Why Husbands Take Their Time Taking Out The Trash

BY: - 11 Jul '11 | Relationships

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In marriage, who are the better communicators – men or women?

Most of you probably thought “women” as you were reading the question. The question that needs to be asked then is what are the reasons behind men being poor communicators in their marriages? This lack of communication can cause many problems. Wives don’t “get” their husbands. Husbands brand their wives need to be heard as nagging and inadvertently retaliate by growing distant — in both word and deed.

A common joke revolves around husbands not taking out the garbage or taking too long to do so. Wives brand it as general laziness. Husbands get indignant about it. It is no joking matter at all. Taking issue with not taking out the trash speaks to the larger and more consuming belief by wives (real or imagined) is  that they don’t feel appreciated/taken care of/loved in their relationships. If this is allowed to fester for too long, any hope of having a happy and healthy marriage evaporates and the death of the relationship becomes inevitable. So why not just nip all this drama in the bud before it happens? Is it that hard to talk about it?

The short answer is yes.

Passive Aggressive Husbands
Passive-aggressive Behavior is described as a personality trait that is a cocktail of negative thoughts and feelings mixed with passive behavior, an obvious but denied (by the person doing it) resistance to work with others. It is an unbelievably destructive and manifests itself in a number of ways some of them being helplessness, procrastination, being generally moody and what is perceived as being unable to meet and fulfill requests, such as taking out garbage, planning vacations, paying bills on time, etc.

Passive aggressive behavior typically has its roots in a person’s past. For men:

“…when a man was a child, …if he had a need, and was feeling it keenly, what happened when he expressed it? If he was guilt-tripped for being too ‘needy,’ shamed for being a baby or a whiner, he probably taught himself to just shut up when he needed something from other people. In order not to feel pity for himself, he would have then taught himself that repressing emotions and sucking things up was an admirable trait ““ a feat of skill, something only a manly man could achieve.

“A future passive aggressive man, in order to learn how to control himself and not open up, would have shown his frustration in ambiguous ways, like falling behind in school, even if he was very smart.” (Source: PR.com)

As a boy I sought the approval of my peers so badly I did so at the expense of my own wants and desires. I didn’t want to appear whiny if I disagreed. At the beginning of my marriage I thought it was best to agree with my wife, even when I didn’t agree, to keep the peace and to keep her happy. Almost immediately I began self-sabotaging the things I “agreed” to by becoming uncontrollably and inexplicably angry when it came time to do them or I simply didn’t do them at all or put them off until a war erupted between us.

Quickly my wife came to believe I was incapable of making any decisions and taking action for myself or the family. I had no idea what she was talking about and thought she was the most ungrateful woman on the planet. It got so bad that we had to seek counseling.

When the smoke cleared I was told I needed to stop agreeing and start speaking my mind, no matter the consequences. I was doing more harm than good keeping my wants to myself. I didn’t like being told that I feared disappointing others and avoided conflict. But sometimes the truth is a bitter pill to swallow.

Men are quick to dismiss, often unwilling to self-address their issues and highly unwilling to be called out on them by anyone, especially a woman, even if that woman happens to be the one they married. But if something doesn’t give, the marriage will.

How Do You Know if You’re Passive Aggressive?
I recently discovered a great website called the Passive Aggressive Test. They have a short online quiz that will determine if you are passive aggressive in your marriage. I took the test and got mixed results. I’m halfway in the clear, but still need to do more to express myself to my wife.

If you feel your woman constantly says you don’t do anything and you know you are tuning her out and doing what you want to do, I would strongly encourage you to take this test. In my opinion it’s the first step to getting back on track. The test is private and an algorithm will tell you about yourself. Not a person. There’s no harm in finding out. This way you’ll be informed as to what steps to take next.   The harm exists if you discover you do exhibit PA behavior and you continue to allow it to cause conflict in your marriage.

Wives, do you think your husbands suffer from passive aggressive behavior? Have you tried to talk to them about it? Husbands, as the man of the house, do you think your wives should accept you as you are, or do you believe there is room for improvement? Does trust factor into your unwillingness to talk?

About the author

Eric Payne wrote 83 articles on this blog.

Named a Top 50 Dad Blogger in 2011 by Cision Media & awarded Top 50 Dad Blog in 2011 and 2012 by Babble.com, Eric writes about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between on his blog MakesMeWannaHoller.com. He speaks around the country about social media and blogging. He is the author of "DAD: As Easy As A, B, C!" and is a regular on CNN's Headline News station and the Jennifer Keitt show on KISS 104.1 FM Atlanta.


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8 WordPress comments on “Why Husbands Take Their Time Taking Out The Trash

  1. Pknight41

    I’ve read studies  that  conclude that the  quality of many  black marriages is  low.   The studies are inconclusive as to the  causes.    My strong belief is that  passive aggressive behavior  on the part of  husbands  is the number one problem leading to poor marital quality and divorce.  

    This article, if taken seriously, has the ability to tear down the walls that separate us!   Thanks for giving us the tools to take back what’s been lost!

  2. Martha A. Snowden

    I think that I encounter a lot of passive aggressive behavior on my husbands part and I know he encounters a lot of agggressive and demanding behavior on mine. Im trying to work on me because I can’t do his work for him , but if men want to be taken seriously in a relationship the clearest path to that result is to behave seriously in my opinion.

  3. Norafem

    There is a lot to think and reflect when we look at the tortuous path that makes from a man a passive aggressive partner…This posting is very clear linking childhood influences with present behavior. More and more, in my experience coaching men that have serious challenges in marriage due to the poor communication habits, I find a previous trauma or hurtful incident that taught the child to shut up, don’t express yourself and go along…This mandate still is active in the grown up man mind’s, up until the moment we can challenge this old and useless strategy and begin learning new, grown up ways of connecting with your loved ones.  
    This is not easy; there is a lot of pain, and I commend some men’s willingness to look at themselves and finally ask the question: “What is wrong with me?” Passive aggressive behavior destroys love and hope in a shared future, and leaves people frustrated and alone. Why to do it? Because this is the only communication pattern learned!
    And then, any wife intending to educate her husband about the  abysmal  difference between his behavior and the behavior of a normal, loving spouse, finds a wall of resistance. Ego, self image, pride, all conjures for the man to be blind to the terrible effects of this “clamming up” in front of family dynamics.  
    This blog is a wonderful reservoir of good info about healthy, loving marriages….we need to support and share those ideas, and confront passive aggression as a  cynical, destructive and finally childish defense mechanism against a threat that is not there any more….Now we have more tools to help this man in risk of being rejected by his family to identify his behavior, learn new strategies, and work in trust and love repair in his marriage. When women understand that this behavior is not intentional, but the only way her man has to react to everything happening in his world, perhaps love and compassion can be afforded to walk the way of  personal transformation and marriage healing.

  4. Bibi

    I find ALL of what you wrote to be true in my marriage. But, I think the task is figuring out how to get my husband to take the test.

  5. Neil Warner

    Your question deserves a longer answer…but now, at least remember that he is, finally the guy you fell in love with. Using care and respect, you can say:
    “we are having this conversation about your frustrating behaviors, and I feel we are stuck. Perhaps we could do something as easy as to take an online test? Because, even if we find that you have indeed some passive aggressive behaviors, I will not yell at you. What we can do then, as with any other obstacle to us feeling happy with each other, is to find some solutions to this challenge. You are not responsible for the way your parents raised you, but your childhood has left you with some leftover attitudes that now are hurting us…If we want to be happy together, we need to take care of them.”
    Remember, the whole invitation is based on your ability to remember what a good guy he is, and treat him with respect and love, so he can leave the old shell and be your companion.


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