Do You Need to Rethink the Division of Household Chores?

In the grand scheme of things, household chores are a very small thing. So how, then, is this a topic that so frequently makes it to the couples therapy couch? Here’s some important relationship advice.

What initially presents as frustration or disappointment with a partner’s level of contribution around the house is actually only a clue to what’s really going on.

In this post, we’re going to explore the real reasons why we fight over who does the dishes and how they are done. Then we’ll show you how you can end the chore war once and for all.

How a Sinkful of Dishes Can Bring a Relationship to the Brink

Imago relationship theory points to an ever-present, but unconscious, idealization of familiar love. Your concept of connection to others is developed early on, and Imago says those ideas tend to remain unchanged throughout adulthood.

It may help to ask yourself these four questions when you’re feeling riled up about the way your partner vacuums…or dusts…or folds…or…

Is Your Partner Neglecting Their Duty to You Personally?

A mess maker’s mental absence may have you feeling left to clean everything up yourself. As though you’re not important enough for them to take time to help. Can you connect the experience to the past where you might have felt the same sense of neglect or abandonment?

Are Chores More Power Struggle Than Anything Else?

Partners feeling the brunt of a “nagging” spouse often feel the other person is just trying to micromanage everything they do. But those doling out the constant reminders feel overwhelmed too. In either case, this can lead to feeling hurt, criticized, and powerless, which can end in a complete shutdown where nothing’s ever done.

Is Your Spouse Oblivious to Systemic Inequality?

Regardless of gender identification, past concepts of hierarchy can creep into current relationships. Some are trying to break free from traditional male-female roles. Others battle with ideas that breadwinners do less in the home. Biracial couples that seem to have overcome racial stereotypes can still struggle with a sense of inequality based on race as well.

Could Either of You Be Dealing with Unrelated Emotions?

Some say the home is an expression of your internal self. One of the most important pieces of relationship advice we can give is that if you’re feeling anxious, depressed, or unmotivated in other aspects of your life, it may be impacting your interactions with your partner.

This is true with housework, too. If you don’t have the energy to deal with what life may be throwing your way, how on earth will you find the energy to do mundane chores every day? How long has it been going on? If it’s been a while, it may be beneficial to seek professional help.

Step Back from the Brink Together

For most committed couples, the most direct route from point A to point B is a straight line. That applies to ending the fight over household duties as well.

One of the easiest resolutions to a full-out chore war is to sit down together and draw up a chore chart. Simply divvy up the responsibilities in a way that both of your needs are being adequately met.

If that doesn’t seem to work, reach out for additional relationship advice. Norene Gonsiewski and Tim Higdon can guide you through your plans for a better way to maintain your household — and your relationship!