One topic that many couples spend a significant amount of time discussing and sometimes arguing about is how to navigate household chores in marriage.

As a Florida Marriage Therapist, I often witness the strain that mismanaged chores and responsibilities can place on a marriage.

What Happens When Household Chores in Marriage are Uneven?

What I have heard through my many years of experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, is that one person feels the overwhelming burden of taking care of the house along with their other responsibilities. This can cause added stress for the individual, which in turn, can cause an increase in the stress level for the couple and can then result in very high stress levels in the home.

This added stress can lead to resentment about the burden of responsibility placed on this spouse’s shoulders. The resentment can lead to disconnection and can influence the way one partner feels about their partner and/or the relationship.

This type of concern can stifle the desire and/or time left for intimacy in the marriage, causing a new set of issues with a lack of intimacy and physical affection.

How can a couple be proactive and not let household responsibilities interfere with the harmonious flow that each person and couple would like to see in their household environment? This can be achieved by adding some tools in the couple’s tool belt to handle the issue of an equitable distribution of labor.

A couple communicating and arguing about their conflict

Tips to Help Navigate Household Chores in Marriage

1. Have an Open Dialogue About Household Responsibilities

Talk about this topic with your spouse. Do not just assume what the other person is thinking. Communicate your needs and expectations and be open to hearing your spouse’s needs and expectations. Hopefully, the two of you have created a safe environment in your relationship that you each feel comfortable to communicate your feelings, concerns, and expectations regarding all topics including household responsibilities.

2. Recognize Individual Strengths and Preferences

When it comes to chores and other responsibilities in the home, each spouse will have strengths and preferences. Identify each other’s strengths and acknowledge that not all chores are going to be enjoyable, most are things that need to get done to have a clean home that is smoothly run.

3. Establish Clear Roles and Expectations

Work together to clearly define the roles and expectations. Establishing a routine and assigning specific responsibilities can reduce ambiguity and prevent conflicts. Being able to be flexible would be very important as sometimes things do not always go as planned.

4. Schedule Regular Check-ins

Maintaining open communication by scheduling regular check-ins will be beneficial as each person will walk away from the conversation with valuable feedback. Setting a time to share what is working and what is not working will help each spouse have a greater understanding of what their partner is thinking and feeling. This will also provide an opportunity to reassess and adjust responsibilities if needed. As you and spouse enter different phases in your life together, what once worked, may need modification over time.

5. Express Appreciation

Expressing appreciation is something that I talk about with every couple. We all like to be noticed, especially when we are doing something helpful. We like to be appreciated for our contributions to the house, family, relationship. Acknowledging and appreciating the effort that goes into the household chores in marriage can strengthen the emotional connection.

There is not a “one size fits all formula” to splitting the household responsibilities in an equitable manner. There are many factors that could affect the distribution of labor. For some couples it might be 50-50, for some couples based on their other roles, it might be 70-30 or 60-40. Whatever the two of you decide, will hopefully work best if you make this decision together.

The goal is to find an efficient and harmonious approach to tackling household tasks. Working as a team, sets you both up for success, less stress and hopefully less resentment.

A couple with one person laying on the couch and the person doing chores

Do You and Your Spouse Need Help Navigating This Conversation?

I help couples have difficult conversations in a way that can validate both of your perspectives, give you each an opportunity to express empathy and enable you to work as a team.

A successful marriage needs teamwork.

If you and your spouse want some help navigating the conversation about household chores in marriage, contact me, I can help.

I Transform Relationships, one relationship at a time and yours can be next.

Your Relationship Expert,