I’d rather scrub toilets than put laundry away.
Seriously. You pair those little socks together and fold the jeans just right. Then one of your angels pulls out a pair from the bottom of the pile.
You know how everything crashes over like a Jenga tower? That’s why organizing laundry seems pointless, like neatly arranging a pile of leaves for a thunderstorm.
He likes fresh towels. She likes mopped floors. How often? They argue about it.
When it comes to marriage, fighting over chores is more common than any of us care to admit.
Women say they’d rather “do it their way,” but quietly seethe, afraid to ask for help. Nobody wants to be called “a nag."
Fact: Married couples divide housework evenly until they have a child. After that, women take over the majority of childcare, and housework becomes disproportional.
This fact isn’t a problem by itself, especially if the wife “stays at home” to manage the household. But it gets tricky when the wife is also working outside of the home, or when she’s working more hours inside of the home than her husband is outside of the home.
Exhaustion creeps in and tensions rise. It’s called the second shift. When couples don't plan their home lives together, problems begin. And when the problems linger, major marital distress is inevitable.
Did you know that women initiate divorce seventy percent of the time and feel less remorseful about it than men? Divorced women report feeling happier with life than married women, while divorced men are much less happy than married men.
Why is this? According to couples’ research, household work has something to do with it.
But there’s hope, hard-working mamas!
Fighting over chores doesn’t have to be a death sentence for marriage. Work is negotiable and help is on the way.
Here’s a 3-Step System to stop fighting about chores:
1. Get creative. Divvy up the chore chart differently.
Every marriage is different. Some husbands cook while their wives cruise the yard on the lawnmower. Others like to tackle work together or have favorite go-to tasks they could finish in their sleep.
However a couple chooses to divide work, the most successful ones have a plan and structure.
Make a list of every chore that needs to be done to run your household smooth as butter. Treat it like a football draft—I take laundry. You take mopping, etc. Creating a happy home shouldn’t feel like torture. It should be an experience that unifies a couple—one that constantly reminds us of our partnership and successes, achieved together.
Here's a simple chart on us...
2. Decide on a Schedule.
I seriously cannot stare at the pile of clothes on the chair one. more. second.
The pile of crumbs in the corner…
The dishes in the sink…
Does one of you use the vacuum under the table and chairs after every meal? What days will the bathrooms be checked? Do you like to change your sheets every Friday? Maybe your kids go to preschool. Can somebody pick up the groceries while they’re out of the house?
Set a phone reminder to stay on track. The notifications won’t go away until you’ve hit the “complete” button.
When a couple follows a routine, they don’t have to nag one another to get the work done. They trust that their other half already knows what to do.
Less nagging means less fighting.
Less fighting means happier spouses.
And happier spouses lead to better couple time…
We could all use a little bit more of that! We love this chore list by Care.com.
3. Break the Rules.
You’ve made the rules, now break them for the sake of one another. Improvise when you’ve finished your list of to-do’s. When your spouse is still standing at the kitchen sink, buried under tonight’s dinner dishes, grab a towel. If you have a spare minute, throw that load of laundry into the dryer.
We know, it’s not your job, but kindness breeds kindness!
When we serve, our homes are filled with peace that wasn’t there before. You’ll also have time you never knew existed to spend on the more important things—each other.
Don’t let exhaustion and a lack of organization come between you and your honey. You’ve got this!
How do you stay organized and avoid fighting?
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Earns Crossfit participation trophies. Disaster cook. Enthusiastic wife. #Boymom. Clutches her faith, not her pearls.