When you got married, you probably never stopped to think how something so simple as dish duty would impact your relationship. However, maintaining the balance of your relationship day in and day out often depends on those little details of living.
It can take a lot of adjustment for newlyweds to learn to live together. Often, it takes time and forgiveness. Nowhere is this more apparent than in household chores. Here are some tips for how to balance household duties in a home where both of the newlyweds work and live together…
Start how you want to continue
Many people start the beginning of a relationship with all sorts of plans for being a domestic goddess, or a husband who pampers his wife. The urge to serve your spouse is something that you should always hold on to, but it’s important to also remember that how you start out is often how you’ll continue. Enlisting help for household duties will be harder down the line when your life becomes more busy and stressful. So make sure that from the get-go, you both realize that you need to work as a team to run the household. Take turns, and take time out to appreciate what the other person does to help life run more smoothly.
Don’t keep score
It’s important to note that it isn’t a competition to do more to put the home together. The second that you start to focus too much on who does what is going to put you on a very slippery slope that leads to blame and entitlement. One particular study in Norway showed that married couples that divided their household chores in half, with equal parts, were actually more likely to get divorced. Instead of worrying about just their own chores, if each partner is entirely devoted to building a better home and making life better for their partner, then it makes for a much more functional and supportive team.
Do what you’re good at (and what you enjoy)
If one partner is exceptionally good at cooking, then it makes sense that they would be the partner that would cook more (if their schedule would allow it). This means better food for the household, which makes everybody happy. Likewise, if one partner really likes yard work, then it makes sense that they would focus on that, while the other partner could do more things on the inside of the house (unless you enjoy doing yard work together, which can be a great couple’s activity). Essentially, chores are going to be a lot easier on both of you if you pay attention to what chores you don’t mind doing as much, and balancing off of that.
Divvy up the less savory tasks
While there are certain chores that you might like doing (like cooking or yard work), the reality is that there are going to be household duties and tasks that are far less savory. There really aren’t many people who are thrilled at having to scrub hard water stains off of a shower, or unclog a toilet. As such, rather than one person doing every little unsavory task, you’ll both be far better off if you both have to suffer through the chores that you both hate so much.
Both be involved in financials
Many couples have one specific partner who handles all of the financials in the household. This has worked for a great many people. However, it can actually be very beneficial if both partners are involved in handling the financial aspects, such as paying bills or taxes. This helps both partners have a much better picture of their financial situation, and opens the doors to better communication about spending habits and budgets. This is pretty much the first step to having better money management as a couple.
Don’t put all childcare on one person
While there are plenty of kids who grew up just fine without one of their parents, most kids benefit from having both of their parents raising them together. If there’s one aspect of the “traditional” divide of household duties that needs to be dumped, it’s the ones around childcare. The duties to raise children should never fall just to one partner, and should instead be something that both partners endeavor to work on together. This helps build better relationships between both partners and their children, and just leads to better parenting habits. It also allows you to balance each other out, and to raise flexible children who understand that there’s more than one way to do things.