Q&A: Doing most of the house chores

Q: My wife and I have been married just a few months, and already we’re constantly arguing about chores. I’m the one who cares that the house is clean and orderly, and so I end up doing most of the work. What should I do?

A: You’ve stumbled on a challenge that blindsides most newlyweds, and often plagues seasoned married couples – the division of household labour. It’s common because partners usually have different definitions as to what constitutes “clean” and assumptions as to who should do what based on their unique family backgrounds. 

Your first order of business then is to talk all of this through. Lay all your assumptions, expectations, and personal preferences out on the table. The goals for your discussion should be unity, understanding, a commitment to shared responsibility, and a plan that is fair and equitable.

Next, together make a comprehensive list of everything that needs to be done including the time requirement for each task. Then, each of you go over the list individually and indicate which of these you think are your responsibilities. Afterwards, share your lists and compare the results.  Where you agree, fine. Where it’s less clear, discuss which of you has a preference or is better-equipped to take on that task. Once everything’s been assigned, it’s important that you tally up the time requirement to make sure it’s reasonably fair based on the overall demands on each of you. Keep in mind that this is a partnership and that you’ll need to stay flexible, and make occasional exceptions based on your family’s changing circumstances and needs.

Finally, remember the rewards. Tackling chores together eases the burden, and a cooperative system will leave you with more time for togetherness and more leisure for individual activities.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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