Husband Won’t Work (5 Sensible Steps)

Last updated on June 8, 2022 by April Maccario

The bills are piling up at home and he’s still unmotivated to find a job. Maybe, he has a job but simply refuses to go to work. Either way, it does nothing but makes the finances that much worse. If you have kids, it’s even more stressful. One way or another, something has to be done about it. 

The first step in solving the problem is to see if there is an underlying cause. Then, it’s important to address the issue. These tips will help you both get to the root of the problem, and figure out what to do about it. 

How Do You Handle It?

1. Find the problem first

Before attacking him or divorcing a husband who won’t work, it’s important to discover underlying issues that might be preventing him from finding a job. 

People that suffer from clinical depression, for example, often have a difficult time working full time. Men are also discouraged from discussing things such as low self-worth and problems with their jobs. This often leaves us, women, in the dark, and it’s time for those problems to come to the light. 

2. Find out what he’s thinking

Find Out What He’s Thinking

If your husband won’t work, there is more than likely a reason. Have a conversation with him to find out what his thoughts are regarding working. Don’t pressure him or treat him like a child. Instead, talk to him as you would any other loved one. Remember that some of the most common reasons for this include: 

  • Low self-esteem
  • Laziness
  • Lack of a positive male role model growing up
  • He wants to stay at home with the kids
  • Something happened at his last job
  • He feels discouraged
  • He doesn’t feel valued or needed in the marriage
  • Narcissism

3. Seek outside help

If you’re unable to find the problem, and he seems to be clueless, it’s time to seek outside help. Counselors can often help determine the cause of demotivation in people, whether it be depression or simply a lack of work ethic. They can then make referrals based on their findings to get your husband the help that he needs. 

4. Communicate with him

Don’t keep quiet about the bills piling up, or how hard it is to afford things without him working. Instead, let him know that the emergency fund ran dry long ago. Tell him about the disconnect notices. Then, make sure that he knows that you need him to get a job and help out. 

If he feels not needed, this should help. If he cares about what is going on in the home, this can open his eyes. It’s important to speak up

5. Help him find a job

Help Him Find A Job

If he’s been on the hunt for months, it could be that the job search is yielding little to no results. Men that have a certain skill have a hard time swallowing their pride and taking a low paying job more so than most of us women do. They can also be set in their ways, which means they might not know about a temporary agency that is hiring that just opened up. Offer assistance as you can. 

First, this will show that you support him. Second, his reaction will tell you quite a few things. If he has an excuse for every position you mention, refuses to apply, or flat out does not accept offers because there is always something wrong with them, you have a lazy partner, which is why your husband won’t work. 

If your husband won’t work because he feels that you should do everything in the home, including bringing in the money, then you’re going to get a lot of guilt-tripping, passive-aggressive behavior, and him blaming you. This is a red flag that most narcissistic partners will show. 

Divorcing A Husband Who Won’t Work

If he refuses to work full time, and no one can make him change, it might be time to consider that your own needs should be met in your relationship as well. The marriage is about both of you, and he’s obviously not too concerned with the way things are going at home if he consistently refuses to work full time without a valid reason. 

After you have spent months or years trying to motivate him, divorce will inevitably enter your mind. It can be hard to decide whether to leave the one you promised to love for the rest of your life, but if you have no kids, are working your butt off and getting nothing out of the relationship, you’re already doing everything by yourself. 

Consider spousal support

One thing you need to remember before discussing the D-word is spousal support. If you’re the breadwinner in the family, you could be required to pay him spousal support while he makes an attempt to find work. If the only reason behind the divorce is finances, it can be a bit counterproductive if you also have to support him once he’s out of the house. On the bright side, him not having a job will no longer be your problem

Speak with an attorney

Different states have different laws regarding divorce, and what a non-working partner is entitled to. In some states, the judge will only divide whatever is acquired during the marriage. In other states, everything owned by either party is up for grabs. It’s important to know what the outcome might be before screaming for divorce. 

Separate for a few

Instead of jumping straight into divorce, consider a separation. This is what a friend of mine decided was best for her, and her husband got two jobs. It forced him to be responsible or do without, something that never happened when the two of them were together. They were separated for six months. His astounding work ethic continued for years afterward, so this option is definitely worth considering. 


How do you deal with an unemployed husband?

Be positive and supportive as he looks for employment. Remind him of his skills, respect his decisions, and make sure to point out a strength a day. During the pandemic, those searching for something that can help them not live paycheck to paycheck need an extra dose of positivity.

What is a deadbeat husband?

A deadbeat husband does not provide for his wife or children. He does not provide emotional support, or do things around the house for others, such as washing clothes or cooking. Instead, he merely lives there. A deadbeat husband is the definition of dead weight in a relationship. 

How do I fix my marriage when my husband doesn't care?

Try to be more positive. Say I love you anyway. Have sex like you did at the beginning of the relationship. Ask him about his day, even when you get a grumbly “it was fine” in return. Do this for three weeks and see if he starts to come around. If not, counseling might help. 

How do I live with a lazy husband?

Communicate with him. Do not do things for him as though he is your child (this will result in a parent/child relationship), point out his laziness, and encourage him to be more motivated. Maintain your own positive attitude, and make sure that his laziness does not spill into the rest of the house. 

What are the rights of an unemployed husband in a divorce?

During a divorce, the unemployed person may be awarded significantly more than the employed person. They may be entitled to spousal support. The division of assets may result in them getting more because they have higher needs due to unemployment. Speak with an attorney if your husband is unemployed. 


When your husband won’t work, it can be frustrating. It puts an extreme amount of pressure and stress on the employed person in the relationship. Do you think it’s fixable? What would you do in this situation?

Do you hate it how everything seems to always revolve round him while you just seem to be an afterthought sometimes?
We hear this all the time from women that contact us asking for help with their relationship.

It almost makes you wonder whether he actually likes you or whether he's just stringing you along.

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April Maccario
I'm a huge nerd when it comes to understanding how relationships between men and women work, and what drives a certain behavior. I spend much of my time getting into the nitty-gritty and try to share my findings on this site with the hope of making life a little easier for women that are struggling in their relationships or love life.

One comment on “Husband Won’t Work (5 Sensible Steps)”

  1. My husband has always excuses to find a job, he spends his time watching TV and videos and a I don't see him searching for a job. He said that his heart condition anable him to get a job because is hard for him, his father deposit a check month to month for bills and he paid off the house. Please help me out to decide to divorce him or separate of him because he is lazy and his excuse is affecting this marriage and my teen son. Thanks my name is Perla and iam sorry for my English.

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