Working women with lazy husbands: What to do?

22 Aug 2023 12:00pm
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX
Pix for illustration purpose only. - FILE PIX

SHAH ALAM - The journey towards marriage is often painted with a rosy hue, where partners' true qualities remain partly veiled until the union is formalised.

However, the predicament of women dealing with husbands who exhibit an overly reliant behavior on their mothers, sometimes termed 'mother's son,' can turn into a persistent issue that jeopardises marital happiness.

In today's world, the paradigm of working women has shifted, and the statistics reflect this change. As per a report by the market research firm TA Securities, the women's labor force participation rate in Malaysia was noted to be 55.5 per cent in 2021.

Factors such as pursuing education and the economic demands of the family contribute to women's increasing presence in the workforce, working 9am to 5pm like their male counterparts.

This shift entails a shared responsibility of managing households and childcare with their partners.

While some husbands readily contribute and share the domestic load, others perceive these responsibilities solely as their wives' duty. Consequently, many women find themselves battling feelings of depression and even sacrificing their careers to meet both household and maternal expectations.

Counselor, Consultant Mental Fitness Coach Shamzye Aims Counseling, and Certified Anger Management Specialist, Dr Norisham Abdul Ghani highlights the importance of distinguishing between laziness and lack of knowledge when assessing one's partner's actions.

"Understanding the difference between genuine laziness and unfamiliarity with a task is essential.

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"Sometimes, a lack of knowledge might lead to the partner's reluctance to take on a task. This distinction can often be a source of contention in a relationship," she said.

Facing a partner with this tendency, Dr Norisham suggests the following steps:

  1. Start with simpler tasks to gradually engage the partner, like washing dishes.
  2. Consider the emotional aspect, as task avoidance might stem from stress or mood disturbances.
  3. Transform the task into a shared routine. Assign responsibilities such as taking out the trash and ensure they're consistently executed.
  4. Effective communication is pivotal. Open dialogue prevents misunderstandings and potential conflicts.

The cultural practice of couples residing with parents even after marriage introduces additional complexities.

Despite advantages, such arrangements often lead to elder parents taking on household responsibilities, creating an imbalance.

This scenario can be compounded when wives shoulder the entire domestic burden.

Dr Norisham advises against silence and encourages dialogue:

"If in-law communication proves challenging, confide in others. Suppressing issues can lead to physical exhaustion and emotional turmoil," she said.

Over time, traditional gender roles in household management have evolved. To address these changes, Dr Norisham recommends:

  1. Engage both partners in managing household tasks and pinpoint the root of apparent laziness.
  2. Wives should introspect whether their desire for a tidy home is stronger. Taking the initiative can offer gratification.

Enjoy the process! Every household have its own test. Like pulling hair in flour, every couple must solve problems in a wise way without harming either party.

Hopefully, with the tips and insights from these experts, women will be able to resolve the tangles and burdens they bear, thus avoiding the marriage of love to continue to be beautiful and harmonious.