Q&A: Getting my husband to help with chores


How can I get my husband to help keep the house clean? I never noticed that he was a “messie” before we were married. Since I’m the one who likes the house clean and orderly, I’m the one who picks up after him and does all the housework. I’m getting tired of it; what should I do?

Answer: This is actually a fairly common problem. When you and your spouse fell in love, you weren’t thinking about housework. Now that you’re married, it’s a whole different ball game.

If your relationship is to thrive, you’ll have to find a mutually satisfactory way to manage this aspect of your life together. It may help to remember that, to a certain extent, this is a question of conflicting personalities. Creative types, for instance, are often less concerned about “neatness” than people who take a more “left-brain” approach to life.

Ultimately, nobody can change another person. The only person you can change is yourself. But you can make positive alterations in your living situation and your relationship if you’re willing to approach the problem with patience, understanding and lots of love. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Be upfront and honest. Assume ownership of your feelings, then voice them candidly and respectfully. Approach the situation as equal partners with the goal of working out an arrangement that’s acceptable to both of you.
  • Don’t attack your spouse. Confront the problem; don’t belittle the person.
  • Encourage growth. When you see positive progress taking place, offer praise for your spouse’s efforts.
  • Recognize that change takes time. Be patient, and let your spouse know that you’re in this together for the long haul.

As you go through this process, try to view it as an opportunity for cooperation rather than conflict. A key to the challenge of marriage is striving to understand each other and seeking to meet each other’s needs. This is a great area in which to put these principles into practice.

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