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He Doesn't Wash His Hands

What should I do If I have asked my husband repeatedly to wash his hands after a trip to the bathroom and he still doesn't. He uses a rag to brush his teeth and he might bathe once a week. He claims he forgets to flush. He claims that washing hands is over rated. Not attractive! Marriage in trouble!

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 ---Kay on 6/20/10
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It could be a form of rebellion and if you keep asking him to to change this activity, he will probably continue. But, this may be only an outward sign of a more serious problem. Of course, it could be a habit learned in childhood. You might just ask him to stop as a favor to you but don't editorize, just ask him to stop as a favor to you. (But, give him time - if he's been doing it for a long time, he may not be able to change "overnight") If he does change because you asked him - tell him how much you appreciate it.
---wivv on 8/9/10


Teach him. Get some meat and ripe food and put it outside in the open for a week or more until it shows some maggots. Then when you make his food, put his food on a dirty plate (poop smeared might be a little too much, maybe not depneding on his obstinance), and get some of the maggots and put it next to the food. Then serve him the plate of food, if he objects then tell him, how you feel right now about this meal is how I likewise feel about you everyday when you do not wash your self, and do not brush your teeth, and do not flush "your" waste down the toilette.
---Eloy on 7/31/10


\\That is why the French invented perfume.\\

Actually, there were perfumes before there were French. They are even mentioned in the Bible.
---Cluny on 7/30/10


Dear Ones:

General George Washington applied the penalty of death to a man who did not wash his hands after a trip to the "bathroom".

During the winter at Valley Forge, they suspected men were getting extremely ill because soldiers were not washing their hands. Washington said any man caught not washing his hands would be court marshalled and shot.

According to history, King James did not bathe, not even once, during his entire life. It was said he had a great fear of water. In fact, it was not uncommon for peasants to bathe a half dozen times per year throughout the Middle Ages.

Human stench was so bad, one could smell the next town before they could see it. That is why the French invented perfume.
---Higgins on 7/4/10


It is very frustrating to see a once handsome,clean and well-groomed man do these things. Very hurtful and embarassing,too.
I would stop bothering him about flushing the toilet,using a rag on his teeth(disgusting). But not bathing is a whole different animal! No way! He would have to sleep someplace else where I would not have to smell the odor. Eventually I would probably, leave. The more you scold him, the worse he is going to get. He will begin to deliberately do this to irritate you. Tough problem, my sister. It is so sad when these type small things become mountains in our relationships.Wreaks havoc on the love life,too.
---Robyn on 7/3/10




\\"At Yale, they teach us to wash our hands after urinating." Just before exiting the restroom, the Harvard man sarcastically replies, "At Harvard they teach us not to pee on our hands while urinating."\\

And at MY alma mater--in the South--knowing how to avoid this was a prerequisite for admission.

Seriously, you've not said how old your husband is, Kay.

I know towards the end of my father's life, he got careless and crochety about such matters.

A great many men are slobs--this cannot be denied.
---Cluny on 6/24/10


Kay, all I can say is...no one else will want to steal him away from you! Now if he started bathing, wearing loads of aftershave, wearing tight pants etc....
---kathr4453 on 6/24/10


Sag -- The best thing are those little bottles of antiseptic gel for the hands. You can't clean the environment, but you can protect yourself.

Warwick -- others have asked this same question. She did not observe his bathroom habits and other personal hygiene (or lack thereof) before marriage. Why would she?
And maybe (pre marriage) he always spruced up to impress her...then fell back into his prior slovenly habits.
---Donna66 on 6/24/10


I think that this question applies to many other environments too. For example: Schools and Libraries.

It seems that many people, especially young folks, don't care about "sneezing", "coughing", etc. and NOT covering thier nose & mouth. I often can SEE all the Germs in the air.

Other people, especially folks from foreign countries, have poor personal hygiene and many don't use deodorant. I can often SMELL all the Germs in the air.

People don't seem to care about PREVENTING the spread of Germs. I leave the areas quickly!

I've asked the deputy at public libraries if I can bring in a can of Lysol Spray Disinfectant. Only to be told NO!
---Sag on 6/24/10


Kay I would have to concur with a few writers who wondered if your husband was like this premarriage. Was he? If so why didn't you encourage him to change before commiting to marriage, and reconsider if he wouldn't change?

BTW I am not a cleanliness fanatic but do wash my hands regularly.
---Warwick on 6/24/10




It's not just a matter of poor hygiene being offensive. It is a health issue. He actually endangers his whole household with his habits, since most bacteria is transferred by the hands...to the doorknobs...to the TV remote...the computer...to everything he touches. The Lord has certainly protected you!
---Donna66 on 6/23/10


Kay....Did you eat at each other's house or spend any time with your families at holiday dinners? Surely these habits were around when you were dating. Is his family dirty? Of course, love is blind to those things.
---KarenD on 6/23/10


Thank you to all the supporting ideas, but to address the one pertaining to me, " How could you have not seen this before you married. Easy- I didn't live with him and we didn't do sleep overs because we both believed firmly in waiting until marriage, but he was clean on every date. How often do we hide the ugly until we have the person right where we want them.
---kay on 6/23/10


Two men are in a restroom, both urinating. One man is from Harvard University. The other is from Yale. Harvard finishes first & begins walking out of the lavatory. The Yale man snipes, "At Yale, they teach us to wash our hands after urinating." Just before exiting the restroom, the Harvard man sarcastically replies, "At Harvard they teach us not to pee on our hands while urinating."

I know -- gross! :) The point Kay is it's obvious your husband's inattentiveness to personal hygiene is intentional. I'd encourage you to pray for God's wisdom in your situation & follow His (God's) lead. There seems to be something very serious going on with your husband!
---Leon on 6/23/10


Is there anyone that he respects that could give him the facts about how diseases are spread"? He should learn about the danger of MSR resistant staph (serious skin infection, increasingly common, that is resistant to all antibiotics)?
Maybe instead of signs everywhere telling him what to do, you should post pictures of the ugliest skin conditions you can find.

That's how the military used to encourage the troops to avoid venereal disease.
---Donna66 on 6/22/10


\\dear Kay how could you not have seen this before you two where married?\\

And just how would she have seen him not wash his hands or flush the toilet or brush his teeth with a rag before they were married without living in concubinage?
---Cluny on 6/22/10


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dear Kay how could you not have seen this before you two where married? really i am shocked by this. but if it was not a problem before you married it iqs difficult to change that now, learn to live with it (or have a shower installed in the entrance of your bedroom so that everytime he enters he gets a good washing (lol)
---Andy3996 on 6/22/10


If your marriage is in trouble over hygene maybe you have a more serious problem than your husband
---Becky on 6/22/10


Kay.....Your question makes it appear as if your husband may very well be mentally challenged. How long did it take you to figure this out?
---KarenD on 6/21/10


Kay, do you know what I would do? I would put up signs all over the place.

Use a black Sharpie Marker with a large piece of paper or white construction paper and write on it, "Don't forget to wash YOUR hands."

Put 3 of them up. One on the wall behind the toilet. One on the door going out of the bathroom and one on the bathroom mirror.

Same thing with taking a bath...put signs up, Don't forget to bathe. But that's just what I would do...then I'd bring him to counselling if he still didn't get it.
---Donna5535 on 6/21/10


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Obewan -- brother, I just got home after eating lunch, after church, at a local fast-food restaurant. I almost lost my lunch after reading your post.

I'm not saying that it was a bad post or anything. Just that your post so "illuminates", or "lights up", the real meaning here. ---Augie on 6/20/10

It was not as bad as the hidden camera expose on Datline NBC or 60 Minutes was, but that is another story.

There are a lot of things about food that COULD make us sick. (Ecoli or Samonella on salad or meat or peanut butter etc..) We need to trust God to keep us healthy I suppose.
---obewan on 6/20/10


I really doubt your marriage is in trouble over your husband's poor hygiene. There is something else that is going on, and neither of you could be aware of it.

As someone from the outside looking in, and only with your side of the story, it sounds like your husband is being passive-aggressive over what he perceives as being constantly nagged, and is using this issue as the point where he's digging in his heels.

Listen very hard to yourself--and later on, him--and see if you're not constantly harping on him about something or other.
---Cluny on 6/20/10


Obewan -- brother, I just got home after eating lunch, after church, at a local fast-food restaurant. I almost lost my lunch after reading your post.

I'm not saying that it was a bad post or anything. Just that your post so "illuminates", or "lights up", the real meaning here. Think about all the germs and such, on people's hands, after using the restroom.

I'd fearlessly confront the husband and repeat what was just written here.
---Augie on 6/20/10


If you have discussed these matters with your husband, you might need to bring it up in marital therapy. He is showing a lack of respect for you, and this is why I suggest a third party, the therapist, to help you and he talk about this matter.
---Trish9863 on 6/20/10


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Consider yourself Lucky, you only have to put up with one idiot.

I board with a family of three idiots, the adult male is is a compulsive hand washer and a high school dropout who managed to get elected to the local School Board.

The adopted 17 year old daughter has never been taught any manners or social refinements.

The adult female never flushes the toilet, she says "I have to pay for that water you know."

If every one put their problems in a pile and could select new one from the pile most fokes would pick up the one they put in as a lot of problems are worse then theirs and they know the extents of the problems the brought to the pile an the best way to deal with them.
---Friendly_Blogger on 6/20/10


I freak at all the men I see leaving public restrooms without washing their hands. I have even seen people do it after doing number two and wiping.

I really freak when I see fast food workers do it. It is one more reason I avoid eating at fast food resturants.
---obewan on 6/20/10


Your concerns about personal hygiene, and germs, are understandable. It sounds like your "adult" husband is living like a young "child".

I can remember my Mom dealing with many of the same, and similar, issues with ME: wash your hands, flush the toilet, reload the toilet paper dispenser, wear your seatbelt, wear a helment, etc. I had to learm the HARD way. I "crashed" when riding my bike. I learned that my Mom was right.

I would have a face-to-face talk with your husband. Explain your concerns. Until he understands how "uncomfortable" his bathroom habits are making you, I don't think that he will change them. Men seem to take longer to understand some basic, common-sense, things.
---Sag on 6/20/10


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