discipline and it requires the one under authority to learn from the discipline and change their way.
However, even if the wife does not learn from the discipline and change her ways this does not mean removing the disciplinary measures. Once all measures have been taken those measures should stay in place until repentance is made.