I have been married for six years but my husband’s poor sense of personal hygiene has been a major setback in our marriage. The problem has grown out of proportion that I no longer want to be intimate with him. Sometimes, he does not even take a bath for days. He believes grooming and maintaining personal hygiene is an insult to his manliness. How do I make him change? Anonymous.
It is true that in most cases women are expected to be neater than men due to the masculine and feminine differences. However, such small things that are consistent can become a source of great disappointment and even cause conflict within the relationship. Since you are dealing with an adult, it is important to remember that you may not be successful in changing another person.
In this case, the opportunity you have is to change the way you tell him about his untidiness. You mentioned that you have been together for six years, I would like to ask you a few personal questions and one of them is, was he like this right from the start? If the problem is growing out of proportion could it be that he has acquired a new behaviour such as over drinking? If yes to the first question, what has helped you cope for all this time?
And if yes to the next question, you will need to encourage him to meet a counsellor with you who will do an assessment and find out if he is also not suffering from something else. Secondly, try to break it down into small parts and address bit by bit at a time than saying everything collectively at once. Attitude is everything when dealing with sensitive issues such as this.
Take care of your own emotions. If you realise you are angry due to his being messy, find other things to do before you approach the issue. Try not to be confrontational by using words such as “Don’t!” Remember anger begets anger. So, put on your happy face when approaching this issue as this will help you get closer to your goal and help keep things positive.
You can also use enablers such as suggesting to bathe together as a way of encouraging him to take a bath on a daily basis. Remember to let love win. I am sure that by choosing to stay with your partner from day one, there are things that attracted you to him. Focus on the good as this will create a good atmosphere for you to look out for what makes both of you happy. Allow him to let you know what makes him happy and when your turn comes, tell him what makes you happy and how you feel when he does not take a bath.
Since the goal is to make your marriage better, then you will need to understand that people can be so different to an extent that what seems so easy for you can be difficult for others. Do not become your spouse’s teacher but instead, offer to support him and also celebrate small achievements as an encouragement of a good habit.
In most cases, what a person observes to be the norm around them is what they follow as that has been their exposure. So, if you are trying to get someone to change their habits of many years it would take them a substantial time even though you may have been pushing for it for the last six years.
According to experts, poor hygiene or infrequent showers can cause a buildup of dead skin cells, dirt, and sweat on your skin. This can trigger acne, and possibly exacerbate conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and eczema. Showering too little can also trigger an imbalance of good and bad bacteria on your skin.
Maybe he is too busy
John Matovu. It is so easy to get wrapped up into how a messy spouse affects your day-to-day life without stopping to think about the potential reasons why they may not be living up to your expectations. For example, maybe your husband works too much and needs to spend the majority of his days off catching up on rest and social obligations. Try to see things from his point of view and look at ‘their way’ as not wrong, but different.
Be upfront and honest Joyce Kunde. In an effort to coax constructive change in a spouse, some people resort to manipulative measures. They leave pamphlets or books around in the hope that their partner will get the hint. Do not take that route. Instead, if you have a concern, assume ownership of your feelings. Voice them candidly and respectfully. Sit down and talk about it. Approach the situation as equal partners and work out an arrangement that is acceptable to both of you.
James Booker. Discuss ways to bring about the desired change. Change is hard for all of us. Let your husband know that you are on his side. Explain your personal need for order and cleanliness in a language he understands. Help him see that this issue has serious implications for your own mental health and the future of your marriage. Enable him to find practical ways to alter the habit.
View it as opportunity
Godfrey Kizito. As you go through this process, try to view it as an opportunity for cooperation rather than conflict. A key to the challenge of marriage is striving to understand each other and seeking to meet each other’s needs. This is a great area in which to put these principles into practice.
Patience Nampa Natie. Talk to him about it. If he does not change, then seek counselling with him or talk to someone he can listen to such as his parents or older siblings.
Samuel Ndoboli. Talk to him intimately. Alert him about how you feel when he does not bathe or brush. At times, invite him to the bathroom so you bathe together, shave his armpits and pubic hair. Buy him deodorants and other hygiene products. Gradually, he will change.
Make it fun
John Canary Walimbwa. Try to talk to him to bathe once every day. As he bathes, follow him with a shaver to clean him up. This is not spoiling him but one way to actually bring back the spark in your marriage.
Tell him the truth
Patricia Aseerait Ekau. Clean your husband and all will be well. Sometimes, the woman has to put in effort, make sure he bathes, wash his clothes including his undergarments, buy him lotion and deodorant. Be frank and tell him that his dirtness is affecting intimacy and ultimately, your marriage.
Evelyn C Kharono Lufafa
Counseling Psychologist Sermo Therapy Consult 0750074412