The chore game: Who should be doing what

Have you ever asked these questions:

"Why am I always the one to take out the garbage?"

"Why did he use bleach with the colored laundry?"

"Why can't he/she help me keep things up around here?"

If so, you just might have a marriage conflict when it comes to the age old question of "Who is responsible for the chores?"

To answer that question, you need to look at the following areas:

- Do both spouses work?  If so, then you definitely must share the burden.  We hear about infidelity and financial issues that break up marriages all the time, but underlying issues like this one adds the fuel/motivation to go down those destructive paths.  The years of the wife being expected to wait on the husband's hand and foot are long over.  Both spouses need to share in the workload.

Now, if one spouse does not work, it is not unreasonable to expect them to take up a majority of the chores, but that doesn't mean you don't have to do anything!

- Do you have kids?  If so, how many?  Do they have special needs?  Nothing will destroy a freshly cleaned house like a couple of boys.  Or girls.  Or both.  When you have kids, believe it or not, you CAN have a decent looking house.  However, it takes "buying in" (i.e., teaching your kids at an early age to participate and showing them by helping along).  Simply yelling at your kids to go clean their room is no more effective then you yelling at your spouse to mow the lawn! 

A note about special needs children.  This already adds strain to a relationship, and going back to the spouse who may stay at home, and thus ends up caring for your special needs child, you need to realize that make it doubly hard for them to take care of the home too.  That's why sharing in the chores is so important.

- How were chores presented to you growing up?  If they weren't optional, chances are you have a really negative viewpoint towards them now that you're gone.  If it was seen as a family activity, where everyone participated, then they probably come a lot easier (but no less fun).  Communicate with your spouse and ask them about it.  You might find a reason why you've been struggling in this area you otherwise would have never known!

Once you work through the details, you can take the following steps:

Figure our the chores you like doing the best.  Some people really like doing laundry.  Some people really like mowing the lawn.  Still others love cooking (yes it can be a chore).  Find the ones you like the most and take them, no question.  If both of you like to cook, however, then split it up evenly.

Develop a chore chart/schedule.  We waste hours coming up with a perfect financial budget, yet we go without a chore chart/schedule and go "bankrupt" in that area!  Unless you're a really organized person by nature, this will help you remember what needs done on what days, and especially with kids, can be used as a motivational tool to help them get what they want, which will also help that financial part.

Don't criticize how your spouse did a task.  Unless they've done something that endangers life or limb, don't be telling your spouse you would have done it a different way.  If so, the likely reply you'll get is "well then, you can do it from now on!" Be grateful you're one of the few that's come to an agreement ,and that you have someone who will pitch in.

Hopefully by using this guide, you can turn your "2nd job" into someone that will help build a closer relationship between you and your spouse.

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