We’ve talked about several aspects of splitting up household duties. Here are a few more things to consider.
The division of chores should be an ongoing dialogue. Any new system will need tweaks, and you may discover new things about what is important to you or your spouse. That’s OK. As we said previously, the important thing isn’t exactly how your system works, it’s your agreement about who does what & when. The “how” should probably be left out unless it matters to the outcome—don’t micromanage your spouse or be critical of their efforts. In some cases, it can be important, though, to define what “done” means. Are the dishes in the dishwasher? Are the counters and table also wiped off and the garbage emptied? Stritof (2020) suggests touching base on a plan each week. “Let one another know what the coming week is going to be like: meetings, errands, special occasions, etc. Then decide who is going to do what, make a list, and post the list. Then let it go.” And another important point: “Don’t nag each other about what you volunteered to do. If the task hasn’t been done by the following week when you next sit down to share expectations, that’s the time to bring it up” (2020).
According to Stritof, compromise works best if you select priorities. “Set your priorities as a couple. What is truly important to each of you? … If you are comfortable with a messy home and it bothers your spouse, you both need to compromise. Compromise works best if you select priorities, rather than trying to completely satisfy both partners” (2020).
Because it’s nearly impossible to find a true 50/50 split when it comes to a varied set of tasks, Rowe (2021) suggests striving for equity rather than equality. “Equity, in this case, means that balance is achieved because both partners agreed on fair adjustments based on each other’s needs and net contributions in the home as well as outside of it. … If one partner’s day job is very strenuous and requires a lot of physical exertion, they may wish to do chores that are more related to planning, paying, and organizing than to physical labor.”
Gregoire (2017) adds that one of the benefits of marriage is that you can each do what you’re best at, and thereby reap the benefits of specialization. In addition, “If you’re expecting your spouse to do their share, then you’re always looking at them asking if they’re living up to their end of the bargain. That’s a recipe for constant resentment … we should each put our all into a marriage–100-100” (2017). Along with that, remember to say, “thank you!” Even if your spouse is doing what is considered a fair split, ordinary, everyday gratitude goes a long way. Try saying “thank you” at least once a day. Foster an attitude of appreciation for what each one contributes to the marriage (chores included!). Remember, you’re in this together!
Gregoire, S. W. (2017, May 2). Top 10 Principles for Splitting Household Chores with Your Husband. To Love, Honor and Vacuum. https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2017/05/splitting-household-chores-with-husband/
Rowe, S. (2021, July 30). How to Split Chores When the Honey-Do List Gets Heated. Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/lib/chore-war-household-tasks-and-the-two-paycheck-couple
Stritof, S. (2020, February 4). How to Keep Housework From Hurting Your Marriage. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/chores-conflict-in-marriage-2300980