Let’s face it: most of life at home with your significant other revolves around chores.
Whether you’re a young couple who just got their BTO flat or a mature married couple with children, doing housework is an integral part of living together.
Be it cleaning your home, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, or doing the laundry, household chores are a staple activity for every couple.
And there’s nothing more frustrating than coming home from a long day at work only to realise that your house is in a mess because your partner has neglected their chores.
In fact, research has shown that, after faithfulness and sex, sharing household chores is the most important cornerstone for a successful marriage (The Atlantic).
Thus, it is important to work out how to share your household chores with your partner to reduce conflict in the home, and to strengthen your relationship as a couple.
Here are some tips on how you can share your chores with your partner for a healthier and happier relationship.
1. FAIL TO PLAN, PLAN TO FAIL — BE AS SPECIFIC AS POSSIBLE
Sharing chores with your partner isn’t just about saying “each one do half-half” — in fact, such arbitrary 50/50 splits are recipes for disaster.
Figure out and note down WHAT needs to be done, WHO should carry out the task, and WHEN they should be done (how regular, which day & what time).
Addressing the WHAT: Discuss which chores are high & low priority, and lay out in detail the expectations of the chores to be done.
Addressing the WHO: Assign chores to maximise the strengths of each other, and to work around each other’s weaknesses. We all have our own quirks & preferences, so there’s no singular rule for this.
Addressing the WHEN: Discuss each other’s schedules to figure out when best to fit chores in. It’s best to develop a flexible plan — sticking to a rigid plan is not ideal as it does not account for unexpected changes to one’s schedule.
Once you’ve got a well-discussed and thought-out plan, it’s time to execute it! Expect some bumps along the way — note what is going well with the plan and what isn’t going so well.
Then, revisit the initial plan with these notes and make adjustments from there. It is a process of continuous refinement, so don’t expect to get it right on the first try!
It might seem like micromanaging, but having a specific & detailed plan ensures that all that needs to be done are accounted for, which in turn reduces the chances of disappointments from undone chores.
2. ACKNOWLEDGE EACH OTHER'S EFFORTS
A little acknowledgement to your partner’s efforts go a long way. It might seem like common-sense, but yet couples don’t do it enough at times!
For starters, check in on each other regularly. Show your gratitude and appreciation to your partner’s efforts in doing the chores, even if it’s a simple “thank you”.
Also, constantly communicate with your partner to find out how they’re finding the plan, if they’re able to cope, the difficulties they are facing, and what they feel could be done better.
Acknowledging your partner’s efforts with open communication and appreciation is a sure way of motivating each other, and also strengthens your relationship.
3. DO NOT NITPICK ON HOW YOUR PARTNER DOES THEIR CHORES
One of the easiest ways to derail your chore plan (and your relationship) is to nitpick on how your partner perform their chores, or to criticise how they choose to accomplish them.
This creates unnecessary tension in the home, shows your distrust in your partner, and also disregards their upbringing, which could potentially ruin your relationship.
Instead, it is important to learn about each others’ histories and their upbringing to understand how they were taught to do a certain chore.
We also have to keep in mind that there’s no one sure way of performing a chore. As long as the chore is done and the expectations are met, that’s good enough.
4. WORK AS A TEAM, NOT AS INDIVIDUALS
This doesn't mean that you should only do your chores at the same time as your partner.
Working as a theme means having honest & open dialogue, and engaging in constant 2-way communication — a recurring theme throughout this article.
Spend less time arguing and spend more time working together. Instead of just focusing on doing your part of the chores, be mindful of your partner’s efforts and the bigger picture of the chore plan as well.
You’ll soon notice that your home is not only cleaner and more organised, but also healthier and happier.
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Third parties are always not welcomed in a relationship, but let Leifheit be the intermediary to provide you with the tools you need to make light work of household chores.