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How to Tackle Household Chores as a Couple

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

How the Conflict Can Arise


Unequal distribution of labor leads to resentment, frustration, and unfairness.


A study found that people who have a lower tolerance for mess tend to complete housework more quickly because they are uncomfortable with it. That same person is more likely to always be considered the designated dishwasher the more often they tackle those chores — like washing the dishes.



Couples often argue about household chores because of power imbalances and societal expectations that often factor into these conflicts. Traditional gender roles have influenced the division of labor, burdening women with the majority of household tasks, even when they are also engaged in paid employment.


On the bright side, researchers at the University of Cambridge believe more men support gender equality than ever before, and found that men are uncomfortable with not doing their fair share of housework.


We will share simple ideas for tackling the household chores as a couple.

 

Take this 10 question Money and Marriage quiz to learn how you can better resolve financial conflicts in your marriage.

 

Strategies for Resolving Chores Conflicts


Start by reminding yourselves that societal norms stem from a time when most women did not work outside the home. In the modern world, the majority of households include dual incomes, 45% of which include women who earn around the same or more than their husbands.


Discuss expectations honestly. Find a balance that works for both partners. You have to value domestic work and appreciate your partner's contributions.


As shared in our preview post Solving Conflict in Marriage, couples do not argue less. They use these strategies to resolve conflict.

  • Tackle solvable issues first

  • Maintain respect and empathy

  • Be an active listener and compromise

Read the full post where we expand on these ideas.


Practical Tips for Enhancing Cooperation

Rather than assigning tasks based solely on gender roles, emphasize teamwork and cooperation.


Creating a chore chart or schedule that outlines each person's responsibilities helps set clear expectations and ensures equal involvement. And to prevent resentment, express gratitude and appreciation for each other's contributions.


Start by assigning tasks based on natural skillsets and what you each enjoy. To avoid unneeded conflict or collaboration, ensure each partner owns the full task selected.

 
 

As an example, if a partner does the cooking, that partner should do the grocery shopping and family food calendar as well. Cooking takes a mental load beyond making food: keeping the right ingredients and knowing when to purchase them is a task in itself. It's easier to own it all and allow your partner to tackle a different task in it's entirety.


To dive deeper into ideas to manage the household fairly, read Household Chores: Simple Solutions for Husbands to Help Create Happier Homes.

 

Learn More


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