Updated: Sep 5
Table of Contents
The role of the husband has become increasingly important as the modern world of work has created a need to redefine traditional household roles.
The research is clear. When couples manage the home as a team their marital satisfaction improves. Our goal is to bring more happiness to your marriage.
We will equip couples with fair and efficient approaches to managing the home with harmony. We'll do so by sharing easy-to-follow tips and strategies, rooted in academic research, for husbands to adopt, helping to achieve a fairer distribution of chores.
Our guide will help you achieve a more balanced and happier home so you can live life to its fullest.
Chores are routine tasks or duties that are part of the running of a household. These are often daily or weekly tasks and can include activities such as cleaning, doing laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, taking care of pets, and maintaining the yard or garden.
Household chores list for couples
We have created the following household chores list couples can use as a starting point to address the tasks needed for a household to run smoothly.
The gender stereotype around household chores
For many years, the stereotype was that household chores were solely a woman's responsibility. Men were expected to work outside of the home and bring in the money, while women were expected to stay home and take care of the house and children. This stereotype has persisted for decades, but fortunately, it is beginning to change.
Many men are now taking an active role in household chores, realizing that it is not only fair but also beneficial for everyone involved.
Gender stereotypes around the home persist in many societies, despite progress towards gender equality. Here are three examples of common stereotypes, based on research:
Housework and Cleaning Duties
Women are stereotypically assigned the majority of cleaning and housekeeping duties. Despite changes in women's employment status, research indicates that women often continue to bear the primary responsibility for domestic work in many households.
The assumption that women are naturally better at or more responsible for childcare is a prevalent stereotype. This can include both physical care (e.g., changing diapers) and emotional care (e.g., comforting a distressed child). Although fathers are increasingly involved in childcare, women are often still viewed as the primary caregivers.
Men are often stereotyped as being responsible for maintenance or repair tasks around the house, like fixing a broken appliance or maintaining the yard. This stereotype perpetuates the idea that men are more adept at physical or technical tasks.
Why it's important for husbands to help with household chores
Managing a full time job and responsibilities at home can be stressful. There are consequences to one partner being solely responsible for all of the household chores, it can be overwhelming and stressful. However, when both partners contribute, the workload is shared, making it more manageable for everyone.
There are many reasons why it's important for husbands to help with household chores. Here are five important reasons to highlight:
Research suggests that sharing household chores can lead to higher marital satisfaction. A more balanced distribution of housework is associated with increased feelings of fairness and equity in the relationship, which contribute to overall relationship satisfaction.
Reducing Work-Family Conflict
When husbands share in household chores, it helps in reducing work-family conflict. This type of conflict arises when responsibilities in one area (like work) interfere with responsibilities in another (like family). By sharing the load, this stress can be mitigated.
Husbands' participation in household chores shows children that housework isn't exclusively "women's work" and can help to break down gender stereotypes. This is especially important for young boys, who may learn to take on these tasks in their future homes.
Mental Health of Wives
When the burden of housework falls disproportionately on wives, it can have negative impacts on their mental health. Research has found a link between imbalances in housework and increased rates of anxiety and depression in women.
Mental Health of Husbands
Research has found that when men participate fairly in household chores that their happiness increases more than the happiness of their partners.
Benefits for husbands who help with household chores
Husbands who fairly tackle the household chores with their partners commonly experience greater relationship satisfaction.
When both partners share the workload, it creates a more balanced and equal partnership, which can help reduce stress and improve overall mental health of partners who were solely responsible for all of the household chores.
The greatest benefit for husbands who help with household chores may be improved marital and sexual satisfaction. Studies have found that a more equitable division of household labor can lead to greater marital satisfaction for both partners.
Moreover, research by Carlson, Hanson, and Fitzroy specifically demonstrated a connection between the sharing of household chores and increased sexual intimacy within relationships, suggesting that an equitable division of domestic labor can enhance the quality of couples' intimate relationships.
Tips for husbands to excel at household chores
Here are ten tips for husbands looking to excel at household chores:
Plan and Organize: Develop a cleaning schedule or routine to make chores less daunting. A structured plan can help you break down large tasks into smaller, manageable parts.
Learn the Basics: Learn how to do all basic household tasks, from laundry to dishes to vacuuming. If you don't know how to do something, there are plenty of online tutorials available.
Communicate with Your Partner: Have an open conversation about household duties. Understand your partner's expectations and express your own. This mutual understanding can prevent misunderstandings and conflicts.
Be Proactive: Don't wait for your partner to ask for help. If you see something that needs to be done, do it. This proactive attitude can greatly contribute to the smooth running of the household.
Take Responsibility for Specific Tasks: Assign specific chores that you'll always take care of. This could help divide the work evenly and provide a sense of ownership and responsibility.
Involve the Kids: If you have children, involve them in age-appropriate chores. This can help reduce the overall chore load and also teach them important life skills.
Maintain Consistency: Try to do your chores regularly and consistently. This prevents tasks from piling up and becoming overwhelming.
Prioritize Quality: Don't rush through chores just to get them done. Prioritize doing them well. This can save time in the long run and maintain a clean and organized home.
Find a System that Works for You: Every person and family is unique. What works for one household may not work for another. Experiment to find a chore system or routine that suits your family's schedule and preferences.
Show Appreciation: If your partner does a household task, acknowledge and appreciate their effort. This promotes a positive atmosphere and encourages a team approach to household management.
Remember, the goal is not just to help with chores but to contribute to a balanced, equitable, and harmonious home environment.
How to divide household chores fairly
Dividing household chores fairly is essential for creating a harmonious home environment. One way to do this is to create a list of household chores and assign them to each partner based on their strengths and interests.
For example, if one partner enjoys cooking, they can take on the responsibility of cooking meals, while the other partner takes on the responsibility of cleaning up after meals. Additionally, consider rotating household chores on a regular basis to ensure that one partner is not solely responsible for a particular chore.
Research provides several strategies for dividing chores fairly within households:
Communication and Negotiation
Discussing and negotiating household responsibilities can lead to a more equitable division of labor. This process involves open and honest communication about each person's expectations, preferences, and abilities.
Rotating chores on a regular basis can ensure that all family members share equally in the more and less desirable tasks. This prevents any single person from always having to do the most disliked chores.
Some researchers suggest dividing chores based on the amount of time each person has available. This takes into account work hours and other commitments outside of the home, and ensures that everyone contributes according to their capacity.
This strategy involves assigning tasks based on the value placed on them by each family member. If someone particularly enjoys or finds value in a certain chore, they might take primary responsibility for it.
Some researchers propose that splitting tasks by preference or skill could result in a fair division of chores. This approach assumes that family members will feel most satisfied and least burdened when they perform tasks they are good at or enjoy.
Overcoming challenges in breaking the stereotype
Breaking the stereotype around household chores can be challenging. Many people have grown up with the belief that household chores are solely a woman's responsibility, and it can be difficult to break free from this mindset. However, it's important to remember that change is possible.
We hosted Dr. Kate Mangino on the Modern Husbands Podcast.
Dr. Kate Mangino has written and delivered curricula in over 20 countries about issues such as healthy masculinity and women’s empowerment.
She brings her lens of social change to her debut book, Equal Partners, which introduces readers to a diverse group of men who are proud to be equal partners in the home. She draws from their examples to offer practical advice as to what each of us can do to rewrite gender norms.
Dr. Mangino has published in Time and Slate; Equal Partners has been featured in The Atlantic, CNN, BBC World News and The Guardian.
Show Notes for Podcast
0:00-1:08 Introduction and overview of Dr. Mangino’s book Equal Partners
2:35-5:46 What does teamwork look like in the 21st century home?
5:47-10:30 How can partners start our married lives together as teammates?
10:31-15:29 Using plain spoken language and common sense to approach conversations to address managing the home together
15:30-25:39 What should partners talk about to pull together a plan for each of us inside and outside the home when we have children?
25:40-32:04 The latest Pew report found that women continue to share a disproportionate amount of the labor at home, even when they earn more and work longer hours outside of the home. Why are we perpetuating domestic inequity, and what can we do about it?
32:05-38:10 Do husbands need to financially provide for families to be a great husband?
38:11-48:01 Our listeners are busy and need to be conscious of their time. Can you share some of those categories and how couples can create time management strategies to work together?
Household chores for married couples: 72 household chore hacks and a household chore list for couples
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