10 Things I’ve Learned from Three Failed Marriages, Part 5: Ditch the Procrastination


Originally I had written another subject for part 5 but wasn’t totally pleased with what I had written. Consequently, I had never gotten around to finishing it. In short, I procrastinated. I’ve even procrastinated this version!

While procrastination is something one can get by with while writing, at least to a point, it is not something one wants to do in a marital relationship.

Procrastination in a relationship is bad for a number of reasons. Here are a few.

Procrastination lessens the trust your spouse will have for you


For instance, your wife bugs you to do something you don’t really want to do. You say, just to get her off your back, “Yeah, okay, I’ll do it.” But you don’t.

First of all, your wife shouldn’t have to “bug” you to do anything. If she asks, and you’re in the middle of something, like watching the Super Bowl, you can say, “Okay, honey. Do you mind if we wait until the game is over (or until half time)?” Or, if it’s something that will only take a minute, like taking the garbage out, you can say, “Okay, honey, but do you mind if we wait until there’s a time out. I don’t want to miss anything?”

Of course, you already should know that a wife shouldn’t have to ask you to take out the garbage. You should just do it on your own. You love your wife that much, don’t you? And taking out the garbage isn’t that big of a deal.

Here’s the thing: When half time, or the game’s over, or there’s an intermission, you’d better get off your duff and take care of what your promised. And do it with with cheerfulness, not grumbling all the way. Never grumble about doing anything for your wife! Never!

You do love your wife, right? She’s not an imposition; she’s a partner—an equal partner. She’s not there to take care of you or meet your every needs. She’s not your mother. However, you might want to take the opposite viewpoint: You’re there to make her circumstances such that she’ll find pleasure in sharing her life with you.

It sounds idealistic, I know. So? What’s wrong with a little idealism? Perhaps if you live up to this sort of idealism, she might do the same. And perhaps with a little idealism realized you might wind up with a really happy marriage. Do you think you can handle that?

Procrastination can cause financial woes

If the person who is in charge of paying the bills is a procrastinator, this can lead to some very serious situations. The result on the part of the spouse can be nagging, anger, struggles for control of the finances—you get the idea.

The other side of the problem is that when bills don’t get paid on time, at the worst, services get cut off; at best, you wind up with late fees and penalties. In either case, what you wind up with is this: the spending of money that could be better spent somewhere else. And, often times, when services get cut off, there is a charge to get them turned on again.

Basically, what you have is money thrown away, and in today’s economy, that’s probably not a very good idea.

The solution: The meeting of the minds.

The non-procrastinator should probably take the lead, but not in a threatening manner to the procrastinator. If the non-procrastinator starts spouting off, this will lead to the procrastinator getting defensive. Then the battle begins.

Simply put, the problem should be laid on the line: “We have a problem paying our bills,” for instance. The non-procrastinator might then ask the procrastinator if he has any solutions. (I use “he” in the old sense where “he” means both he and she, a prerogative I use, being old myself.)

To this, the procrastinator might come back with, “Yeah, I know. I’ll do better. I promise,” or words to that effect. And he really means it.

In any event, that’s not going to get it done.

This is where the non-procrastinator might suggest, for instance: “How about when a bill comes in, we sit down together and write out a check and put it in the mail?” There are other solutions, but I like this one. You can come up with your own.

The point being: The non-procrastinator doesn’t want to make the procrastinator feel in any way threatened, demeaned, rushed or like he’s under the gun.

The main thing is: If you want to have a successful relationship with a procrastinator, there has to be give and take on both sides, all in an unthreatening manner.

An unemployed procrastinator can cause great stress

When an unemployed procrastinator keeps putting off going out and looking for a job, this will put a huge stress on any relationship, especially on a wife.

Again, the situation needs to be met without ire and rancor. But it has to be met—head on. Unemployment will only last so long. And a man can get comfortable receiving a paycheck without doing any work after awhile, especially a procrastinator. That’s one reason public welfare is so popular.

I think you need to approach it in pretty much the same manner as in the previous example. But this can be a little touchy, so be careful.

Procrastinators don’t think like non-procrastinators

Everyone brings to a relationship emotional baggage. A procrastinator has his; the non-procrastinator has hers. (I think men tend to be procrastinators more often than women, but I have no statistics to back this up.)

More than likely, each was brought up in a different manner. This leads to differing habits, feelings and thinking. No two people feel or think alike, as a general rule, nor even have the same habits, especially when first starting out in a relationship.

So, in my view, the key to dealing with a procrastinator is understanding—wearing the other person’s shoes, as it were. This can only come through communication, heartfelt communication, non-threatening communication—really, just getting to know each other.

A lot of modern thinking decries the idea of each partner in a marrige having separate tasks, but I think those who think this way have never had a serious relationship of any kind.

I think one of the things that can help is sitting down and taking an inventory of each other’s likes and dislikes, what needs to be done around the house and yard, and so forth, and who is best suited to do them, as long as they don’t all fall onto one person. If they do, you might want to reconsider your relationship, especially if it hasn’t gotten to the point of marriage yet.

If the family tasks do fall mostly upon one person, and you’re already married, then some serious discussions need to take place, again, following the above example or one of your own. But do something or your life is going to be hell.

This could go on forever, but I’ve got to bring it to a close. I don’t know if everything I’ve put forth is psychological sound or not, but it’s there for your consideration. Good luck if you’re married to a procrastinator, but don’t despair and don’t attack!

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