Before I married my husband, I’d noticed that his sister kept a list on her fridge of things needing to be done. A “honey-do” list for my brother-in-law. I mentioned it once, and my husband-to-be responded, “If you ever make a list like that for me, I promise I will never do anything on it.” So I never did.
We worked out this arrangement for getting things done:
I’d say, “The faucet in the upstairs bathroom is dripping.”
He’d say, “I’ll take a look at it.”
A couple weeks later, I’d say, “Did you get a chance to look at that faucet?”
He’d say, “What faucet?”
“The one in the bath upstairs.”
“Oh, no, I’ll do that this weekend.”
It would end in one of two ways. Either he would eventually find himself in that bathroom one day, notice the leaking faucet, and fix it right then and there, or I would eventually break down and say, “Should I call a plumber about that faucet?” (I made this example up. The leaky faucets are still dripping. I’m too cheap/lazy to call a plumber for a minor drip.)
Another effective method would be to start a project myself. I’m not sure if seeing me start a project caused extreme guilt or outright fear of the results, but it often prompted him into action.
After almost 23 years of this highly effective system, I wrote a household to-do list a couple weeks ago. It’s a list of things needing to be done to sell the house. I thought having a list would help spread out both the cost and the work, rather than using our usual method of leaving all projects until the last minute.
(True example: he wanted to remodel a powder room in a former house. It was ugly tan tile, much of it chipped, cracked sink, etc. He did the demolition one weekend, removing the toilet, sink, and half of the drywall. It stayed like that for the next two years. When we needed to move, he had to take time off work to put in a new bathroom. It looked great for the next owner.)
I told him about the list I’d made. He seemed intrigued. He had no recollection of having ever been honey-do list averse and thought it was a great idea. I was still afraid to send it to him, but I told him the first item was getting a dishwasher that works.
I thought that the best place to start. The dishwasher that was here when we moved stopped working three or four years ago. Since then, we’ve used it as a large drying rack. My husband washes dishes more than the rest of us combined. (He is not a slacker, despite the aforementioned examples.) I thought starting with something that was a chore for him would be motivating. He said he doesn’t mind washing dishes, but agreed to do it for the sake of resale.
It was installed a couple days ago. It’s not nearly as good looking as my old dishwasher, but I’m going to email him a list.