Split the chores

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One of the big complaints I hear from my customers that are married is about the issue of chores. I can tell you from my own 30-year marriage the issue of chores was a big deal in contributing to the conclusion of the marriage.

I clearly remember the issue that’broke the camel’s back.’ My ex-husband wanted to have our big Thanksgiving dinner at our home instead of at my parents’ home, and I was all for it – IF he promised to help. My experience in the past was that I ended up doing all of the work and was too tired to actually enjoy the dinner, whereas if it was at my parents’ house, I knew that my father was an equal contributor regarding household events. My ex readily promised to help, but on the day of the dinner, he did nothing. “You promised to help if we had the dinner,” I said. “I want your help.” He smirked at me, going into his usual resistance, and walked away. I felt crushed, and my inner child was upset with me that I had believed him when he so often either forgot what he had said or went into resistance.

“I’m not going to spend any more time with you until you can be loving and caring for three months,” I told him. In the past he could do it for a week or so and then would return to being angry and resistant. I gave him two years to learn to be loving, caring and respectful toward me and he never did, so our marriage ended.

Needless to say, the issue around chores wasn’t our only problem, but it was indicative of the underlying issues, which were a lack of caring and respect toward me, and frequently treating me with anger, withdrawal, sarcasm, and projection – followed by the crazy-making of denying that he was doing these things, and blaming me rather.

Doing Chores Together Can Produce Intimacy

Recent research suggests that couples who do chores together, rather than one individual doing more actions, or dividing the chores, have more emotional and physical intimacy. Doing chores alone can be lonely, while doing them together can be a time of fun, sharing and Pest Control, and it certainly makes the time go by faster when you are doing the dishes together rather than doing them alone. Sharing chores might be especially important when you have children, because it’s often hard to find time to get together to discuss your day or discuss your feelings with each other.

While the study shows that couples who do chores together have better marriages, I wonder if the underlying truth is that couples who enjoy being together and have great marriages realize that they enjoy doing errands together. Is the doing of chores together the cause of the their intimacy or the result of it? More research would need to be done to ascertain this.

Regardless of which comes first, I would think that couples who do chores together have a much better chance of feeling connected with each other than those who don’t. Not only does it give you a bit of time together, but it also prevents both the bitterness of one person doing too many of the chores, as well as the loneliness of doing chores independently.

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