How NOT to Be an Entitled Husband or Entitled Wife

by | Jan 9, 2023 | Resolving Conflict, Series | 47 comments

What about entitled husbands in Christian marriages?
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What is it that actually kills a marriage?

In the Christian world, “lack of commitment” is often named as the culprit that brings a marriage to an end. I don’t agree. Even if you didn’t have commitment, if the marriage was great, why would anyone leave?
Sure, every relationship goes through down times, but most people don’t just walk out because there’s a down time. Quite frankly, it’s an awful lot of work to split up.

You walk out because marriage has become a slog, and the pain of staying together is worse than the pain of leaving.

So if we want to help marriage, we’ve got to stop the slog!

A good question to ask, then, is what causes the slog? What makes people feel distant from one another, resentful, or angry?

I think I’ve got the answer, and I’d like to explore it this month in our series (all our Monday posts!).

I think the problem is entitlement: Entitled husbands and entitled wives.

When someone thinks they are owed something by their spouse, and especially that they are owed special treatment, then it’s easy for resentment to build on both sides.

The person who feels entitled feels resentful because they’re not getting whatever it is they think they’re owed.

But the other person feels resentful too, because they feel like their spouse doesn’t love them for who they are, but only for what they can give them. They think their spouse is using them.

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Entitlement and Expectations are Two Different Things

When Keith and I started speaking at marriage conferences, we used a curriculum that often talked about how the main problem in marriage was unrealistic expectations. People were upset because their spouse wasn’t meeting their expectations, and so if we got rid of expectations, people would be happier.

That can be the case–but it isn’t always. That’s why I like to differentiate between entitlement and expectations.

We should expect some things when we marry. We should expect that our spouse will care about us; will stay faithful; will put in work into the marriage.

In other words, we should expect that our spouse will act as a partner. When we marry, we are joining forces with someone else, and you will both be contributing to the life that you are building together. You will both be working.

Those are the expectations that you should have in marriage, and when those expectations are not met, then that is a marriage issue that needs to be addressed.

So we should expect that our spouse will be our partner and that we will work as a team.

But we are not entitled to anything more than that.

When you marry, you both are deciding to work to build a life together. You do not marry so that you do not have to work. You do not marry so that you get to do significantly less work than you did before you were married. You do not marry so that you get to use someone.

We marry, and then together we decide who will do what so that you can function best as a team. You may decide that one does most of the paid work while the other does most of the care for the home, or you may decide that you both do paid work and you split the tasks at home. But the key thing is this: You both are working and putting in the same effort, and both of your time is valued.

Entitlement isn’t Scriptural

Quite simply, feeling entitled should never be a part of the Christian life. No Christian husband should ever be an entitled husband. No Christian wife should ever be an entitled wife.

  • Jesus told us to love our neighbors as ourselves–we should not expect them to do more for us than we do for them. (Matthew 22:39)
  • We should each carry our own load–look after ourselves the best we can without expecting others to do it for us. (Galatians 6:5)
  • If we don’t work, we shouldn’t eat, meaning that we’re not entitled to someone else’s labor (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

What does Entitlement Look Like in Marriage

If you marry thinking, “Now I won’t have to cook anymore!”, that is entitlement, because you used to have to cook. You are not entitled to someone else automatically taking on all of the work of cooking.

If you marry thinking, “Now I’ll never have to work another day in my life!”, that is entitlement. You are not entitled to a paycheque. And you are definitely not entitled to your spouse providing you with a certain standard of living. You should both be working as a team; that doesn’t mean you’re entitled to a certain income.

You are not entitled to a spouse who will get up with the children in the middle of the night, and who will lose a tremendous amount of sleep, while you sleep well.

You are not entitled to a spouse who will change all the dirty diapers.

You are not entitled to stay at home with kids while your spouse works, if the finances just can’t support it.

You are not entitled to a spouse who will do all of the holiday planning forever, buying all the gifts for your kids, for your own extended family, for your co-workers, and figuring out all the decorations.

You are not entitled to a spouse who will cook all the huge family dinners for your extended family, and maybe for hers, while you sit on the couch and watch the football game.

Basically, you are not entitled to someone working harder for you than you do for them. You are not entitled to live out your dreams at the expense of your spouse’s. You are not entitled to an easier life than your spouse.

You are a team that works together!

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So let’s redefine expectations and entitlement.

Expectations are how we expect the family to function as a team. Expectations apply just as much to ourselves as they do to our spouse.

But entitlement is different. Entitlement says, “My spouse owes me something that I don’t owe to them. I deserve my spouse’s work/time/body in a way that I don’t have to reciprocate.” That’s not okay.

Questions to Ask To See Whether You’re Entitled

Here’s a test to see if you’re an entitled husband–or an entitled wife!

Ask yourself these questions (or talk through them with your spouse):


  1. Am I expecting my spouse to provide a result rather than provide their effort and time? Examples might be: Expecting my spouse to cook just like mom does; expecting my spouse to bring home a certain income.
  2. Do I have more chances to sit down and do nothing than my spouse does?
  3. Am I significantly less tired than my spouse is? Do I get more sleep than my spouse?
  4. Do I have more time to exercise, pursue self-care, see friends, or pursue hobbies than my spouse does?
  5. If there’s an unforeseen emergency (kids get sick; furnace breaks down; car needs to go in for repairs), do I expect my spouse to figure it out? Or do we work out who is in the best position to deal with it?
  6. If a child is fussing, are we equally likely to tend to that child? Or do I assume my spouse will take care of the child?
  7. Do I make plans that involve being out of the house when I would normally be home without checking with my spouse first (especially if we have kids at home)?
  8. When we have company, does my spouse get up and serve me and the guests, or do we do it equally?
  9. Am I expecting my spouse to give me an orgasm without attending to my spouse’s needs for emotional safety, rest, or down time?
  10. Am I expecting an orgasm even if my spouse doesn’t get one? If my spouse says no to sex, do I treat my spouse worse or punish them in some way?

NOTE: Entitled dynamics can also become abusive. If entitlement flows into power and control, this isn’t safe. Please call a domestic abuse hotline or see a licensed therapist. 

Over the next few weeks we’ll look more at how entitlement plays out in marriage, and what you can do if you’re the one who is the entitled husband (or wife), or if you’re married to someone who’s entitled–or both!

But for today, here’s your assignment: work through those questions and see if you are acting entitled. Maybe even talk through these questions with your spouse, and see if it sparks some interesting conversation!

Diagnose entitled husbands in marriage

What do you think? Are there other questions that you would ask that could diagnose entitlement in marriage? What do you do if you’re married to an entitled husband (or entitled wife)? Let’s talk in the comments!

Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. JJ

    I answered “yes” to 2,3 & 4. My wife has a full-time volunteer, i.e. no-pay, position at a school that she kills herself for. All this while going through a stem cell transplant last year. She won’t give it up. I try to support her. I do my share of cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry etc, but she is always exhausted. It’s hard to watch her disregard for her own self-care. And it’s frustrating because I initiate 90% of any affection, e.g. cuddling, hugging, hand-holding, kissing, back rubs, etc. I try to keep my expectations very low, and my goal is zero pressure on her for sex. It feels like she cares more about the school and the kids than she does about me. She is under so much pressure, and it just feels like a slog so often—and I don’t know how to fix it. What more can I do?

    • JJ

      Once, in utter frustration, I put my foot down and told her she needed to quit her “job”. She was so angry she told me to leave the house and stay with my mom. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells as not to upset the delicate imbalance!

    • JJ

      Even now, her aunt (who lives with us) is dying of colon cancer. My wife still won’t quit her “job” to spend more time with her. I feel like I need therapy. My wife does too, but I don’t dare mention it.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        That is really, really rough. Is this something she really feels called to do? It sounds like she may be running away from a lot of intimacy in her life to find significance elsewhere because it feels safer. Even if she won’t go to therapy, it may be a good idea for you to go just to work through what kinds of boundaries you can set about what you’re prepared to live with.

    • Rich

      JJ, You sound like a very caring & serving person who is loving his wife like Jesus taught for husbands to live their wives as Christ loved the church & gave himself up for her. I am so sorry to hear that your wife doesn’t want to take time for herself to rest & take care of her health & to have more time for you. I want to acknowledge you for showing your wife affection that is not sexual to make her feel safe & cherished. You hugging, holding her hands, massaging her is so wonderful to hear, especially since your bar is low for sexual intimacy not to pressure her. May God help you meditate on his Word day& night so you can be like a tree planned by streams of water to receive his love & keep bearing fruit for his glory in how you treat your wife May God bless your love for your wife & may she accept it& feel free to love you as well.

  2. Codec

    You have no idea how happy I am to see you will be talking about entitlement expectations and narratives.

    First thing. My grandmother explained to me that all work is valuable if it is good and it accomplishes a good goal. She explained it with a song. ” I work hard for no money so you better treat me right”.

    Second. You can not expect people to always be on their A-game. Conan the Barbarian one of the faces of manly bravado is shown to not always be able to muscle his way through a problem. In the books when he becomes king of Aquilonia he admits that intruige espionage and affairs of state frustrste him. In the movie he needed help to be revived after being strapped to the tree of doom and to defeat Thulsa Doom.

    Third. You can not force people to love you. It does not matter if you can punch the highlights out of someones hair or if you are incredibly charismatic you can not make people love you.

    Fourth. No one is without baggage. If ypu deal with people you will deal with problems. That applies even if ypu are the only person on the planet. Face your shadow, your Nega Self, your dark knight on the path to becoming a paladin, and learn from it.

    Fifth. There is always a bigger fish. Someone smarter or stronger. Why resent and hate when you can learn from them? They might even be able to learn from you.

  3. Amy

    In the power and control wheel, privilege or entitlement is one of the indicators of abuse. So, one partner showing entitlement isn’t just an inequity issue, it might be an indication of abuse in the relationship. Is the entitled partner showing other abusive attitudes or behaviors?

    • Codec

      Power and control wheel?

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        Yes, it’s a brilliant tool for showing different ways that abuse can manifest and the different ways that someone can exert power and control in an abusive relationship. Here’s a video overview of it; Here’s a written explanation.

        • Codec

          You know I have seen these tactics used in real life. Never heard of the wheel until now though.

        • Ed

          The power and control wheel is a useful tool but frankly, could be a whole lot more useful. As the article points out, it has been heavily criticized for focusing on women only as the victims but not as perpetrators and diminishes the fact that men are abused too. I’ve faced emotional abuse from my wife for several years due to her borderline personality disorder and narcissistic tendencies and been in personal counseling for the last two years. It’s not easy to deal with no matter which gender is the target.

          • Chuck

            Careful Ed, the focus in this space has been on wives as victims. You risk reactivity bringing this topic up

          • Amy

            Ed – the vast majority of domestic abuse resources are written with men as the perpetrator and women as the victim. This is not because those roles are never reversed. It’s because statistically speaking, men tend to be the perp and women tend to be the victim. Actually, when looking at demographic data and domestic abuse, gender is the only statistically significant criteria. Things like age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or education level don’t show statistical significance.

          • Sedge by the Lakeshore

            There should be more acknowledgement that men can be domestically abused. I’d like to see another wheel alongside the one we already have.

            One that focuses on domestic violence as men usually experience it. While the “she/her” can be read in the general sense, just like “he/him” can be, it might not be enough.

            The part about finances is from the perspective of the stay-home spouse, who is usually the woman.

            But the breadwinner can experience financial abuse, too. Your spouse can gamble the savings away, behind your back.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Most definitely!

  4. J

    I’m very excited to learn more about this topic! Sometimes I worry that I’m taking advantage of my husband’s inability to rest. He goes and goes and goes; it’s part of his trauma cycle. I make sure that I’m doing my share and then I just sit down and rest. I tried for 30 years to keep up with him, thinking I was lazy, only to learn that his workaholic pace was HIS trauma issue, not a reflection of my contribution. This can be difficult to assess.

    Please also discuss this topic in relationship to sex addiction. My husband is in sex addiction recovery and swears up and down that he didn’t feel entitled to do what he did. He’s not a narcissist (verified by a licensed therapist), but to me lying to your wife while you visit prostitutes is super entitled. Just because you hate yourself for it doesn’t mean you weren’t entitled. We can go round and round about this. Why does it matter? Because sex addiction literature says seeing the entitlement is an important part of healing and I want him to fully heal. I think the problem is that we have a specific picture of the entitled man who acts out sexually, and that picture doesn’t always match my self-deprecating husband who has always hated himself – even before committing covenant breaking acts. Can you help me wrap my head around how entitlement works in that way? I believe the sex addiction literature, but the fog of my husband’s self deception is affecting me. He simply doesn’t want to be classified with “men like that.”

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Great question, J! Yes, it is definitely entitlement. Buying sex is also thinking that you are entitled to sexual release, regardless of the effects on those around you (including your wife, your kids, and the person who is being trafficked). And, yes, you may hate yourself and feel shame, but it is still entitlement.

    • Anita

      Thank you for sharing that. I have had some of the same thoughts. My H has had various reasons for having watched pornography in the past, and some of them were entirely about entitlement. “You didn’t give me much sex for a time”. Stuff that like which clearly shows he was using porn because he felt he was entitled to sexual release that I didn’t give him.
      But then other times it had nothing to do with entitlement. We could have had sex the day before, and he could still be tempted to watch pornography, simply because he was seeing visual images inside his head of our sexual relations from the day before. Ergo, had zero to do with entitlement. If your husband says he has never felt entitled to sex and therefore didn’t act out because of that, it can be entirely true. Hope that helps a little.

    • Sedge by the Lakeshore

      As for the workaholism, it’s like you said, it won’t work for you to try and match him.

      Instead of comparing your effort over all…

      What if you only looked at what should be prioritized over things like resting or family time? The stuff that does need to get done. Do you both put equal effort into that category?

  5. Jo R

    One issue that will arise is how women—who have been conditioned culturally and churchally to never say no, to minimize or eliminate entirely even the most basic self-care—can learn to say no, can set and enforce boundaries, can find the fortitude to endure the certain backlash from her husband, children, family, friends, and fellow church members (especially other women) when overloaded women finally realize they’re not soulless robots, that they’re not bottomless wells that never need filling themselves, that they’re allowed to be actual human beings with real limitations, despite the heroic efforts and energy they’ve been taught, conditioned, and guilted into giving from long before they had any conscious awareness of it.

    Because the backlash will be constant, even from those who “love” these women, and there will almost certainly be subtle and not-so-subtle threats of being a bad Christian, or not a Christian at all, or of God’s imminent punishment for such “selfish” “disobedience.” The proof requires mere remembrance of the last time she said, or even just tried to say, no to a very small thing. That forthcoming backlash will be paralyzing and will stop many women from even trying to stand up to entitlement by anyone.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      Yes, I agree, Jo.

    • JJ

      I agree that the “go-go-go, never-say-no” mentality is a problem. I wish my wife would say “no” to more things, and “yes” to more time for herself and family. There would be no backlash from me—just gratitude.

      • Chuck

        Have you learned how to say healthy no’s to your wife? A good licensed counselor could help you with that journey

        • Suzanne

          What is a healthy no?

          • Chuck

            See Boundaries in Marriage

          • Mara R

            Yes, Boundaries in Marriage.

            I was so glad to have that book back in the day to counter people who were trying to get me to practice “Created to Be His Doormat”. I was able to point out how bad my then-spouse’s boundaries were in our relationship and that the “Boundaries” book was helping while the “Doormat” book would only further enable his bad behavior.

            And Boundaries in marriage is good for both men and women. Since is was a Christian book, it was harder for people to try to discount it as secular or unChristian.

            I also highly recommend this book for people looking for balance against the bad teaching out there that is making women tired and men feel entitled.

      • Sheila Wray Gregoire

        I’ll cover that more in Wednesday’s post–about what you SHOULD expect from your spouse, and what to do when that’s not there (as opposed to feeling entitled to something that you would not provide).

  6. Chuck

    This is really good. I appreciate your choice not to gender entitlement.
    Most of your past work seemed to have a laser focus male entitlement as the source of marriage problems. I agree there is too much of that. But entitlement is not exclusively male.

  7. Rachel

    This is really, really important stuff. Thank you. I am blessed to have a healthy marriage (after many years of hard work on our relationship), but we never, ever discussed things like this before we got married – and we totally should have. This needs to be part of marriage prep courses! I will bookmark this and try to remember to send it to engaged couples.

  8. Anonymous

    Thank you for acknowledging the difference between expectations and entitlement, and it’s not evil to have a base level of expectations! I heard ad nauseum that I needed to change my expectations!

    My bar:
    1. During insomnia bouts lasting weeks+/raising baby-preschooler, don’t wake me up to demand sex and don’t treat me badly if I say no because I desperately needed more than 3 hours of sleep/night.
    2. Have one conversation with me/year. (For reference, sometimes our only “talking” was communication via post-it notes about appointments, etc., and I considered that an improvement in communication.)
    3. Have 2+ date nights over a 5 year period.
    4. I shouldn’t be in charge of nearly all the inside and outside chores alone (exception- he covered mowing for a couple years while my toddler was following me around making it unsafe.)

    None of those expectations were met. Didn’t matter how much sex I provided him with.

    My church seemed to think women were selfish/asking too much because men only had one expectation- wives should have sex whenever husbands wanted it.

    If I had known that expecting a spouse to share life with me was too much to ask, I never would have married. Worst decision of my life- except that I got a pretty awesome kid out of it. For that, I won’t regret it. But I will never make the same mistake again if we ever officially divorce.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      It is definitely not too much to ask to think that in marriage you have a spouse share life with you. That is why people marry today!

      Anything else is entitlement. We should be partners. That isn’t wrong. I think many Christian leaders won’t acknowledge this for fear that many women would leave their husbands.

  9. Jo R

    As an example to anyone who might wonder if they’re entitled, listen to this comment by Sonya Lillis on Sheila’s FB post from back on November 22:


    it isn’t just the sexual stuff that so much is expected from the woman…it’s pretty much everything.

    we also expect women to tend the house, take on all of the mental load, clean up after the children and the husband, work outside the home to “contribute” but still be the caretaker of the home, be the only one up at night with the babies but clean the house while they sleep during the day, be fresh and clean and always pretty, keep her body fit and thin, not need a break but still tend to her own “self care”, be excellent cooks and yet eat very little of it, help with all the homework, take the kids to all the appointments, never be to tired for sex when he wants it…

    and we expect men to…. basically just go to work, come home and relax. they get a free pass when it comes to babies because no one expects them to get up at night to tend the children, no one bats an eye if he goes to his office/den to hide out from the family while mom deals with baths and bed time, no one puts pressures on men like they do on women. men are “good fathers” if they simply don’t leave. just them being present makes them “good” while women are judged at every step. the child makes a mistake must be mom’s fault.

    in christianity we pretend like men have a greater burden to take care of the family and lead the family…and yet it’s pretty much usually the women doing all the work while the men take credit for it. we get saddled with the large majority of the work and we’re constantly told to do better, try harder ect and maybe…just maybe if we’re “good” enough we can make our marriages last.


    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That was so good!

      (Yes, there are definitely abusive women too, as well as lazy women. The difference is that in those cases, they are going AGAINST teaching, not living out what is being taught. Doesn’t make it less harmful; but we should be able to put a dent in the amount of abuse given to women if we simply stop teaching stuff that makes entitlement sound normal).

      • Chuck

        This is a good point. I believe you would have a wider influence if you didn’t limit your discussion to that. It allows you to be caricatured. This is a great post today that fights against that narrative

        • TMF

          I thought Chuck was blocked from posting on your content?

          Or does this mean there are multiple Chucks?

        • Sheila Wray Gregoire

          Here’s the thing, Chuck. I’m not actually worried about fighting against the narrative. I’m focusing on sharing our survey findings and our findings from reading evangelical books. Some people aren’t going to like that. I’m not about catering to them.

          I’m glad you liked today’s post, but your tone is very patronizing.

        • Jo R

          Not caricatured, but focusing on the half of the population that’s been completely under the thumb of the other for, oh, forever.

          Go check out “Man who has it all” on Facebook for a little reality check.

        • Sela

          Chuck not all ministries have to address every single person in the world. Some people are called to minister to certain groups, whether that is geographic, cultural, gender, age, whatever. There are people called to ministries that focus primarily on men and people called to ministries that focus primarily in women. It doesn’t make them sexist – it just means they have a gift to use in ministry in one particular area. Its okay to have “less influence” if you are doing what God has genuinely called you to do. If you free that there is a lack of Christian ministry for male victims of abuse, perhaps you could look into starting a healthy ministry in this area? I think Sheila does a really good job of that including men whenever it is appropriate.

  10. Phil

    I saw it Sheila. The Scripture is great. I read more. I particularly like Galatians 6:6. In due time. I am working on something. Its been in the works for a while. Years in fact. Its going to take a little while. But now I can finish it.

  11. Natasha

    I took the quiz and the only issue is that some of themwith me are false positives in that I am disabled and unable to work full time so while it seems like I have a lot of free time compared to my husband and more chances to sit down and do nothing, most of that time it seems like I am doing nothing because I don’t have a lot of “spoons” (a measurement of mental and physical energy used by the disabled community) to spare and I am either in crippling pain or too tired or depressed to do anything productive. My husband doesn’t resent me for it even though I am often concerned that he does.

    • Angharad

      Where one partner is physically less able to cope with work than the other, I think it helps to look at outcome rather than input. E.g. if it takes you two hours to recover from doing a task and being able to enjoy your leisure time while your husband is able to move straight from work to leisure, then you need to be finishing 2 hours before him, so that you both get to enjoy the same amount of time off. It’s all about finding the right balance. My husband & I both have intermittent health issues, so sometimes one of us has more energy and sometimes the other – we aim to make sure that we both have the same amount of energy to give to our free time, so sometimes that will mean the one who is struggling most finishing household chores an hour before the other, so that they have an extra hour to rest so we can both start to enjoy our free time at the same point. Does that make sense?

      • Natasha

        Yeah, that does make sense and I appreciate your feedback. I talked to my husband about this and he doesn’t resent me at all and knows I am doing my best. As long as he doesn’t resent me or feels overwhelmed, I am fine. Both of us being disabled with chronic health issues means that it is hard to get stuff done in a timely manner, but we do our best.

      • Sad

        Angharad I wish my exhusband had that view. Then he wouldn’t be my exhusband. But then again, he expected me to do all the housework despite having physical disabilities and chronic illness, even when I was doing longer hours of work outside the house and even when I was recovering from surgery (and still trying to work). His view was he earned twice as much per hour than me and I had time off paid while in hospital after surgery, so I had to “make up” my “lack of contributing financially”. And for example, if he could do his version of “cleaning” the house in an hour but it took me 10+ hours due to my disabilities and because I did it actually clean, he’d only see it as one hour’s worth of effort and would also mock me needing a day or two to recover. It got so bad that in our last year together that I would be doing housework on work nights until around 3-4am, then get up at 7am to our toddler, while he would play computer games from 6pm until midnight and then go to bed. Leaving leftovers and dirty dishes etc for me to do. He would then only wake up at 8am, after I got the kids up and ready, only just in time for me to race out the door for work (and often he would make me late as I couldn’t leave the kids unsupervised and it was struggle to get him to get up and take over looking after them until childcare opened at 8:30). I worked a lot further from home than he did. I tried everything to sort it out, looked for earlier childcare, looked for a job closer to home, looked for a better paying job, asked our church for help, begged him to let me hire a cleaner but his view was child rearing and housework was a women’s job but that a woman also had to contribute financially and disability is “no excuse”. He was and is very entitled and sees nothing wrong with it.

        • Anna G

          Wow, what a jerk. I’m glad you’re away from him now.
          Saying a prayer for you and your kids. May God bless and protect you.

  12. Chris

    On the list of questions, #6 is the toughest one for me to answer. My wife stopped working to be home when our son was a year old, and like a lot of stay at home moms, she’s become the kids’ default parent. Our son is 7 now and we can typically redirect him to me but he definitely goes to her first even when I am home. Our daughter is freshly 3, and still in a phase where only Mom will do fairly often. So, when we’re both home, does she deal with more kid stuff than I do? Yes, and I think that frustrates her, but I can’t figure out how to get the kid(s) to be satisfied with me and let their mother be without her leaving the house or me taking the kids out of the house, which isn’t always practical.

    • Chris

      Number 2 is tricky as well. When my wife and I talk, it’s often apparent that she sees the time I am in the office as me getting a “break” and not me doing the paid work that’s required to have a functioning household. So, I go to a stressful and unsatisfying job, but the expectation is that I come home and dive in to give her some relief from the kids and the housework. I end up struggling to find time for a break for myself and feeling guilty when I ask for one because it’s clear she’s not excited about dealing with the kids on her own when I could be home helping.

    • Sheila Wray Gregoire

      That’s a great question, and I certainly faced this too. Maybe I’ll put this up on Facebook later to see what people say! I think the big thing is to adopt one routine that happens everyday that you do. Maybe you’re the one who gives the kids their bath and puts them to bed. Maybe you’re the one who reads them stories after dinner. Maybe you’re the one who gets them breakfast and sits with them and talks with them. If there’s something consistent where you’re the main person everyday for a period of time, then that can change the dynamic. Maybe that would work?


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