11 Couples Who Figured Out How to Stop Fighting About Chores

Wendy Robinson | Jan 16, 2017 Love & Sex
Image: iStock.com/franckreporter

couple sharing chores

When it comes to having a happy marriage, research says that the top three factors are having a faithful partner, some hot sexual chemistry, and someone to split the household chores with. No wonder I think it is so hot when my husband folds the laundry. 

According to that survey, sharing the chores fairly was considered more important to a happy marriage than shared political views, having interests in common, and even whether or not you make enough money. 

I totally get this. The thing about chores is that they are never done. No matter how many times you clean, you're never done. Things will get messy again, laundry will need to be folded, dishes will need to be washed -- for the rest of your life. So feeling like you are the only one standing in the way of your home's descending into squalor -- yes, I have young children, why do you ask? -- can be a totally frustrating and fight-worthy experience. 

But there is hope -- at least according to the 11 women we talked to who have figured out a way to end the chore wars with their partners. Read on for some totally steal-worthy ideas and to know that you aren't alone if you've ever contemplated divorce at the sight of a sink filled with someone else's chin whiskers. 

  • So Many Discussions


    "Figuring out how to share chores took lots of discussions over the years. [We check] back in at different stages. For example, if he is working on a big house project, I pick up more of the chores during the project, but we discuss again afterwards (read: I remind him to step up the chores again). [There is] lots of open communication. LOTS! We have had this discussion SO MANY TIMES!" -- Patty P., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Finding Balance


    "I feel like my husband and I balance each other out. He is a daily light-chores guy and I am a spend-a-large-chunk-of-two-days deep cleaner. He definitely does more than I do, but I'm okay with that. My general philosophy is if something is visually bothering you, clean it. Don't place your irritation on the other person.

    For example, I don't mind leaving dishes for the morning. Andrew can't stand that. So he does the dishes and sometimes gets mad that he is always doing them, but if he left them, I'd do them while I am waiting for the coffee to brew and the dogs are having breakfast. I work all damn day, I just need a break in the evening.

    We both work very hard and deserve the right to do chores when we individually have the energy. Overall, it works out great, but if either of us were super controlling or type A, this would probably not work." -- Andrea P., Albany, New York

  • New House, New Rules


    "For us, buying our first house was a big part of figuring how to stop fighting about chores. We worked really hard to get our dream house and it is important to both of us that we keep it in good shape. 

    Our rule since the week we moved in is that we don't do anything on the weekend until the house is cleaned first. If one of us has a thing he or she wants to do on a Saturday morning, then he or she needs to get up and [start] cleaning early. Both of us have to be cleaning by 9 a.m. if there is still work to be done. We are kind of hard-core about it, but it works for us." -- Amy T., Phoenix, Arizona

    More from CafeMom: 8 Tips for Splitting Housework With Your Husband to Avoid Fights

  • Be Fair to Women


    "I was just rereading Simplicity Parenting (so good) and the author makes a wonderful point about division of labor in the home. Basically he says that for it to be fair to the woman -- whom society views as the one who must ultimately make sure things get done even if the husband usually does it -- each partner should take on chores, and [those chores] are exclusively theirs to do.

    So each partner and the kids see that area of home life as that partner's area, and the other does not have to even worry about it or think about it. For example, maybe Dad always does baths, or loads the dishwasher. So we have clear expectations about who is doing what." -- Lexi S., Maplewood, Minnesota

  • Hire It Out


    "The key to ending our fights was hiring a cleaning person for every other week. We both work 50 hours a week. Nobody has the time or energy to either clean or fight about cleaning. We joke that the money we spend on a cleaner is money we DON'T have to spend on a therapist." -- Darcie S., Des Moines, Iowa

  • Desperate Measures


    "My husband cleans the house for blow jobs, because after our cleaning person quit, I offered him one in a fit of desperation.

    Also, whoever cooks, the other cleans up. And we have the kids do a lot." -- Mandy B., Saint Paul, Minnesota 

    More from CafeMom: 13 Men Give Their Brutally Honest Thoughts About Marriage

  • Simple Solution


    "We made a chore list with frequency of each chore listed. Now we each take turns picking a chore for the day or week. Works well!" -- Aimee F., St. Louis, Missouri

  • Marry a Functional Man


    "I was so lucky that my hubs was a fully functioning independent bachelor up until we moved in together (post-wedding). His mom taught him to do laundry and clean, and he cooks better than I do. I think because we both once had to do everything independently for ourselves, it's easier to split [things] up now. I generally take the bills, appointments, kid stuff, schedule/event planning and home/outdoor/maintenance tasks, and he does all of the laundry and most of the dishwasher (in my defense, I WOULD help with dishes more but he's rather particular about how the dishwasher is loaded and unloaded, so I don't try much anymore).

    I cook dinners more since I get home first, but he always cleans up. We have a monthly house cleaner, but both do weekly spot cleaning and vacuuming together as needed. And I do most of the shopping because I can find better deals than he can. It seems like a fair division and we honestly haven't had any disagreements about it in almost 10 years of marriage.

    I should ask him though if it feels fair or if he's just been keeping his mouth shut all of these years because he's a nice guy." -- Laurie R., Abilene, Texas

  • Control Freaks


    "We are both control freaks about some things, but not about the SAME things, so I think that helps. We each do the thing that we are most picky about or best at and we don't question the other person about how he/she does his/her thing. 

    Like, I do the money stuff and I have a system that works for me. It isn't what he'd do but it is MY THING, not his. So he has to zip it." -- Susie K., San Diego, California

    More from CafeMom: 6 Household Chores That Are Much Harder Than They Seem

  • Marry a Woman


    "Honestly, marrying another woman was the key! I think we don't have the whole gender thing at play. We both expected to be equally responsible for household stuff. This was so NOT the case with my ex-husband.

    This, along with not having to worry about birth control, are part of the lesbian benefit package." -- Shiloh G., Iowa City, Iowa

  • Not the Typical Male


    "Getting a cleaning person was nonnegotiable when I moved in. And not because he's a typical male -- it's the opposite.

    He would spend THE ENTIRE DAY cleaning the 5' x 5' bathroom. I ain't got time to wait around for that. It's like bathrooms are a black hole for men. What the HELL do they do in there??" -- Jennifer K., Saint Paul, Minnesota

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