Communication in a marriage can mean a number of different things.  It can mean not holding a grudge (talking it out), sharing feelings about potential miscommunications, or even withholding information (ex: a purchase that should not have occurred). 

A little background….

I always wanted to be a stay at home mom.  I wanted to raise a family and run a household.  Nothing else really.  I still feel that way at times although I do feel fulfilled by a few things I love to do on my own. 

In the beginning, it was pretty rough.  I felt as if all the housework fell on me.  I was working full time but then also suddenly had this household to run in my spare time.  Needless to say I started to burn out. 

I didn’t communicate to my husband that I was exhausted and needed help.  I should have.

Instead I started to feel resentful.  My husband didn’t know I needed help.  I hadn’t communicated this to him.  I kept my feelings to myself hoping and praying that he’d ‘see’ that I could use a hand.  Well, he never did see it.  I wanted him to read my mind and know exactly what I needed. - My husband is not a mind reader. My husband is not a mind reader. My husband is not a mind reader.

To him, he figured if I needed help I’d ask.  Yes, that does make perfect sense.  Am I the only one that wishes their husband would just figure it out?  I hope I’m not the only one.

Here was my beef. 

Let’s start with a show of hands.  Does your man notice when the toilet needs to be cleaned, remember the last time the sheets were changed, or even think about cleaning out the fridge?  Mine didn’t either. 

He hadn’t had this experience before either, yet I somehow expected him to jump into and know what it took to run a household.  As women, I think we see things that need to be done while guys tend to wait until someone asks them to do it.

So we’d go round and round about why he didn’t notice that the garbage can was filled to the brim.  We’d argue about why he couldn’t see that the bathtub needed to be cleaned out.  I’d sit in silence and fume about all the things that needed to be done yet I’d say nothing about it. 

I didn’t want to be his mother and by giving him ‘chores’ but I felt this was what our relationship had become.  So, I waited and fumed. 

In a marriage, I can tell you this: silence is NOT the answer.  <– Tweet this

So fast-forward almost 12 years.  We have figured out what works for us.  It took us a few years after we got married then once we had kids we had to figure out the new responsibilities too. 

So…here is what works for us communication-wise. 


After multiple arguments about him not helping as much and my not volunteering that I actually needed help, we finally  have a system. 

I create a to-do list of things that need to be done.  We have one list of items that we each pick and choose from, then cross off when we’ve completed them.

I no longer feel like I’m the mom giving him chores.  He feels more organized that he knows what he can work on to help out around the house.  It’s a win-win. 

It works for us.  It works really well in fact!!  It works so well that he doesn’t use the list as much.  He now notices when things need to be cleaned, straightened, or fixed. 

If you are newly married, take it from me.  It does get better!   It’s an adjustment period for both of you. 

Oftentimes we want our knight in shining armor to be perfect.  We want him to know our every need, cater to each and every one of our moods, and have no imperfections of his own.

Obviously this is not reality.  If it were, I think life would be pretty boring!!

Is expecting your husband to read your mind something you need to work on too?  I’d love to know I’m not alone! 


I’m linking up with some amazing ladies for this series on marriage.  

Take a moment to read each and every one of them and let us know if you learned something along the way!! 

Kayse @

Monica @ Elevate Ideas

Emily @ Primitive Roads

Jamie @ Brown Paper and Strings

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11 comments on “Communication {How to Maintain Your High-Maintenance Marriage}

  1. Pingback: Communication {How to Maintain Your High Maintenance Marriage :: Week 1} - kayse pratt

  2. Pingback: Maintain Your High Maintenance Marriage (Week 1: Communication) | elevate ideas.

  3. Monica

    Love this, Kelly! My husband also told me early on that if I needed help, all I had to do was ask and he’d gladly do whatever, but that he had no idea if I didn’t speak up. So hard for me still (why??) but I just adore your system, and am totally stealing it!

    1. Exceptionalistic Post author

      Thanks Monica! It took us several years to figure it out but it works for us. Steal away :-) And by the way, I was told the same but my stubbornness set in and that was that!

  4. Pingback: The Communication Dance - Brown Paper and Strings

  5. Kayse

    My husband is NOT a mind reader.

    I have to remember that EVERY DAY!!! :)

  6. Lori

    Great insight – it’s always a learning curve, isn’t it?

    We’re in an alternate reality. My husband is now working from home and HE is the one cleaning and putting away things (even as I’m using them). It’s an adjustment to no longer be the one solely responsible to decide what needs to be done and WHEN… :-)

    Marriage is always interesting, huh? ;-)

  7. Emily

    I learned that husbands aren’t mind readers from my mom and step-dad, although acting on that knowledge is way different from just knowing it. I’m newly married and this has definitely been a learning curve area for us. Thanks for the encouragement, Kelly!

    1. Exceptionalistic Post author

      Isn’t it sometimes strange that we know it but yet we still want them to do it? I’m happy you know this so early in your marriage!

  8. Pingback: Lessons on Marriage from the Garden « Auntie Em's Guide to Life

  9. Pingback: The Reluctant Communicator - Primitive Roads

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