Time to stop fighting over chores.
Who would ever believe that couples still argue about household chores?
Maybe in the past when the traditional roles were “set in stone”.
When men would take care of the outside and garage (and maybe some household maintenance thrown in), and women would do all the rest of the “household chores” including taking care of the children, preparation of all the meals, the laundry, the cleaning (which would include dusting, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, picking up and putting away everyone’s stuff, etc.).
But today, many believe that household responsibilities belong to both men and women — and there needs to be a dividing up of those responsibilities.
More women than men believe that this needs to happen. Often men believe that they are participating in doing the chores, but their female partners would beg to differ with that.
Why has who does which chores become such a big issue for couples today? Why has conflict over household responsibilities risen to become one of the top three reasons couples seek help?
And how are successful couples learning to overcome this major conflict?
The difference between a happy marriage and a miserable marriage is often related to household chores.
Couples without a good system for dividing up household tasks get resentful very quickly.
Here are some basic ideas that, if put into practice, can and will help you to work together leading to fewer arguments and less resentment. And that means a happier marriage!
1. Discuss your expectations.
Talk about what it was like in your home when you were growing up — the things your mother did and what your father did to help — and why you might have the expectations you have.
Talk about what is realistic and/or unrealistic about the expectations you have. Discuss what your plan might be for how to divide up the responsibility.
2. Communicate with each other.
Women often make a huge mistake when they ask their partners for help. Assumptions are made that you know what the other person is thinking about how chores will get done, leaving you to believe that your request for help goes unheard by your partner.
If there's something on the list that you want to be done a certain way, then you should do that chore. But if you are able to let go of your perfectionist tendencies, then you will be able to let someone else do any job on the list and you won't resent the outcome, just be grateful for the help.
3. Set some time lines for completion of certain tasks.
Setting a time (it doesn't have to be specific) to have the task done by allows for both structure and flexibility.
Be sure to be reasonable when setting the timeline and be flexible. If the timeline needs to be adjusted, work together to adjust it.
4. Make time to go over the progress of the household chores.
No one can read someone else’s mind.
You need to take the time to communicate often about how things are going and how they feel and how things can be improved so that there is a mutual feeling of being cared for in the area of household chores/responsibilities.
You might need to make some changes in how household responsibilities are divided. The key is to have a working plan.
Couples who have successful relationships see themselves as a team.
They understand that becoming angry and resentful toward each other because of feeling overwhelmed by household tasks is not the answer.
As marriage partners, you are on the same team and working toward the same goals. Be a team!
So much more can be accomplished by working together than by being upset with one another and feeling unappreciated and overworked!
If you are having difficulty working through these issues and need help developing a plan that works, please do not hesitate to seek help from others.
Sometimes we can get help from talking to friends, but at other times we need the help of a professional person who can help us see things from a more objective place.
If this is a huge problem area for you, get help to resolve it so that you can have a relationship that is healthy and strong.
Dr. Deborah McFadden is a couple’s counselor at Village Counseling Center. Receive your free copy of the Better Life Magazine filled with articles with topics from taking good care of yourself, resolving conflicts in your relationship and discovering how to have success in your life.