A House and a Home- What Your Husband Wants You to Know


I didn’t get a guest post lined up for the usual “My marriage survived posts” this week (if you have one you would like to contribute, please let me know). Ryan had this great insight that we often talk about in our class that he wanted to share with you and I got to take the night off. Win-win.

Several years ago, I remember my mom making an interesting comment to me. We were talking about the challenges of keeping the house picked up when there are little kids constantly making messes. She said, “Well just remember, no one will walk in your front door and say ‘Geesh, Ryan keeps a messy house!’”

What she was getting at, and what I’ve come to understand much more deeply since then, is that a house means something different to husbands and wives. In general, men tend to see a house as architecture – a structure that needs upkeep, with a lawn that needs fertilizing, and a price tag that requires him to spend most of his time away from it. Alternately, a wife sees a home – a dwelling that holds her family, along with all of its problems, joy, and future aspirations. And as my mom pointed out, others tend to associate the conditions on the outside of a house with the husband, and the conditions inside of the home with the wife.

The reason this is such an important distinction is that houses can be an unrecognized (and sometimes recognized) source of conflict in marriages. Husbands fail to realize that when we help keep the house running smoothly on the inside, we drastically improve the experiences that our wives have there. Additionally, we falsely assume that paying for the house is the goal, when in fact the real goal is to provide a secure, stable environment for our family to grow.

Likewise, wives fail to recognize the tremendous burden that most men feel to pay for and upkeep a house. It often starts during the house-hunting process, when a husband hopes to provide for his wife’s desires without imprisoning himself in a thirty-year mortgage that leaves no opportunity to escape his job should it take a turn for the worse. And beyond the initial purchase, home improvements such as new blinds, updated appliances, etc. can often leave a husband secretly thinking “Will I ever make enough?” The stress of the golden handcuffs can ultimately and ironically compromise a husband’s ability to enjoy life with his family.

All this to say that somewhere in the middle is an opportunity for couples to create a great home… to live at a standard of living that emphasizes freedom over bondage, and to create a shelter from the outside world where the quality of life is more important than the appearance of the residence.


  1. Marquitta says:

    The time I am married with my husband, he already have the house for out future family… I put it in mind that I am the one responsible for running our household smoothly as my husband is there to provide everything with our family. We have now two kids and we are living happily. Whenever there is a problem, we do not end the night with out talking things over.
    Marquitta recently posted…How To Get Rid of Cellulite On Back of ThighsMy Profile

  2. Thank you for this, Ryan. This is exactly what’s been eating at our marriage lately and we’ve both had trouble expressing our point of view. I think now we’ve got a GREAT start to one of those “fun’ discusiions we need to have. :o)
    Pam recently posted…Everywhereness from TracFoneMy Profile

  3. We just bought our house in April. One of the biggest things my husband loved about it was that it was recently remodeled {and done well} which meant he wasn’t going to have to go through fixing every little thing. While he likes doing that stuff, it certainly isn’t the way I know he wants to spend his free Saturday afternoon. Because of that, when things come up that I’d like done with the house {to pretty it up} I try to either get it done myself or keep it simple so he isn’t working all day on a project.

    On the flip side, while I like a clean house, I don’t want to clean all the time. I cleaned up my husband’s office this weekend as an act of love. Afterward he said “Whoa, I feel like I can actually think now.” I told him that’s how I feel when the house is clean and why it’s so important to me that it stays that way {or as much that way as having kids can allow}.
    Sarah @ Loved Like the Church recently posted…A Boy’s RoomMy Profile

  4. Ondrea K says:

    Great perspective Ryan. Kinda funny cause my husband was away to Germany on a business trip last week and I have been wanting window treatments forever. Since I knew he would not want to go look at these with me, or spend money on them, I did it while he was gone! (like Sarah from above comment) Cheap curtain rods, hand me down scarfs and valances from my sister, and clearance racks at Bed Bath and Beyond and voila! I feel like the house is complete, husband comes home to a nice surprise, and I didn’t spend much money. We were both happy! I do agree that the inside is more of what I care about and the outside is what he cares about. Its great he likes mowing the lawn and takes pride in our house, I am glad I can do the same for the inside and he can see how that makes me happy too. Now if I could just get him to pick up after himself sometimes so I could think…. ;)

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