Honey-Do lists can add much overwhelm to a spouse, explains Miriam Zeitlin

The Honey-Do List: Sweet Words, Sour Demands

In every marriage, there are moments when we need to ask our spouse for help. Whether it’s taking out the garbage, fixing a leaky faucet, or helping with the kids, these requests are part of the daily dance of living together. But what happens when these requests turn into a never-ending list of demands? And does adding a sweet word like “honey” or “darling” really make it any better? Enter the infamous “Honey-do” list.

Let’s take a look at how this dynamic plays out:

Scene: A cozy living room.

Husband sitting on the couch relaxing with a book after a long day’s work.

Wife pokes her head in from the kitchen.

Honey, can you please take out the garbage?”

The husband puts the book down.

 “Sure thing, dear.”

 [A few minutes later…]

Wife calls from the bedroom.

Darling, could you grab the laundry from the dryer?”

Husband gets up from the couch again.

“Of course.”

[A few minutes later…]

Wife (noticing a light bulb out) Sweetheart, can you change that light bulb in the hallway? It’s so dark in there.

Husband reluctantly puts down his book again.


[A few minutes later…]

Wife in the bathroom.

Love of my life, can you fix the leaky faucet? It’s driving me crazy”

Husband who didn’t bother getting comfortable again, sighs and starts walking towards the bathroom.

 “Right away.”

[A few minutes later…]

Wife from the living room. “Munchkin, can you find my keys? I think I lost them again.”

Husband pauses and takes a deep breath.

 “Of course. Let me check the usual spots.”

As endearing as these terms of affection are, constant requests, even when sugar-coated, can become overwhelming. A marriage should be more than just a series of demands. They should involve meaningful conversations, shared experiences, and quality time spent together without the pressure of an endless to-do list.

[A few minutes later…]

Wife yelling from the basement

Angel, can you also…”

The husband gently interrupts. “Honey, darling, sweetheart, love of my life, munchkin, angel – I love helping you, but I need a break.”

Wife realizing how demanding she had been.

“You’re right. I’m sorry. I didn’t realize how much I was piling on you. Let’s take a walk together instead.”

The Key Takeaway

While it’s wonderful to use affectionate names and ask for things kindly, it’s equally important to ensure that our spouses don’t feel overwhelmed by an endless stream of tasks. A relationship should be a source of joy and connection, not just a series of chores.

By focusing on spending quality time together and communicating without constant demands, we can keep our relationships and Shalom Bayis strong and loving. It’s about finding the right balance between getting things done and simply enjoying each other’s company. So, the next time you’re tempted to add another item to the “honey-do” list, take a moment to consider how your husband/wife might feel.

Master Your Relationships

If you’re seeking a marriage mentor or looking to simply fine-tune an already thriving relationship, contact Miriam Zeitlin. As a frum marriage and relationship coach, Miriam has coached countless couples away from their honey-do lists.

Disclaimer: I’m in no way saying that women are more demanding than men, but it was more fun to write this article from this perspective.  

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