In marriage, or any partnership, chores are a huge source of conflict. How do you get your sweetheart to hold up his or her end, without nagging? One of my best friends from college has a very radical solution: she and her husband don't assign. That's right. They never say, "Get me a diaper," "The trash needs to go out," etc. This only works because neither one of them is a slacker, but still—what a tactic! And they have three children! This is something to strive for. But even if we can't reach that point, most of us could cut back on the nagging. Here are some strategies that have worked for me:
1. It's annoying to hear a hectoring voice, so suggest tasks without words. When the Big Man [my hubby!] needs a prescription filled, he puts his empty medicine bottle on the bathroom counter. Then I know to get it re-filled.
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2. If you need to voice a reminder, limit yourself to one word. Instead of barking out, "Now remember, I've told you a dozen times, stop off at the grocery store, we need milk, if you forget, you're going right back out!" Instead, call out, "Grocery store!" or "Milk!"
3. Don't insist that a task be done on your schedule. "You've got to trim those hedges today!" Says who? Try, "When are you planning to trim the hedges?" If possible, show why something needs to be done by a certain time. "Will you be able to trim the hedges before our party next week?" eHarmony: Can Being In A Relationship Make You Gain Weight?
4. Remind your partner that it's better to decline a task than to break a promise. The Big Man told me that he'd emailed some friends to tell them we had to miss their dinner party to go to a family dinner—but he hadn't. Then I had to cancel at the last minute. Now I tell him, "You don’t have to do it. But tell me, so I can do it."
5. Have clear assignments. I always call repairmen; the Big Man always empties the Diaper Genie.
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