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Lazybones: What to do if the husband does not get off the couch

23.07.2019 Author: Psychologist Pavel Khoroshutin

A classic of the genre: “My friend’s husband is like a stone wall, and my husband constantly needs to be urged and cared for.” Discontent is snowballing, destroying warm feelings and harmonious relations. What to do if a man is lazy? Let’s discuss an important question: whether it is possible to save the marriage, if the head of the family rarely offers itself as an assistant in household chores and child-rearing, and making money does not appear among his life priorities. 


Signs of a lazy man


“I’ve got married only 2 years ago, but I am seriously considering a divorce. We met at university, he was a normal guy. Now I look at my husband and I don’t understand how I couldn’t notice how lazy he was.

He works on a free schedule: if he wants, he goes to work, but if he does not want — he sleeps until lunch. Naturally, because of such sloppiness, his income leaves much to be desired. He does not want to look for a permanent job, says that the current work suits him. He doesn’t help me around the house. Every day the same thing happens — if not at work, the husband sits at the computer all day, while there are a lot of dirty dishes and scattered things around the house. I hear one answer to all my claims  – “if it does not suit you, do it yourself.” I am not strong enough. I understand that I’m turning into a free housekeeper for my husband. I don’t want to live with my lazy husband.”

– Veronica, 25

The constant laziness of a loved one always affects the whole family. A man desires to give up overcoming life’s difficulties and a steady reluctance to make a strong-willed effort over himself to do something. From the psychological point of view, pathological laziness is characterized as a bad habit that prevents a person from self-development. [1]

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The loafer will not lift a finger to improve his financial situation, to compete for the best position at work, to establish relations with a partner, and to make general leisure interesting. Naturally, it is difficult to live and raise children with a loafer.

Lazy man:

  • considers that housework is a purely female duty, so he is not involved in everyday life at all;
  • he often does not have a permanent job and does not aspire to it;
  • he always postpones for later even important matters;
  • he passively rests;
  • he doesn’t want to earn more because he thinks he’s already doing a lot;
  • he blames everyone around him for his failures and failed careers, but he never blames himself;
  • he has no serious hobbies; and
  • he can only make grandiose plans and give away “valuable” advice to everyone around, but he does nothing to achieve his own goals. [2]

Causes of laziness in men


No one is born as a lazybones. You become like this due to external or internal factors. A man can find a lot of excuses for his reluctance to do something. But in fact he is un-initiative and he cannot be relied on.

Psychologists highlight several reasons why a man may be lazy:

  1. Learned behavior pattern 

Everyoneadopts the model of a “normal” familyfrom his parents. If he grew up in a family where his mother took on all the care of the house, he would most likely expect the same from his wife. In fact, in the person of his favored one, a man wants to see his mother, who will solve all his problems. The husband becomes lazy and selfish because he does not know and does not understand that the family should have the other “laws.”

  1. Lack of motivation and goals in life

Psychologists agree that laziness often becomes a consequence of low motivation to achieve a goal. It is not so important what kind of goal it is — to help his wife in household matters or to move up the career ladder. A man is grateful for small favors and sees no point in making even the slightest effort to change his life for the better. [3]

  1. Lack of interest in activities

If a man is engaged in an uninteresting activity, there is a risk that laziness will sooner or later win. The work he doesn’t love is a lot of stress and a complete lack of motivation to do anything. There is an understanding that there is no need to waste so much energy on an activity that causes disgust. [3]

  1. Self-doubt and fear

Laziness often becomes a reliable protective armor that covers self-doubt and fear of any endeavors. Why look for a new good paid job if it is possible to fail in a new business? Arguing in this way, the man is lazy and does not attempt to change something. It is easier for him to lie on the sofa because it is safer — he feels very comfortably with no risk of failure.

Lazy husband: In what cases is the wife to blame?

the wife is to blame

“My husband and I have been married for 15 years. We have a 12-year-old son. Every minute I keep this up makes it worse. I feel like a housekeeper, not a wife and mother.

I have two men in the house, but none of them will lift a finger to do something around the house. They live with board and lodging — they don’t eat if I don’t set the table, they can walk in the dirty clothes if I don’t have time to wash and pat it. it is difficult to find such lazy men like my husband and son. I can’t say they’re busy working outside the house. My husband works for slave wages, without even half trying. Whereas my son studies very poorly, spending free time playing video games.

I understand that I have spoiled them to the extreme. Calm conversations do not help. The households show absolutely no initiative and gratitude. Do I have to accept that my husband and son are lazy or should I do something?”

– Irina, 40

No wonder male laziness upsets women so much. However, in some cases, they exacerbate the situation, cultivating in the chosen one complete lack of initiative and unwillingness to make the slightest effort to achieve the goal. It is difficult to make a lazybone work when not the most “healthy” relationships reign in the family.

What models of female behavior in marriage affect the fact that the husband becomes a “chronic” lazy person and parasite?

Self-sacrifice and obsessive care

Many women set themselves the goal of providing their husband with the best possible “living environment”. It is wonderful to be caring troublesome. However, sometimes it crosses the boundaries of what is permissible — a woman takes on everything on her fragile shoulders. She earns when a lazy husband “seeks his purpose in life” or just spends time in front of the TV. It is the woman who teaches her husband to live with food and lodging found. The man understands that his better half copes with everything itself. Why then help her? He gets used to doing nothing.

Marriage is a team work. All responsibilities must be shared between husband and wife in equal proportions.

Unfounded accusations of “doing nothing”

The husband comes frazzled from work, and right out of the gate angry wife pounces on him with reproaches “you do nothing around the house.” The man receives a portion of accusations of laziness and a loud scandal instead of a delicious dinner and warm hugs. It completely knocks down all good intentions to help. This pattern of behaviour is usually common in women on maternity leave.

Indeed, maternity leave is not the easiest period in a woman’s life. However, it is important to look at the situation objectively. If the husband works for days on end, so that his family does not need anything, he also gets tired. The fact that he does not wash the floors when he comes home in the evening is not laziness or selfishness. Baseless accusations do not motivate him to help with the household.

Constant criticism of inability

“You earn a little,” “you’ve achieved nothing in life,” “you’re not a husband, you’re a whiner and a lazybone” — such criticism humiliates a man. At the very least, it’s unwise to constantly get at a husband and accuse him of the inability to earn money. He takes such criticism very desperately. Sooner or later, he will begin to be lazy. Why should I try when my wife always finds something to complain about?

If a husband goes out of his way to succeed in a career, a woman should understand that constant criticism is not the best support for him. It undermines a man’s self-belief.

To calm down or “treat”: what to do if the husband is lazy?

doing nothing

A woman who has set herself the goal to “re-educate” her lazy husband will have to put a lot of effort and be very patient. First of all, it is necessary to find a reason why the lazy husband does not work and does not help around the house. Is it a marriage model of his mother-father’s relationship, or a defensive reaction to your constant criticism? By and large, the fight against male laziness is like a cure for the disease. There is no point in getting rid of symptoms until the cause of the disease is unknown.

You can continue to criticize your husband, blackmail him with divorce or beg him to correct himself. He may change his behavior. However, it is unknown how long his endurance and willpower will last. It is hardly possible to make a lazy man work if he is not used to doing it. A peaceful dialogue would be a more productive solution to the problem. Talk to your husband about why he is not looking for a new job, what prevents him from achieving his goals, how does he see the distribution of family responsibilities. If your husband is open to dialogue and shows a sincere desire to change, try to support him in subsequent actions. Discuss which direction to go further and convince the man that he can always count on your support. His desire, coupled with your patience, will help to overcome any obstacles.

When laziness is a learned behavior pattern, you can correct the situation by passing the 7Spsy behavior modification course. This is a patented technique based on the theories of I.P. Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, A.A. Ukhtomsky, and others.

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  The course will help you understand the problem and how unproductive and destructive laziness is. You will be able to change the pathological behavior pattern which sets for laziness, prevents you from being proactive and more workable. Replacing negative attitudes with positive ones gives a huge boost to personal development and victory over one’s laziness.

The 7Spsy Behavior Modification Technique training is designed for up to 6 weeks. The training takes place remotely in strict confidentiality mode. A man receives recommendations from a psychologist by phone, e-mail, and online chats. He may not tell his colleagues and friends that he is participating in the training. This is important because it is very difficult for men to admit their weaknesses and vices.


  1. «Rabota i lichnost’. Trudogolizm, perfekcionizm, len’», 2011 g., E. P. Ilyin.
  2. «Kak borot’sya s muzhskoj len’yu. 30 pravil i 20 uprazhnenij», 2012 g., I. Korchagina.
  3. «Psihologicheskie problemy samorealizacii lichnosti», 2004 g., L. A. Korostyleva.