Procrastinating Spouse

The Big Idea

A blog subscriber asked this question: how do I deal with a spouse who procrastinates and can't make a decision?

The Teaching

It is important to find a new way to deal with this issue, because anger and resentment build up and can destroy a marriage. 

The key is to stop reminding and nagging your spouse to do something or to make a decision. This just increases his(or her)resistance and it continues the dysfunctional game:      

                                      you nag. . . . . he forgets                                       you remind. . . . . he stalls                                               you get angry. . . . . he blames you for your reaction

Sit down with your procrastinating spouse and say:  "I have a new plan to deal with your procrastination.  This plan will keep me from getting angry, bitter, and losing respect and love for you.  I will ask you one time to do a task and we will agree on a deadline.  If you miss the deadline, I will say nothing.  I will immediately do it myself or get a friend or neighbor to do it or hire it done.  I will not be angry because I am tired of being angry."

If he is embarrassed or angry because you got someone else to do a job he agreed to do, good.  He is angry for a change, not you.  And, this embarrassment and anger may motivate him to do more jobs on time.  If not, that's fine.  You will continue to get someone else  to do the jobs. 

Use the same plan for decisions. Tell him you will give your input on a decision, you will ask for his input, and you will give him a deadline to make a decision with you.  If he misses the deadline-which he will-you will make the decision you think is best.  If he doesn't like you making decisions, then he can stop being indecisive and work with you on decisions in a timely manner. 

Unless you unconsciously enjoy your nagging role, this new plan has a good chance to make you happier and, maybe, to motivate your spouse to make changes.  

If you have an issue or question you would like me to address in a blog, email it to me at:  davideclarkephd@gmail.com


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