Jennifer Johnston-Jones, Ph.D.
Prevent chore wars
How can couples prevent chore wars? No one likes cleaning up. No one likes doing the dishes. I think it’s the top five issues that are discussed is I hate picking up his clothes, I hate when she leaves her shoes all over the place, the closet is overflowing. Life is too short to focus on these things.
I tell you and just some personal aside, even when I was in college and working three different jobs and just barely scraping, I had a housekeeper come once a week and it really helped my relationship with my husband. I know it’s not necessarily a conceivable thing for people, for everyone. But if possible, even if it means you don’t go out to dinner, you know, as often or maybe instead of having cable on your TV because it causes much as upgrading the cable. Maybe you just have basic TV. I really, really recommend to prevent chore wars, at least once a week having a housekeeper come in because it is the core of so much marital conflict and it’s such an easy cure if you can just have someone else do it.
However, if you choose not to go that route, I fully respect it. It might be a harder route to go, but one thing that you can do as a couple to manage household chores is truly divide sections of the house. This is something that my husband and I did before as well. And I’m being personal here because he’s very clean and I’m very messy. So we divided parts of the house. This room I’m allowed to be messy and this room my husband likes it extremely organized. In that way you can both live a little more comfortably. The house is never going to be completely clean. Things are never going to be in complete order unless you hire a housekeeper.
In the meantime, there needs to be some acceptance that comes with things. Bottom line is, you know, dividing chores, preventing conflict. Change your expectations. If you are a neat freak and your partner is not, don’t assume that your house is going to be the way you would hope. Lower your expectations. And if you are more of an artistic type and like to spread your things all over and your partner is more of a neat freak, up the ante a bit. Keep things a little cleaner.
So coming in the middle for some compromise and then talking very openly about what are the basic needs of the household chores. Well, maybe he says he wants the sink completely clear of dishes and she says she thinks that dishes in the sink are okay. Okay, what’s the compromise? Maybe having a couple dishes in the sink. So, ultimately, the goal is not to strive for perfection, not even dividing up chores, isn’t really the answer because the bottom line, what it’s truly about, is expectations for living together. That’s what we’re talking about.
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