8 Tips for Splitting Housework With Your Husband to Avoid Fights

couple choresYou know what is so much fun for couples to do together? Fight over housework! Oh yeah, baby. Nothing turns me on like arguing over whose turn it is to unload the dishwasher. And don't even get me started on how exhilarating the laundry squabble is. 

Kidding, obviously. Dividing up what to do around the house is one of those problems that can divide a husband and wife.

"I definitely see household chores and division of labor as something a lot of couples argue about," says family counselor Rachel Sussman. As of 2013, men spent about 10 hours more a week on paid work, while moms were spending six more hours a week on household chores and three more hours on childcare. But does it feel equal?  

If you find yourself struggling to strike the right balance, here are a few tips for sorting it all out peacefully with your spouse -- without breaking dishes or throwing socks at each other.


division of domestic labor

1. Don't obsess over equality. "It's not always going to be a 50-50 situation," says Sussman. She points out that in many families, one spouse does more paid work than the other. "It should be a matter of who has the time."

2. Don't keep score. This can be toxic for a marriage. As hard as it sometimes feels, just don't.

3. Have a conversation and make an agreement. "Try to come up with a chore list that doesn't look like an Excel spreadsheet," Sussman says. "Give it a month, see if it gets done, and if it's not working, you have to figure out a system that does, realizing it might never be perfect."

4. Do what you do best. "I like to cook and my husband doesn't mind doing dishes," Sussman says. So rather than taking turns with each, she does all the cooking and he does all the clean-up. Divide your chores according to what you like doing ... or at least what you don't hate doing.

5. Call in reinforcements. "Whatever you can hire [out], great," Sussman says. Of course, not everyone can afford paid help. But heck, if you can? Do it. Don't feel guilty.

6. Keep it positive. "I love when couples make jokes about chores instead of arguing," Sussman says. Don't nag. If each of you has agreed to pick up your own clothes and your husband doesn't, just leave them on the floor. "Eventually he'll run out of socks and underwear and pretty quickly realize what he needs to do," Sussman says. No need to even comment on what's happening.

7. Be a grown-up about it. "Being in a marriage means you do have to change and evolve," Sussman says. "It's not the same as having roommates or living in a dorm." She recommends speaking in "I" statements: "When I have to tell you this is important to me and you don't listen, it makes me feel like you don't care about our relationship."

8. Check the overall health of your relationship. "Make sure you're enjoying each other and having fun with each other," Sussman says, not just arguing over chores all the time. "If you're getting along really well, and you find your husband just doesn't have as much time as you do, just do more of the housework. Sometimes it feels good to do something nice for someone!"

For some couples, all this may be a non-issue (but who are they? We want to know!). If you and your spouse are among the many who find themselves frequently bickering over the division of labor around the house, though, take a time-out and see if any of these tips work. And there's always this option: Get your kids to do more chores, too!

How do you and your spouse typically divide up the housework?


Image © iStock.com/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

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