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Chores, Chores, Chores

Chores Can Cause Conflict in Your Marriage


Couple washing dishes in kitchen, laughing, playing with soap suds
Noel Hendrickson/Photodisc/Getty Images

When either of you are unhappy about the allocation of household chores, the stress level in your home will increase tremendously. Conflict over domestic duties around the house is second only to conflict over money in a marriage.

The Biggest Mistake You Can Make Regarding Chores

The biggest mistake you can make in your quest to have your spouse do more chores around the house is to ask for help. Asking for help implies that the responsibility for the chores belongs to just you.

Don't ask for help, but rather that your spouse does his/her share. In actuality, chores around the house should be shared responsibilities.

Stephanie Coontz: "The degree to which housework is shared is now one of the two most important predictors of a woman’s marital satisfaction. And husbands benefit too, since studies show that women feel more sexually attracted to partners who pitch in."
Source: Stephanie Coontz. "The M.R.S. and the Ph.D." NYTimes.com. 2/11/2012.

Chores are a Major Source of Conflict in Marriage

If you ask wives what one of their top stresses is, quite a few will respond that it is the fact that their husbands don't want to do their share of work around the house. Stress levels increase in your home when either one of you is unhappy about unfinished chores.

Couples fight over who does what around the house almost as much as they fight over money. Many surveys and studies point out that even though many women work outside the home, they still tend to do most of the household chores.

The Partnership of Marriage

Marriage is in many ways a business partnership -- the business is running the house. That means keeping financial records, maintenance, shopping, planning, cleaning, cooking, child care, transportation, etc. When the business runs smoothly, there is more peace and harmony.

However, if friends drop in and the house is a mess, or a child needs a ride to a football practice and the car is out of gas, or if there's no clean clothes to wear, or you run out of milk, or it really rains hard and the leaky roof wasn't fixed because of procrastination ... then irritations grow, misunderstandings surface, and the result is conflict.

Statistics About Chores

Doing chores is a dull, repetitive experience for most people. That's why folks don't like to do them. Courtney Ronan writes that according to an MSNBC survey, respondents were asked if the chores in their households were performed by just one person or if they were shared.

The results were telling: 74 percent of men said the chores were shared; 51 percent of women said chores were shared. Twenty-six percent of men said one person did the housework; 49 percent of the women said the same.


Setting Mutual Priorities

When a couple can divide chores in a way that both spouses feel satisfied with the outcome, they are showing mutual respect for one another. It is important for the two of you to set mutual priorities concerning the maintenance of your home and yard.


Dialogue Question

George Eliot wrote, What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?

Do you make life less difficult for each other, or more difficult? How does your answer make you feel?

How to Divide Household Chores

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