It’s official: no one likes doing chores. You’d always find that strange kid in high school who actually liked to do homework, but show me one person who actually likes to do all the chores that have to get done around the house and I’ll be truly amazed.
Chores are the most mundane part of being married, but believe it or not lots of couples have huge fights over chores. In the beginning, when first dating, couples generally do everything together: shop, cook, clean, and walk the dog. But shortly after saying our vows – or even before that – we fall into more familiar, even stereotypical, roles. “Part of this has to do with our role models – our parents,” explains Samara Fabrick, LCSW, a couples therapist in Beverly Hills. “But another part has to do with practicality. We naturally gravitate toward things we’re good at.”
Before you begin to argue over whose turn it is to do the dishes or who has to take the trash out, it’s a good idea to split up the chores – newlywed style – in a way that’s agreeable to the both of you.
Like everything else about getting married, this should be addressed before the wedding. Newlyweds are often surprised to find that the division of household chores is something that can be difficult to work out. Often, there is no attempt to make an equitable division, and this creates hard feelings on the part of the spouse who feels that they do more than their fair share.
One of the biggest deciding factors on who is going to do what type of chore is who is going to be home and who is not. Some couples have similar work schedules, but quite often, in today’s economy, one spouse is working much later than the other, or on days that the other spouse has off.
Before you can begin to split up all the household chores that you have to get done, you need to make sure that you set realistic goals. You can’t expect someone to take out the trash every Friday morning, for instance, if they have to be at work at 7 a.m. on a Friday. Take their work load into consideration before you even begin negotiating.
When you start splitting up the chores, volunteer to take everything that you truly enjoy doing. Do you like making meals? Do you not mind folding laundry? Could you run the vacuum sweeper? Make a list of everything that you actually enjoy doing. If you both like to do similar things, you can bargain for things that you dislike to do, like taking out the trash or sweeping the floor.
While some couples divide up each and every chore, others are more fluid in their division. For instance there are many couples where the wife is in charge of most of the household chores (with a few thrown in for the man), while the husband is in charge of vehicle and yard maintenance. Or vice versa. Split the chores up you both are neutral about, either by agreement or by chance.
Aim to do more than your fair share. This sounds like it goes against the principal of dividing up household chores equitably, but, in fact, if you have this attitude, you’ll find that your spouse will adopt it too and try to make things easier for you.
In the beginning it may be wise to do the grocery shopping together. If the wife usually does most of the shopping she may have favorites that she consistently buys. The husband would be smart to learn what these items are so he will not be returning things that may not be what she needs if she is doing the cooking.
What works best for you is what’s important, and that you both agree on the division of labor. And remember: if you ever start to have an issue over the chores that you’re supposed to be doing, don’t get upset or passive-aggressive, actually talk to your spouse about the situation. Be flexible. Bargains and changes can always be made!
Larry’s Note: A special “Thank you” to Danielle Tate, Founder and President of http://www.MissNowMrs.com/ for inspiring this article.
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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