Help! Chores Are Ruining My Marriage

Say What!? 6

You probably wouldn't guess it, but I'm a fairly fastidious person. I love bleach like I love cotton candy (read: a lot). With three kids, it's pretty hard to keep up with the chores, and it's even harder when your partner doesn't find chores to be something "worth doing." I won't lie: this difference of opinion led to many fights between us, although it did not cause our impending divorce.

Here's what I wish I'd done about chores when we were still together.

1) Be open, upfront, and honest about the way you want your living quarters to look. That's vital and a discussion that needs to happen before you're screaming over his inability to throw away his trash or her inability to put dirty clothes in the laundry.

2) Decide what will work for each of you. Marriage is all about compromise - neither person gets it "their way" which means that you're both going to have to change your expectations so that you're on the same page.

3) Decide which of the chores are really necessary to everyone's health and well-being. Just because you're a neat freak doesn't mean your partner has to flip out each time someone spills a drop of coffee on the counter.

4) Create a chore chart of chores that must be done on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. This can include things as simple as "taking out the trash" or "loading the dishwasher."

5) Decide, based on ability and preference, who will take care of what chores and write them down. I suggest a Google Calendar, but there's a zillion apps out there for just that. I like Google Calendar's because you can share then and even have them set up auto-reminders to tell you what you're supposed to be doing.

6) Remember that not all chores are created equal and divide them accordingly. Starting the dishwasher is NOT as hard as washing all the floors, so make sure the chart is fair.

7) If your partner's chores go unfinished, remind him or her nicely (NO NAGGING!) that he or she needs to finish their chore. If it's impossible for some reason (migraine or something like that), offer to help. It's a partnership.

8) Understand that YOUR way isn't always the RIGHT way and if your partner does things differently? That's okay. You don't have to be in total control about everything.

9) Be sure to thank each other for completion of each chore. Not only is it nice to feel appreciated, it's a great way to make sure you continue using your chore chart.

10) Whatever you do, don't let resentments build up inside you and fester. Those negative feelings will only fester until they explode in a nasty fight. If your partner isn't pulling his or her weight around the house, talk to them about the agreed-upon chore chart.

How do you divide up chores in your house?


Image via EvelynGiggles/Flickr

breakups, commitment


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Miche... MichelleNYC

I am sooo guily of needing chores to be done my way... I have a near meltdown every time my husband does things in a different way!

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

I do them all, it's my job.

corri... corrinacs

Thank you for posting this!!!  My family has had this exact problem.  We are working on it, but I think the biggest thing we both have to get over is our expectations of what constitutes a clean house.  And divying up the chores :/

Nelli... NellieAthome

Gee MichelleNYC - who cares how the chore is done so long as the chore is done and the result is a clean whatever? If you really have a meltdown every time your husband does something in a differnt way then the message you are sending him is that you do not trust him and that you feel he is incompetent. Can we say "Divorce court"??? Beleive me, my MIL is like that and she is on her thrid husband and sixth housekeeping service in the 21 years I've known her. She has alienated her kids, grandkids and friends to the point that none of them ever offer to help her do anything at her home. When my husband first moved into my house he kept asking how I wanted everythng done and finally I told him "I don't care if you vacuum the floors while stark naked, standing on your hands and singing opera so long as the floors are clean when you are done" Sure enough he has an.... interesting approach to the cleaning the floors but the end result is that the are clean and 20 years later we are still together.....

Angie... AngieHayes

I actually started just telling my husband to do things when they need done; can you take that garbage up, could you carry that laundry basket up, etc... although, we probably feel like they should be able to see these things and do them all on there own, they don't. 

hexxuss hexxuss

My SO & I both have very very similar ideas on cleanliness.  We don't do a chart or anything like that, when we see something that needs to be done, we do it, or if we intend to do something on a certain day, we tell the other person.  He didn't care where the dishes, etc went, as long as they always got put back in their spot (which works really really well for me too lol).  There's other stuff that I didn't care where it went to, so he put that stuff up.  After almost 20 years, and 2 lazy ex-husbands (one of whom didn't work AND didn't do jack all around the house), I'm just happy to have a guy who doesn't mind doing dishes, vacuuming, and being in a real partnership.  No need for a piece of paper here =) we're solid just like this.

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