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.


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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18 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. “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.

  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!

  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?

  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.

    1. When you “pray through it,” I wonder if God would say, “He needs an attitude adjustment?” When I “pray through it” God usually shows me where I can change. I find that I get better outcomes when God speaks to me about my heart/attitude and not someone else’s.

  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.

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