Sex and money may get all the media hype, but household chores are a big issue for many couples. This concern isn’t gender specific, either. Studies indicate that both husbands and wives are happier when responsibilities are split equitably.
If you’re feeling dissatisfied with this part of household life, try some of these practical strategies for dividing your labor. They may improve other aspects of your partnership, too!
Communicate About Chores
1. Deal with underlying issues. When you’re talking about who does the laundry, you may really mean that you need to feel more appreciated and validated. Try to remain emotionally neutral. If possible, schedule conversations for a time when you feel free of stress and fatigue.
2. Be proactive. Conflicts can be reduced if you divide the work up in advance. It’s easier to communicate before any nagging or hurt feelings develop.
3. Focus on the benefits. Remember that your purpose is to create more time for intimacy and leisure. A clean house is nice, but your relationship is even more important.
4. Get specific. Try drafting a to-do list so everything gets covered. Clarify the assignments that each of you will take responsibility for.
Tips for Dividing General Housework
1. Address gender differences. While women still do more of the work around the house, most men are doing far more than their fathers did. The deciding factor is usually which partner spends more time at home or has the most flexible work hours.
2. Seek equity. The basis for a fair arrangement can usually be measured by how much time a task requires rather than by the number of tasks. For example, doing the laundry ranks higher than filling the salt and pepper shakers.
3. Aim for efficiency. Free up your time through strategic planning. Rotate tasks or let each partner specialize in what they do best. Work individually or team up on washing the windows.
4. Prioritize. A clean bathroom is in everyone’s best interest, but if only one of you wants their underwear ironed, maybe they should do it themselves.
5. Hire outside help. Engaging a cleaning service may be the best option for some couples. The money is well-spent if it reduces bickering and gives you more family time.
6. Teach your kids responsibility. Studies show that kids are spending less time on chores. These are skills they’ll need as adults, and contributing to the family helps them develop self-esteem. Plus, they’re usually the ones making most of the mess.
7. Choose your spouse carefully. Researchers have confirmed the common sense conclusion that adults who have lived independently are more likely to keep pitching in when they move in together. Essentially, life may be easier if you and your spouse have been through higher education and lived on your own before living together.
Tips for Dividing Specific Tasks
1. Work errands into your daily schedule. Keep a list of stuff you’ve got to buy and errands you need to run in a central location like the refrigerator door or a shared online file. That way you can take care of the groceries and auto repairs as you go about your daily business.
2. Optimize your time cooking. If you both enjoy meal preparation, make it more pleasurable by investing in a well-designed kitchen. If you want to reduce your time in the kitchen, find easy recipes and cook in large batches that can be frozen for future servings.
3. Coordinate major projects. Make decisions together about major home repairs and improvements. You can rotate who plays project supervisor according to your schedule and expertise.
Sharing household chores expresses your love and respect for each other. Strengthen your relationship and enjoy more happiness by reaching an equitable arrangement.