If you’re in the process of going green, then it always helps to have your spouse on board. Sometimes that’s not such an easy task, but if you think about all the different approaches you can take, it becomes much simpler.
When I decided I wanted my family to become more eco-conscious a couple years ago, I declared my intentions to my husband. I bluntly told him, “I’ve decided we’re going green.” He of course nodded and did the usual things men do when they’re either not really listening, or not taking you seriously. That was fine with me. I just needed it on the record that he had been informed about my decision. I find this is always helpful down the road if an argument happens to arise. I can then tell him, “I told you I was doing this,” and I won’t be lying.
After my declaration, I had to find ways to persuade my husband that this was a good idea for our family. Since my plan was to take things slowly, I began phasing out the kitchen cleaners we were using (something antibacterial), and switched to a green all-natural multi-purpose cleaner. At first, he was against it. He was afraid that we could get salmonella if we didn’t use an antibacterial cleaner after working with raw chicken in the kitchen. I simply countered with the argument that the natural products I was using would sanitize the area and they were safer to use around children and pets. Since the switch, we continue to be salmonella free and I am more comfortable using these products around my family.
Another approach I have taken is to simply change the way we do something and not saying a word about it. For example, I felt we were not recycling as much as we could, so I bought a garbage pail and put it in the kitchen. I just started putting anything that gets recycled in the pail. My husband obviously noticed that all of our recyclables were going into the pail and began putting stuff in there too. Simply put, I made it easy for him. Before that, things were piling up on the counter or just getting tossed in the trash because they didn’t have a place. If you make things easy for your husband he will participate.
Don’t be afraid to use your children. I have wanted to grow a garden since we bought our house in 2007. My husband has been adamant every single year that he did not want a garden. He was afraid it would attract animals (there are a lot of raccoons and opossums behind our property). After a visit to my parents’ home in Central New York, my son was very interested in gardening. My parents have a great vegetable garden, and my son loved helping them with it. I asked my son if he wanted to grow a garden, and he did. I told him to talk to his father about it and he did. My husband couldn’t tell him no, hence we have a garden!
My husband was perhaps most hesitant when it came to vitamins and homeopathic products. He works in the pharmaceutical industry, which makes him more skeptical of non-pharmaceutical medications. I have a personal favorite—a cough and cold formulation from Homeostasis Labs and I think this product has helped make my husband a believer. We did our own (non-scientific) study within our household. My son got a cold. I gave him the children’s version of the homeopathic medicine, and his cold was merely a minor nuisance—a runny nose for a couple days. I used the adult version of the medicine as soon as my son showed symptoms. I never got the cold. My daughter could not take the homeopathic medicine (per the package label, it’s for ages 2 and up), and she got a full-blown cold. She was miserable. She had a runny nose, coughed all night long and was extremely cranky for about a week. My husband also chose not to take the Homeostasis Cough and Cold product. He got a cold. Every day he would ask me “You don’t have a sore throat? Your nose isn’t stuffed?” He was shocked, and has decided that next time one of the kids get a cold, he too will be taking this. Doing our own little “study” showed my husband that homeopathic products really do work.
Another way I’ve gotten my husband on-board is by showing him the money we can save by making simple changes for the green. The GE website does a great job of showing how much you can save by switching to Compact Fluorescent (CFL) Bulbs. Since CFLs last up to 10 times longer than regular light bulbs, your husband won’t have to change light bulbs as often (think those really hard to get to bulbs) and you won’t have to buy them as often. Also, since most provide the same light output at a lower wattage, you’ll save money on your electric bill. I would recommend, buying the CFLs, and then when your husband says something (if he says something), simply point out the benefits of using CFLs. According to the GE website, switching from a 60-watt incandescent bulb, to the comparable 13-watt CFL will save you approximately $34 between bulb replacements, and reductions in your electric bill. Multiply that by how many bulbs you use in your house, and you’re looking at a great savings. Who doesn’t want to save money?
Remember, whether you make all of the everyday purchasing decisions for your household or whether you share the decision, it’s important to have the support of your husband. If you think about the reasons you want to make your family green and share the reasons with him, he should be open to it. But remember, some men (and women) may need more convincing. Hopefully these methods that I’ve employed in my household can help you get your husband on board, too.