Re: Layabout husband- 3 years in a tore-apart home.
He needs a wake up call. He doesn't feel that the marriage is in dire straight, he doesn't feel that smoking is that bad for him (or for the finances), he doesn't feel that his health is in that bad a shape, he doesn't feel that the house being torn up is that big of a deal, etc. It sounds like you've tried to relay to him that these issues ARE major problems, but the point is that he just hasn't gotten it. He doesn't agree that they are big problems that have to be addressed.
The bigger problem however is the mere fact that he believes that he can simply disagree with you on all of these issues, or debate/argue them with you at all. Here is the reality, if the wife is saying, "I'm unhappy in this marriage, I think we have a problem" THEN THERE IS A PROBLEM. His natural reaction might be to try to explain it away ("But I am a great husband! I put food on the table, I've never abused drugs/alcohol, gambled away our money, never gotten physical with you or the kids, I do nice things from you pretty often, I'm always kind to you, etc.") because he probably disagree's with you, but the mere fact that you believe there is a problem, means there is a problem, and that can't be argued away. IT CAN'T be argued with.
I think it's natural in many ways for men to feel that they can and should fix anything. That a situation either is or is not a problem, and you can always make a case either for or against. This isn't the type of problem that a case can be made against. Even if he is literally the most perfect husband on the planet, if his wife is unhappy and feels that the marriage is in trouble, then there really is a problem!
I got all of that from the reaction you described him having as a result of your alluding to the possibility that the family could be falling apart. That means he disagrees with your position, and thus doesn't feel it merits much of a response. After all, if the marriage really isn't in trouble at all, then there really is no need for a response right? That's the key right there, I'm telling you. Ultimately this is what he needs to understand...
...Unfortunately, often times the only way for someone like this to "get it" is to deliver a painful "wake-up call." Perhaps in the form of asking him to move out for a while, filing for divorce, requesting a separation, packing up and leaving, etc. Why? Because the message that delivers is that he can disagree all day long if he wants to, but now he'll see that doing so is absolutely going to cost him his family. He might get angry at first, feel betrayed, but after a short time if he cares he will see what his choices really are.
I would suggest, before it gets to that point, that you try to sit him down one of these days and really be as DIRECT as possible with him about your concerns. Be specific and honest about how bad the situation has become. Don't shy away from painful words or try to go easy on him. I mean something like, "We need to discuss some very serious issues that have been adding up for a while and are now putting our marriage and family in jeopardy. If our family is going to survive intact, which I certainly hope it can, I am going to need some pretty big changes to take place here." Then go into each issue, using "I feel" statements as much as possible. Discuss the ongoing home remodel situation first. You acknowledge that your bringing in the contractor hurt his feelings because you know it made him feel enormously disrespected, but that the goal wasn't to disrespect him but rather to send the message that you are desperate for the project to get done and wanted him to understand that. You might point out how you do not respect him any less for struggling with smoking and healthy eating, because most people experience similar struggles, but also acknowledging that all of his efforts thus far have failed, so it is time for him to reach out for some help in achieving those important goals. See, it's ok to soften the blow a bit by affirming the things that are important to him (that being your respect for him), but you still have to deliver the painful part clearly as well. At the end, you want to acknowledge that all of these choices are his to make, but if he can't start making the right choices soon, then because of your ongoing feelings of dissatisfaction in the marriage, you'll have to start making decisions on your own as well.
In some ways that might sort of feel like a veiled threat, but really it's just being honest and forthright with him about where you stand. If he can't make these changes, you really genuinely are prepared to file for divorce and move on, and he needs to know that. He has to understand the consequences of his choices for him to be able to make them effectively.
I hope this helps some...
I confess, I tend to write the way I imagine I would speak if the discussion were happening in person. That means that I tend to ramble a lot, illustrate extensively, make used of a lot of analogies, etc. I apologize after the fact for the (likely long) length of my posts.