If you were asked to make a list of the top reasons for divorce or general unhappiness among married couples, would you include allocation of housework? It may surprise you to learn that couples fight over household chores as often as they do about money. It is important to everyone’s happiness that each spouse feels the other is doing their fair share of the work, including shopping, yard maintenance, cleaning, laundry, cooking, managing finances, childcare.
Unfortunately, the majority of wives do not feel like they receive the kind of support they need when it comes to chores. Studies have shown that, even when both spouses work outside the home, women continue to take on the lion’s share of the housework and childcare. Before frustrations build to the point that resentment is harming a marriage, partners need to have a frank discussion about the sharing of responsibilities.
“Fair” Doesn’t Mean Equal
Couples are encouraged to sit down together and talk openly about their expectations. There’s no one single way to split the chores because people have different ideas about what constitutes a fair share of housework. One of the keys to being happily married is open and honest communication. When husbands and wives listen to each other without judgement, they can make a plan that satisfies them both.
Once spouses have settled on a fair division of labor they can agree to a schedule that spells out who is responsible for what and when it needs to be done. This is a critical step as it removes the chance for misunderstandings later on down the line. Each of the partners can refer back to the plan should they forget the details of the agreement.
Should You Hire Help?
If you’ve taken all of these steps and still you find yourselves continually arguing about weekly chores like cleaning and shopping, it may be time to seek a different solution. Assigning blame and demanding excuses for why one of you couldn’t get their housework done results in constant stress that can end up hurting your marriage over time. One way to smooth the waters is to consider hiring help.
In the case where the division of labor around the house is just the tip of the iceberg, you may find solving one problem only serves to bring five more into focus. The unfortunate truth is that hiring a house cleaner or someone to take care of the yard is not going to fix an unhappy marriage. Feeling like you may have failed if you admit that the marriage itself is broken is among the worst reasons to stay married when you really want a divorce. You can read more about this topic on our website.