In a world when about half of all marriages end in divorce, finding ways to address major arguments before they fester can help you keep your relationship on the right track. Domestic duties are a source of constant strife in many marriages, but there are a few ways that you can address this issue early on- even before you get married.
Don’t think that the only choice is a 50/50 split with arduous record-keeping; instead do see what you can agree on as a couple before making a permanent commitment. Maybe one of you will handle only weekend cooking while the other takes on that job during the week.
It doesn’t matter what type of system you choose to divide up housework. What matters is that you do discuss the issue and come to an agreement before it becomes a problem.
Make a Comprehensive List
The first step to dividing the household chores is to make a full list of everything that needs to be done in a typical week. Few of us love making lists, but it’s necessary if you are going to try to make sure that everything gets done and that one person isn’t burdened with all of it.
Include the basics, like cleaning the bathrooms, but also consider family management items that are less frequent, such as paying the month’s bills or cleaning the baseboards. Once you have a complete list that both partners worked on together, you can begin to see how much you will need to divide up to make the housework even.
Divide the Good Stuff First
One of the many pleasant lessons my wife learned when we first started talking about marriage was that I actually enjoy ironing. Because she desperately hates the task, it never occurred to her that someone else would find it relaxing! We promptly made ironing one of my go-to tasks, which freed up her time for other household chores.
As you begin the division, each person should pick a few things that he will be happy to do regularly. Also, allow each person to choose one item that she absolutely does not want to do. Use these preferences as a way to ensure that both people will want to do the work that is on the list.
Be Realistic about Time
If one of you has stable 9 to 5 hours and the other has massive overtime expectations, the 9-5er will end up doing more housework. While it may not be equal, it’s certainly a saner way to keep housework from being a marital problem.
You each should estimate the time that a list will take, too, in order to help gauge how both of you see the domestic work fitting into your lives. If one of you estimates 10 hours a week to get everything done while the other says 25, you need to get a clearer idea of the actual time the work will take.
Don’t Forget to Compromise!
Compromise is at the heart of all great marriages. Housework, like finances and other common sources of marital discord, often engenders huge differences in perspective. If one of you believes that vacuuming is a daily task while the other could deal with cleaning up the crumbs once a month, dividing the chores in a way that seems equitable will be tougher.
Look at what both of you want and then begin to sort out the areas where you can compromise. Think of this discussion as a primer for other serious discussions such as child-rearing and retirement planning.
While neither of you is likely to win the vacuuming example, it’s possible that a weekly vacuuming compromise could work. Once you agree to the compromise and stick to it, neither of you has to worry about disagreeing over the issue again.
Consider Hiring Help
Let’s face it. With both of you working, there won’t be a lot of time to do housework. Even if you get home at a decent hour, you won’t want to spend every evening doing the housework. Because you each presumably support yourself before you get married, combining households should free up a little cash.
Check out the prices for a weekly housecleaning or a laundry service. Sometimes it’s better to pay for someone to do the work for you rather than continue to argue about it.
It’s important to discuss housekeeping before you get married. You may find it helpful to talk about it in couple’s counseling- something everyone who is considering marriage should think about.
Benjamin Baker is addicted to writing. He is enjoying the research and he found himself discovering facts about all kinds of topics. He is married with 3 growing teenagers. They live in Denver, Colorado where he enjoys camping and fishing in his free time.