7 Ways to Deal With a Procrastinating Husband Without Losing Your Mind 2

7 Ways to Deal With a Procrastinating Husband Without Losing Your Mind

How do you deal with a procrastinating husband? Do you try to nag him into submission?

You nag and nag. But he doesn’t change.

(When you repeat a complaint or request over and over and over, it’s called nagging.)

You’ve asked him three times this week to take out the trash. But the overflowing bin still sits in the same place, stinking up the kitchen.

The more you ask, the more he resists.

Complainer vs. Procrastinator

You’re ticked, and it’s game on: The Complainer vs The Procrastinator.

No one’s going to win.

David and Teresa Ferguson in Intimate Encounters* say the “Complainer and the Procrastinator” is a marital game. And marital games are driven by unmet emotional needs.


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Yes, procrastination is a response to something he’s lacking.

He doesn’t lack arms. You just want him to Take. Out. The. Trash.

I get it. But it’s more complicated than that. Instead of telling you how your “demands” or complaints make him feel, he ignores your request. He might not be aware he’s doing it.

Early in my marriage, I used relationship-repelling patterns of behavior. Instead of telling my husband what I needed, I’d play emotional games to get it. Sometimes I wasn’t even aware of it.

So how do you “fix” a procrastinating husband?

Complaining Won’t Change Him


Complaining won’t “fix” him.

He may seem like an uncaring, lazy bum, but he’s responding in the way he’s used to responding when he feels like someone’s bossing him around.

It seems like a simple thing, but he established patterns of relating to people way before he met you. And yours were established before you met him.


Learn about his family


If your husband grew up in a household where excessive complaining or controlling was common, he may not respond well when you complain or make requests he thinks are controlling, whether they’re controlling or not.

You may think his response means he doesn’t care about what you want or he’s ignoring you.

In reality, he may not be responding to you at all. He may be “responding” or mimicking the behavior of his controlling father or complaining mother. He’s using the only method he knows.

Don’t try to psychoanalyze him and pretend you’re his therapist.

That’ll probably make him mad. But when you begin to understand why he responds the way he does, you can make an effort to respond differently instead of getting mad or feeling hurt.

People usually “play” games because that’s all they know. That’s how they’re used to trying to get their needs met.

Marital games are never fun, and there’s never a winner. They only up the ante on negative emotions.

God created us with emotional intimacy needs. He also provides ways to get them met.

Your “lazy” husband might feel unappreciated.


7 Ways to Deal With a Procrastinator Without Losing It


Here are seven ways you can live with a procrastinator without losing your mind:

1. Accept you can’t change him.
2. Decide not to get angry, bitter or nag.
3. When he procrastinates, clarify your request–Honey, will you take care of the trash when you get home today?
4. If he agrees but still doesn’t follow through, gently and lovingly point out it hasn’t been done and give him a timeframe–I can take care of the trash tomorrow if you can’t get to it tonight.
5. If he still doesn’t follow through, then:

  • Do it yourself (without bitterness)
  • Hire someone, if you can’t do it (without bitterness)
  • Let it remain undone, especially if the consequences will affect him

6. If he’s willing to talk, ask him to tell you how your request makes him feel.
7. Ask God to help you both understand your emotional needs and give you a desire to meet them for one another.

Set aside some time to talk about your needs. You may discover learning about his childhood and understanding yours does wonders for your marriage.

How might your emotional needs be affecting your marriage?

*Source: Intimate Encounters by David and Teresa Ferguson.

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48 thoughts on “7 Ways to Deal With a Procrastinating Husband Without Losing Your Mind”

  1. This is terrible advice. This will constitute nagging to a husband. Women should ask for what they want and choose faith over fear!

    1. I agree, Mary, we should always choose faith over fear. I’m certainly not encouraging nagging. I’m not quite sure how that message came through. Asking for what you want is a great way to approach a situation, but a soft touch is usually more effective than a heavy hand.

      1. Agreed Sheila. Not sure how this translated into nagging. I’m married 14 years now, and have learned when my well-meaning hubby procrastinates, I take care of it myself. Most times, I don’t even ask him. I just do it. For at least the past couple of years, he offers to either help or does it on his own. No nagging, no anger or pouting.

        1. That’s great, Leeanna. It took me a while to learn that lesson. Unfortunately, constant asking or complaining translates to nagging for lots of men. It may not be “nagging,” but it’s important to understand how he receives it. I love your approach with your husband. We can learn a lot from you. Thank you for sharing.

        2. There is No such word as nagging. This was a nasty word invented by men to shut women down

          Hows about the man do a chore or task in first place like an adult. Then the woman would not need to keep asking him.

          Again …shame on you…

    2. Typical. Another article telling the woman she must change and how etc etc. So your giving women even more work to do. Shame on you.

      When we start seeing articles telling these lazy husbands they need to change, only then we will see equality in the home…

  2. “Do it yourself without bitterness.”
    Really? Are you kidding me?
    If I have to do everything myself then this really isn’t much of a marriage or partnership is it?!
    How come whenever he asks me to do something, I do it. Period. I do it because I respect him. He asked, I do it. It’s that simple.
    Why is it that he’s allowed to call it procrastination? Where’s the respect in that? THAT “reason” is just a cop out.
    Plain and simple.
    The trash is over flowing, I say “please take out the trash.” He should love & respect me enough to do because I asked him to as I would do for him. Not act like a baby because he feels “bossed” around. My God grow up & get over it! There’s always someone in our world telling us what to do! The police, our employer, the judge, etc.
    Get over it! It’s called life! It’s called being an adult!

    1. I understand how you feel, Mary. It can be aggravating and frustrating when your husband procrastinates. I write from my own experiences. After 34 years of marriage, I’ve found some tactics are more effective than others. Sometimes in marriage, we have to do more than our share. That’s part of it. I wish it was as simple as “he should love and respect me enough to do it.” Ultimately, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Give this technique a try and let me know how it goes.

      1. Hi,
        What if what he is procrastinating on is launching a business. I can’t do it for him, though I have offered to help. It’s been two years…..It’s always, ‘it will launch in a couple of months.’ Then he doesn’t do anything sometimes for months. I’ve tried every. single. tactic. This business has cost us a huge chunk of money. He doesn’t otherwise work, we are older and it’s all we have. This business has huge potential and at the very least will take care of us for our retirement. Everything is riding on it and it’s almost done. But he just can’t finish it and I’m scared. And I can’t do it for him. What then?

        1. Procrastination can be frustrating, Linda. Have you considered suggesting he talk his plan over with friend to break it down into smaller steps? Sometimes when a project seems so big, it’s hard for some people to get started. Breaking it down into bite-sized pieces can help. It’s the old adage–How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

    2. Michelle Sledge

      I agree 💯 percent with you. I have asked for simple things to be done around the house. Take out the trash, pick up your clothes instead of leaving them on the floor after I have cleaned, put your dish in the dishwasher and don’t leave it in the sink. I ask nicely for months and months. Now I do it all myself and THAT is not a partnership. When he needs something done it’s done. I don’t get the same in return. Why should we just settle for that. I don’t see God in that at all.

      1. Michelle,

        I understand your frustration. We all want to feel valued. I know it doesn’t feel fair. I don’t see your situation as “just settling.” I see God in it. You are behaving in a Christ-like manner towards your husband, even though you may feel he doesn’t deserve it. God is refining you. That is a good thing and a hard one. No one wants to hear that when we are in the middle of a hard time. But you are glorifying God through your actions. If you have children, you are setting an example of love and obedience to Christ for them. I will be praying for your marriage.

    3. You couldn’t have said it better… I feel like I get punched in the gut every time he says he’ll take care of things and then to find out he hasn’t or never planned to. I feel disrespected and lied to.
      After 20 years of marriage and gentle nudges we haven’t progressed. We have missed out on important things and events because of his PROCRASTINATION! He says our time tables are not the same. It took him 18 years to decide if he should cut down a trash tree or not. When he finally did , he responded…’I should have done this years ago”. Really?

      1. Jodie,

        Procrastination is a hard one. It can be frustrating. You sound like you have incredible patience. I pray you continue to have patience and God would place a spirit of urgency in your husband.

  3. Wow. This was shocking. This article… It is as if you started to explain something, but then you stopped. And then you started again.. and stopped.. and then suddenly you listed “7 Ways to Deal With a Procrastinator Without Losing It”… and what I read shocked me. These are steps that should be taken in the first week of said behavior. To actually promote these steps as constructive techniques to deal with the behavior stated is dangerous and encourages toxic behavior within a relationship! And then your final advice was to give it to God?! Your article is All Over the Place!!! It is extremely disjointed. What is your intention here? In no way are you attempting to empower women. Your advice is superficial and weak. This article is full of passive aggressive techniques. You are encouraging women to live a life of quiet desperation. Please, Go Many Steps Further. I was googling the term “task-avoidance” for research, and somehow this blog came up at the top of google. I have no idea how you made it there. This is a dangerous article that lacks depth, compassion, insight and an empowered woman’s perspective in the year 2020. I implore you to do more internal reflection and attempt to rewrite this article. Sheila, You Can Do Better.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. Michelle, I write from a godly woman’s perspective. A godly woman is an empowered woman, no matter the year. My intention is to offer women a different perspective in dealing with procrastinating husbands, not encourage passive-aggressive behavior or “living in desperation.” My final advice is always “give it to God.” Actually that would be my first and most helpful piece of advice. I’d be more than happy to hear your suggestions for dealing with a procrastinating husband. Please shoot me an email!

      1. In my experience, “giving it to God” doesn’t help much when it comes to convincing someone to do what they would rather let someone else do for them. God doesn’t come and do it, either.

        But, good luck with that.

          1. Deborah,

            I can imagine how frustrated you must feel. Dealing with a procrastinator is not easy. Have you considered speaking with a pastor or therapist to talk about how you feel and possible coping mechanisms?

    1. I think you are probably frustrated because the author didn’t take the bait and sink to your level. You were very rude and critical of her article without offering any alternatives. Those of us who are married to men like this know that constant requests will indeed just be seen as nagging and ultimatums will make things worse. Women are between a rock and a hard place and the best method sometimes for personal sanity and a successful marriage is to take the higher road and do it yourself or let him realize the repercussions himself vs making demands and turning into mom, which unfortunately makes things worse. Obviously if there is a systematic problem with him not doing his part then counseling may be in order, but for the random task here and there, this could be the best way. I appreciate her godly approach and the suggestions in this article.

  4. What if I can’t do it myself and letting it remain undone will only affect me?
    You say to hire someone. The problem I’ve found is that men don’t like other people to do for their wives. Somehow their ego takes a hit and it becomes a problem. If I call to get it done, he doesnt like that someone else (especially if its another man) comes and does it. Then he’s upset with me.
    A good example involves my car. It broke down a few days ago. My husband fancies himself a handy man and wants to fix the issue himself. He hasnt done it to this day and I’m without a vehicle unable to drive myself to work and run my errands. Its a huge inconvenience. I’ve tried not to nag him about it. Before we got married it was easy to just call the garage to have it fixed. He seems to feel no one else can do it better than he can and that his way is less expensive. If I go ahead and have someone fix it he’ll be offended. Plus I’ll feel like I went behind his back in a way.
    I appreciate your post, but what do I do then?

    1. To shari: I’m sorry for your issue about your car but I noticed in your article you don’t mention if he drives you everywhere? If that’s the case maybe he wants to and keeping car out of service is his way to do this . If it ‘s not and you have to get transportation other ways then I would have a talk and let him know that you need your ride and what can you both do about it . Maybe he’ll work on it with you and you can share the experience;). Hope this is helpful.

    2. I think that you hiring someone else is a necessary outcome if he is not able to get it done for you in a timely fashion. I think you should be upfront about it and ask politely for him to fix the car for you and explain how it is affecting you, if he still doesn’t take care of it after a couple of weeks, I think you just say nicely like before the weekend “honey, I really need my car fixed so that I can get to work, so I’m contacting the repairman on Monday.” That way either he gets it done that weekend or you follow through and call on Monday. Since you gave him ample opportunity and fair warning of your plans, I don’t think you should feel bad.

    3. You contact the garage and tell your husband you didn’t wish to burden him as he was obviously too busy to handle it in the timeframe you needed the car fixed by.
      Suggest he attend therapy if his feelings are hurt so he can learn time management techniques to assist him in completing these tasks on time. You cannot be without a vehicle for the sake of his ego.

  5. Horrible advice that needs to be removed from the top search. My husband will not, I repeat will not go to the doctors for his serious medical condition. After two months we had a heart to heart and he opened up with tears. He was afraid. I knew that he was scared. We
    So I decided to look up advice from the internet to see what is out there. This whole, “Take the trash out scenario,” is so beyond lame.

  6. Not necessarily. I believe a spouse should be allowed to approach issues needing approached. Pray through it. Oftentimes, if the husband is seeing a wife’s repeatedly request something, and gets mad about it, he needs an attitude adjustment. They just have to work it out. Overall, I do not agree it is terrible advice.

  7. Sheila,
    From one Godly woman to another. I appreciate you and your article so much. While my flesh absolutely hates most things about this article( mostly because it asks me to give up control and give it to God), my spirit knows where you are coming from and also knows that this is the right answer. I commend you for responding to such angry and critiques with grace and love. I cannot imagine having to read such hate-filled responses (that probably have nothing to do with you and more to do with these women’s own frustrations). You are an inspiration, love! It’s no small task to talk and teach o godly women and submission to women today( especially when the word submission translates to an immediate temper-tantrum from feminist…its mostly because these ladies do not truly understand that submission is called for from both husband and wife). God bless you, beautiful lady! Keep writing, and growing in faith.

  8. Typical. Another article telling the woman she must change and how etc etc. So your giving women even more work to do. Shame on you.

    When we start seeing articles telling these lazy husbands they need to change, only then we will see equality in the home…

    1. Asha,

      Our mission here is to help wives be the best they can be. We’re not trying to achieve equality in the home because we can only change ourselves. And, I believe nagging does exist. Proverbs 21:9–better to live on a corner of the roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

  9. Sheila,

    Thank you for writing this article. Your advice isn’t what many women want to hear, but it is sound advice. Harriet Lerner gives similar advice in her book The Dance of Anger. We can’t change others, but we can change the way that we react to others. You gave solutions for how to react when nagging isn’t productive.

    It’s annoying to have to do something that our husbands should have done, but I have found that if I do it from a place of love, then my husband grateful and I’m less resentful. I then start to notice the things he does for me. I have started to let some things linger without nagging or doing them myself. This is the best solution when I know that doing things myself will lead to resentment. If he procrastinates on a work project, I don’t give him an “out” by rescheduling plans so that he has extra time to work. He has to live with the consequences, which leads to less procrastination in the future.

  10. Lynn Wigglesworth

    “Just do it yourself”. Right. I did that for years. It was easier than my constant asking him to do things. After a while, I was doing literally everything while he sat surfing the web. Sorry, I couldn’t manage the “without bitterness” part. We’re divorced.

  11. Hello, thank you for this article. Dealing with a procrastinating husband is very difficult. To be very honest, if my response to the situation or my husband isn’t the proper one, my flesh can get the best of me. Please pray for me. I murmur under my breath a lot. I pray a lot. It’s a struggle. I can call this severe procrastination because it’s as if things are being totally ignored. There is a psychological component to this as well as a self-esteem component. The only way to win is God’s way. I refuse to allow the enemy to steal my joy, peace, and sanity! I give it to God!

  12. Procrastination is a number one passive-aggressive technique, which is a form of emotional abuse. It’s very abusive to not keep promises, deadlines, and commitments after giving your word you would do so. Many PA’s will smile and say yes, and even nod in agreement, all the while covertly undermining progress, procrastinating, stonewalling, and refusing to do what is requested of them. It’s a form of hidden anger that shouldn’t be tolerated. A person using PA techniques and procrastination should seek therapy to change their behavior as it will impact negatively on their close relationships.

  13. Tanisha Hawkins-Vercher

    Thank you for your post. My husband works my last nerve with being the biggest “procrastinator” but I’ve learned to do things on my own. I feel empowered doing those things again because before him I was handling everything on my own. I will say in my moments when I feel I am becoming frustrated I was say this bible verse.

    1 Corinthians 13:4-8
    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

    So I say the small things aren’t worth getting upset over. I understand coming from a Christian perspective and a God fearing woman.

  14. This is bs advice just hope he will do what you’ve asked him repeatedly. it’s not belittling to do your part in the relationship, I hate how some ppl wanna justify someone’s attitude about doing one simple thing for your partner as a huge complicated issue that stems from a long list of bs leaving the blame on these ppl parents smh sorry. He’s a lazy jerk and whoever takes the trash out n his ill conceived mind loses, Is how he sees it…. Crazy

  15. I need prayer. I ask my husband to do stuff all the time and he procrastinates. Like I asked him to take the trashcans back to the house. They stayed at the end of driveway for almost a week. Finally I did it…. I asked him to put together a crib for our baby. He waited a couple days and I just suggested that my brother in law help and my husband flew off the handle calling me disrespectful. I honestly just wanted it done.. I’m asking the Lord to give me strength and help me to do some of these things without offending him. I’m a stay at home mom and it’s so hard without help or just waiting for things to be done that I know will never get done. I don’t want to nag or complain, but it’s so hard when all you see are tons of half projects sitting around the house…

    1. Praying for you, Veronica. That’s a tough spot. You are gracious for not wanting to offend him. Have you considered talking to a pastor or therapist to try to get at the underlying issue?

  16. I often end up doing things myself and being fed up because I have to do so much. Quite frankly, sometimes you just have to hire someone in to help. Sometimes if I explain we need someone to do x, he is ok with it. Sometimes he still wants to do it himself or is resistant but I’m afraid if he hasn’t done it himself by a certain time and I have given him the opportunity, then if he is upset or angry when 8 go ahead – really, thats not my problem. The solution was in his hands. He could have done it himself. If he doesn’t, then he just has to be angry and deal with that. What he cannot do is simply expect me to never do anything either to avoid making him angry – that would be enabling him and giving in to manipulation. And what I need, and what our family needs, is important. God says we need to love others as we love ourselves, which to me translates I to self-respect – and self-respect means standing up for my family’s needs and not allowing a destructive behaviour to get in the way.

    1. Louise,

      I can hear the frustration in your comments. It sounds like you are trying to balance respecting your husband with the needs of your family. The needs of your family and you are important. Your approach sounds like it is effective–you’re getting things done with minimal conflict.

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