What is The Reason Behind a Wife’s Irritability and Grumpiness? | FRIDAY DIGITAL

What is The Reason Behind a Wife’s Irritability and Grumpiness?

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Wife steadily preparing for “retirement divorce”

When I come home, I find my wife irritable, and I don’t know what she is upset about. A surprisingly large number of husbands feel uncomfortable and find it difficult to talk to their wives due to their wives’ mood swings. If the relationship between husband and wife is on edge, he will not feel at ease when he comes home after a long day. Why are wives so frustrated?

“One reason many wives are frustrated is that they don’t have enough time to relax. They are so busy with work, housework, and childcare that they have no time for their bodies, no time for their minds to take a break, and no time for theirown finances because they are so busy managing the household budget. These various “lack of space” frustrate wives.”

Says Ms. Moeko Ohno, MentalUp Manager. She has been an in-house counselor for more than 20 years and has helped many working men and women with their problems. With the increase in the number of dual-earner households, the burden on wives is actually increasing in areas where husbands cannot see it, leading to irritation in the home, she says.

The wife’s frustration is caused by the large daily housework burden and the husband’s lack of understanding of it. The inability to discuss aspirations and mutual visions of the future also accumulates as a lump in the marriage.

“Although more and more men are taking an active role in childcare and housework, women inevitably tend to notice more details about the home and children. Household chores include not only cleaning, laundry, and cooking, but also an endless series of other, more detailed tasks. Today, many women have jobs, including part-time or shorter hours, and there is pressure to complete housework and childcare in the limited time they have outside of work.”

“In addition, if they have children, they have to keep in touch with their mothers, school friends, parents, and other relatives. Women in their 40s are also very busy in many areas of their personal relationships,” she says.

It is truly a solitary struggle, and both mind and body are just barely making ends meet. However, their husbands are just as tired, both physically and mentally, because of their busy work schedules. The wife is deeply annoyed not only by the heavy workload, but also by the fact that she cannot talk to her husband about it and he does not understand her situation.

“It would be better if the wife and husband could discuss their frustrations and burdens while they are both under no pressure, but the busier the couple, the less time they have to talk. If they put off talking, the daily frustrations pile up, and time passes without them relying on their husbands, saying, ‘There is no one who understands,’ or ‘I have to do it myself.’”


“If this continues, there is a possibility that the couple’s relationship will break down when they become seniors. It is a fact that many women are steadily preparing for retirement divorce as communication between husband and wife becomes more and more difficult.”

“Do you want me to do it for you?” “Do you need help?” is not a good idea!

Many working wives spend their time secretly carrying around their anxieties and frustrations. When stress is at the root of their problems, the slightest word or action by their husbands can become a “landmine” that can lead to a firestorm, further aggravating their marital relationship.

“There are three typical failure patterns that worsen marital relationships. One is the mismanagement of family schedules, which often leads to disputes over forgotten events and schedules, especially those related to children, or other appointments. As with work, it is important for couples to share and report schedules to each other.”


“The second thing that tends to irritate wives is one-way conversations. When a wife tries to talk to her husband about something, but he just listens to her or denies what she says, she feels frustrated and thinks, ‘There’s no point in talking to him.’ Let’s have a positive conversation about how we can solve the problems we are facing, while catching up with each other.”

If the wife’s conversation ends up being a one-way street, she has not been listened to. Only when the interaction becomes reciprocal does the wife feel that she has been listened to.

In addition, couples who are prone to domestic disputes may unintentionally use words that make their wives feel uncomfortable.

“The words, ‘Do you want me to do it for you?’ is perceived by many women as being superior. The common use of ‘Shall I help you?’ is an expression that assumes it is the wife’s job. In both cases, the wife declares, ‘I’ll do it myself’ and then immediately takes action.”

Furthermore, buying sweet treats the day after a quarrel may have the opposite effect.


“If the anger is just enough to put her in a good mood, it’s fine, but if it is deep-seated, she may become angry, saying, ‘That’s not the point,’ or ‘Don’t make it up to me with something sweet.’ For a wife who feels she has no money to spare, it may be seen as a waste of money. It is more effective to listen to her and be close to her heart than to surprise her.”

What You Can Do Now for a Good Marriage

“No husband wants things to stay nasty. Husbands would like their wives to be happy. Even for couples who have been in a strained relationship for a long time, it is never too late to repair the relationship,” Ohno said.

“If you see your wife and think she might be frustrated, you can ask her, ‘Is something bothering you? If you see your wife and think she might be frustrated, ask her if she has any problems, and show a welcoming attitude by saying, ‘I’ll listen to what you have to say.’ When husbands and wives are busy, they lose sight of the right time to have a conversation, and the topics they wanted to talk about expire. Therefore, I recommend that you make time as soon as possible to talk with your wife about what is troubling you and how you can resolve the problem together.”


“Having time for conversation every day, even if it is only for a few minutes if possible, will allow both parties to share their problems and issues and maintain a good marital relationship. If it is difficult to do so every day, then once a week is acceptable, and you will find that your wife, who used to be grumpy, will be in a better mood.”

However, the longer the wife’s frustration builds up and the longer the husband neglects her, the longer it will take for the marriage to thaw. Still, starting today, just ‘expressing gratitude once a day’ will be effective.

Husbands who have lost touch with their wives should start saying “Thank you” and “I appreciate your help.” Ideally, we should be able to thank each other in the same way as we say “good morning”

In addition, it is important to take care of one’s own mind before being kind to others in order to have a good relationship with one’s wife.

“It is naturally not good to be too indifferent toward one’s wife, but there is no need for the husband to sacrifice himself and put up with too much in order to maintain the marital relationship. For example, if he is tired from a busy work week, he should tell her without pressure, ‘This week has been difficult, so let’s talk next week.’ When you have no time to relax and have negative feelings, it is hard to listen to others and take action.”

“For this reason, both husbands and wives should have some alone time. By creating moments when you can reset your mind as a single person, such as when you enjoy a hobby or spend time at a café, both the time you spend together as a couple and the time you spend alone will be fulfilling, and the awkward atmosphere will change.”

The desire to spend time with one’s long-term partner in a relaxed atmosphere is probably the same for both men and women. For those who tend to have a strained relationship with their wives, a single action may start the cycle of marital bliss.


Moeko Ohno is the representative director of the Japan Mental Up Support Organization. She is a licensed psychologist, and an industrial counselor. She supports the working generation as a counselor in corporate health management offices. She provides advice on communication techniques to improve human relations and stress management. She also gives lectures and conducts training at the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, as well as major corporations. She is the author of many books, including “The Illustrated Guide to Changing Unnecessary Words into Favorable Lines” (Sanmark Publishing Co., Ltd.).

  • Interview and text by Yoko Nemmochi Yoko Kemmochi

    Born in Yamagata Prefecture in 1983, Yoko Tunemochi worked for 10 years in the editorial department of a health information magazine, editing monthly magazines and web media before becoming a freelance writer. Currently, she interviews, plans, and writes about doctors and specialists, focusing on healthcare and medical fields.

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