If You Want More Intimacy In Your Relationship, Rethink How You Handle The Chores

You need to maintain desire when sharing household and family responsibilities.

How To Improve Intimacy In Marriage & Relationships By Handling Household Chores getty

Do you spend more time focusing on household chores than on having fun together? 

Has the spark of passion and intimacy been replaced by the slow burn of irritation with your partner’s inattention to the cleaning?

Are your concerns about your budget bigger than those for your connection? 

According to love expert Esther Perel, "It’s hard to experience desire when you’re weighted down by concern."


The management of the household and house cleaning can easily become a source of conflict and discomfort in a committed relationship — who does which tasks, who pays for what, and how this is negotiated become the central focus in many long-term and cohabitating couples. 

RELATED: Why Couples Who Don't Split The Chores Are More Likely To Break Up


Where we focus our attention takes our energy. If we walk through the door at night and immediately zero in on a task for the household, our connection suffers and our evening feels staid and irritating.

If during our free time, we spend it by attending to the dishes or the kids or the laundry, we miss the opportunity to invest in our relationship and end up feeling more like roommates than lovers.

Taking time each day to focus your attention and energy on the relationship gets you off the hamster wheel of tasks and moves you toward each other. 

It does not mean living in squalor or avoiding the bills or neglecting the children.

It means stopping before each of the necessary tasks and connecting in simple ways to let your partner know you love them and are in this chaos together.


This can be a brief hug, a wink across the room, or taking the time to put on music that you know your partner will enjoy.

An act of care for your partner lets them know you are thinking of them and helps increase positivity in the space you share. 

If you're wondering how to have a healthy relationship despite the abundance of chores, here are 4 ways to maintain your connection as a couple and deepen your intimacy.

  1. Connect first with physical contact before attending to chores. This can be a hug or kiss, or a hand squeeze as you pass by. 
  2. Offer to do the task your partner dislikes the most so that they feel loved and cared for. 
  3. Suggest an activity to do together after completing the chores, to create a reward and ensure that you set aside time for each other. 
  4. Show appreciation for the things you see your partner do; focus on the effort, not simply the result. Eye contact and a brief touch help you see the person instead of the task.

RELATED: Husbands Who Share Household Chores Have More Sex, Study Says


These are simple ways to begin the practice of making the health of your intimate relationship the foundation for your home.

Obviously, there are more complex situations at play when managing a household and family.

 In our retreats, we help couples identify old patterns and assumptions and develop working solutions for these challenges. 


Couples in healthy relationships take the time to play with different approaches and experience responses in order to get a deeper understanding and connection of each other.

When you discover that household things that need doing are simply ways to take care of one another, you'll be able to prioritize and maintain your intimacy. 

RELATED: How To Get Your Man To Help Around The House Before You Go Crazy

Carolyn Sharp is a couples therapist with over 20 years of experience supporting healthy connected relationships. To sign up for her newsletter and be alerted for new blog posts and updates, visit her website.