My Husband Doesn’t Appreciate All the Work I Do at Home

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a part-time worker in my 50s. I’ve been disappointed by my husband as he doesn’t understand how hard I work at home. Our youngest child is away from home at college, leaving us alone, and I’m fed up with us getting old together.

My husband comes home late from work, and we don’t talk much. He often went on business trips when our children were small, so I raised them mostly by myself. I was so tired that sometimes I fell asleep, but my husband would kick me awake when he came home.

One day, I went out after preparing a meal for my husband. After coming home, I asked him, “Did you have any problems with anything?” He replied, “No, everything was very simple.” I felt like I was being told that what I do every day is easy, and I can’t forget how frustrated I felt at the time.

My husband has been promoted at his company, and now I feel he looks down on me. Whenever he tells me that he enjoyed a delicious meal during an overseas business trip, it just sounds to me like he’s bragging. I feel resentful as it reminds me of the time I struggled alone with housework and taking care of our children. Now it’s a little late, but all I want him to say is, “Thank you for all that you do.”


Dear Ms. F:

Now that your youngest has gone off to college and you have come to a point where you and your husband can face each other, your long-standing resentment toward him has welled up once again.

Husbands who don’t respect their wives, who struggle with the household chores and childcare, are not uncommon in Japanese marriages. It is not unusual these days for such husbands to be asked by their wives for a divorce after they retire from work.

But, you have not yet come to that point. Will you be able to get by with some simple words of appreciation?

If so, why don’t you first tell your husband how you really feel? Tell him how lonely you have been and that from now on, you want him to say how much he appreciates you.

If possible, it would be better to discuss things in an environment away from everyday life, such as during a trip or when dining out.

As your husband is the kind of person who would kick you awake, he may not even pay attention if you try to have a serious conversation with him. In such a case, you may need to rethink your future.

I think living with someone who does not respect you is equivalent to being treated like property or being erased from existence.

Please don’t say it’s too late, but instead think, “Now is the time for me to confront my husband.” Doing so also means that you will face your own life.

Masami Ohinata, university president

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 15, 2023)