Sharing Chores with Your Spouse

Every couple must work it out.

Not working it out means there will be heated discussions g-a-l-o-r-e to look forward to.

Who gets to do which chore?

Each couple is unique, each career situation different, each living space varied. So I can’t really speak to which ways are best or most needed for you (or for the future you), but I can tell you how we worked it out. And I can end this post with the disclaimer you should know from the start: we are still working it out. Changing life seasons are delightfully punctual, and what worked last year won’t cut it this next year.

SETTING CHORES UP:

So let me describe us. I am a part-time, remote I.T. Project Manager. I’m at home 95% of the time. My Husband commutes 45 minutes to his full-time job. And right there is our biggest difference on what energy each of us can dedicate to chores. Yeah, both of our jobs are mentally tasking, but not physically. Our weeks are peppered with church items, but not much more typically.

We took our situation into account. And in taking it all into account, here’s how we started: a discussion.

  1. I listed out the chores.
  2. We discussed each item on this list, with he and I discussing what % we disliked each.
  3. We discussed how often each chore needed to be completed. (Weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly?)
  4. We divvied them up: his and hers.
  5. I picked what days I’d try to get mine done, Husband did the same with his.

It amazed me that when one of us hated a particular chore, the other didn’t mind it. That helped tons. It might not be your situation, but it helps when it happens.

For us, the chores divided out almost equally between him and I, based on energy allotment per day. In the areas where it was uneven, the load had to be discussed additionally. We needed to be honest about where we were willing to stretch some. Both of us made a small sacrifice at that point.

We ended up with a chore list that didn’t just represent what we were fine handling, but containing a chore or two that showed we loved the other person. Sacrifice-like.

That brought us to a place where we were set up for the season.

PHYSICAL & EMOTIONAL LIMITATIONS:

Physical situation should be discussed as often as it changes, right? If you’re taking notes for your own household, be sure and grasp this. Sometimes one of us can have emotional strain/physical sickness/injury for a season. When that happens, discuss it. It all affects the other spouse and how they feel about their part of the chores load, which can end up being a disagreement in the future.

KEEP YOUR BEST FRIEND IN MIND:

We learned that when discussions (disagreements?) arose over chores, sometimes it was one of us needing a little rest. That really flips the switch on chore time.

A stressed spouse who is attempting to rest over doing chores should be praised, not shamed. The more OCD spouse will groan a little, but they will soon realize they can’t pay anyone to be their best friend.

You can’t pay anyone to be your best friend.

You can pay for a house cleaner, a yard service, a launderer, and math tutor for the kids.

Likewise, no one can be your spouse’s playmate, your spouse’s best listening ear, your spouse’s intimate lover.

Chores shouldn’t stress either of you out.

Chores should not keep you from being ready to laugh, love, hold.

If they are, start searching for the reason they are. If it’s pace, have a heartfelt discussion over what gets cut from the calendar. If it’s stuff, consider going minimalist. If it’s activities for the littles, consider boundaries. Boundaries are also the answer if it’s family drama or outside relationship forces.

And if chores are a “land mine” for you or your spouse, I highly recommend counseling. (“Land mines” are topics strongly tied to an event in you or your spouse’s past that makes you/them explode. Think high-resistance happening at even the mention of the topic.) Many “land mines” are so deeply embedded, they require professional help to disarm them for good. There’s no shame in that. Getting past the past ensures a more loving and healthy future.

Well, I hope you don’t get stuck with the toilet cleaning, but, if you do, invest in a good scrub brush and a cling gel that doesn’t fail.

Disclaimer: we are still working this out. Hope this helps you some regardless. 🙂

 

endkevianaelliot