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How much do balancing chores weigh in on a relationship?

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  • A little

    Votes: 5 23.8%
  • Quite a bit

    Votes: 10 47.6%
  • A ton

    Votes: 5 23.8%
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello,

I am new to this forum and site, so please bear with me.

Having lived with my Italian husband before getting married, I knew of his high threshhold for mess in the house. It is getting to a point now, where our arguments over household chores are overwhelming our relationship. I'm extremely resistant to starting a family under these conditions of keeping up with chores. I miss him.

I would truly appreciate any insights to first, put me in check of my reactions to doing chores, and two, stories of anyone in a similar situation and where you are now in terms of resolving this. My family nor my friends are really in a place to helpfully sympathize with me, so thank you in advance.

My dear husband
1. has a high tolerance for cleanliness,
2. doesn't know what it entails and chores isn't part of his vocabulary,
3. believes that cleaning up the house is "out of love" and that it shouldn't effect a person to clean for someone else.

Recently, we got into an argument about cleaning up the table after we painted together. I asked "will you help me clean the table?" We started cleaning and after a while I told him "don't put the paper there, you'll get paint on the table!" Then I asked him to get the broom and we both cleaned until the job was done. Later I went back to sweep the floor after he had done it, because I could feel dirt under my feet.

We were both frustrated afterwards. He was offended at the way I asked and told him to clean, and I was angry that I even had to ask and that he didn't know how to clean. I was so upset, I couldn't think straight. I could barely appreciate that he had communicated how he felt. I thought "well that's a given." even though as a person I want to nurture the things he does well.

Maybe once every 3 weeks for 20 minutes we have a good time with cleaning the house. Granted, he is home 4 hours a day, tired, and sleepy. I work from home and have a long workday.

Looking forward to your comments,
Remcatt
 

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Hire a cleaning crew once a month. You'll spend less on it than on the divorce or marriage counseling.

Really lady. Lighten up. And if you criticize the way he does things, he'll just stop doing them. Men are like that. We don't like to do things that we'll get b!tched at for doing.
 

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If you both work, it should be 50/50.

If he works and you don't, 90/10 perhaps and the other way around.

If he has high standards, let him clean to meet those standards.

There is NO perfection and it's impossible to keep EVERYTHING clean ALL the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@Time4Joy

Thanks for posting.

Do you have strategies for 'lightening up' that you've seen work. I know I'm in the wrong. Its quite obvious. The reason I posted, as I said was to find new ways of coping.


Hire a cleaning crew once a month. You'll spend less on it than on the divorce or marriage counseling.

Really lady. Lighten up. And if you criticize the way he does things, he'll just stop doing them. Men are like that. We don't like to do things that we'll get b!tched at for doing.
 

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Here is how I see my marriage with the cleaning situation. My husband is like yours. He never does chores. And when he would do them, I couldn't believe how dirty stuff was after he does it. So here is how we have solved that. Anything that needs to be cleaned like dusting, vacuuming, wiping, washing...those are my jobs. Why? Because I know that I want it to be CLEAN, especially with my baby, and my husband is not really good at it.

I started making him do the pick ups. Pick up stuff from the table...take stuff from the table to the kitchen...take out the trash..pick up the laundry baskets and carry them to the washer..just the general tidy up. Honestly, it's the best way we worked out how to do that. I do most of the cleaning because he works more than I do anyway, but it is nice to have the garbage out and the stuff in its proper place when I go to clean.

Also, Time4Joy has a good point. Men HATE to be told that they are doing something wrong. If you know he won't do it up to your standards, do it yourself. Give him the jobs you know won't bother you. And btw, I know you work from home, but if your husband works outside the home and is gone for long hours, you should be able to pick up most of the chores during the day. Glad that you are waiting for children because all of this will just get more exhausting and complicated when you have one.
 

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My H HATES housework and can't cook. Plus I don't like the way he cleans; its not thorough enough for me. So I cook, clean and do laundry. Originally I didn't care for yard work like mowing, edging, weed wacking, shoveling snow. I hate anything to do with cars including pumping gas. So H does all of that. I actually like yard work now for the exercise and getting extra vitamin D, but he still does it all for the most part unless he is doing extended work travel.
Many marriages (including mine) are like that. I still assist my wife with cleaning/laundry....and kids do their own as well as clean the house on regular basis.

Outdoor work is all me and the kids, same for cars or any house projects.

It has worked well over the years.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for this!

My H HATES housework and can't cook. Plus I don't like the way he cleans; its not thorough enough for me. So I cook, clean and do laundry. Originally I didn't care for yard work like mowing, edging, weed wacking, shoveling snow. I hate anything to do with cars including pumping gas. So H does all of that. I actually like yard work now for the exercise and getting extra vitamin D, but he still does it all for the most part unless he is doing extended work travel.

He works outside the home, I don't work at all. But I did all the cooking cleaning and laundry before I became a SAHM.

I can't see the poll options while I am typing but the option I would have selected if it were there would be each couple should decide. I personally do not prescribe to the "what is fair" theory. We both carry unbalanced weights in different areas of our marriage. We just do not bicker about stuff like that. But this may be more important for you, and if you don't bring it up it could lead to resentment for you. For me -- meh. We pick our battles and division of labor is not one of them for either of us.

ETA: probably each spouse will have at least one glaring fault that we have to live with. That is hard to accept, but if it can be accepted it would probably lead to a much more peaceful and happier marriage.
 

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DoF;10061698 Outdoor work is all me and the kids said:
I plan to grow a veggie garden next year when the babe is walking and can be out there with me.

House projects are my H's but since we are flipping houses now I want to know how to do them. H is teach me to do crown moulding in our guest bedroom, but I can tell he is not feeling the interference in his "domain". Don't quite know how to handle that.
 

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Remcatt, you really really need to read the book "His Needs, Her Needs". It will totally explain it to you.

The Cliff Notes version is this: For many men, domestic organization (the book calls it "domestic support") is something they NEED from their wife. For whatever reason, it is real. He sees it as an act of your love when you take care of the house. He also has a need to not be in charge of the household domestic duties. That is, he finds it very difficult to be responsible for the cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc.

Now, he may be very happy if you delegate something to him, but he wants you to be responsible for the overall big picture. You can probably ask him to vacuum or to mop floors. You can ask him to scrub the shower. But he doesn't want to be in charge of figuring out when the floor needs mopping or the shower scrubbed!

One way I disagree with the book is that when you delegate to him you need to let go of criticizing him. Men hate being told every detail of how to do something and how we screwed it up! The book says you have the right to criticize how he does the chore you assigned him. I think the book is wrong there, and you have to be very careful in correcting him. Especially bad is you jumping in and taking over or re-doing what he did. I think most men want to do well and please their wife, so it is more productive to use positive feedback and let him feel pride.

So you can be in charge of the domestics, but you don't have to do all the chores yourself. You can hire a cleaning service to do all or some of it. You can make up a chore list and get his agreement to do certain chores at certain times. You can couch all this in terms of this being a difference in how you each prioritize the housework, neither one being right or wrong. It would help meet your needs in the relationship if he would agree to do X,Y, and Z regularly. Come up with a chore list. Give him lots of positive feedback. Give him a hug or kiss.
 

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All I know is, the quickest way to get me to stop ever doing a task is to ask me to do it and then criticize the way I do it. It's actually quite nice. I haven't done laundry in 20 years.
I feel you on this :)

My wife has complained I don't cook (always made sense to me because she stays home and I get home from work late). I acknowledged this and made an effort to cook from time to time so it wasn’t just her responsibility.

I actually don't mind to do it and would rather cook then clean up after dinner (my responsibility and always has been). Anyhow each time I would cook she would provide negative feedback and wasn’t really appreciative. Needless to say she does all the cooking now.
 

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Good evening all
I think chores are important because in a relationship need to feel that things are being shared equally. It is the sense of unfairness, rather than the chores themselves that I think cause the problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thor,

Interesting-sounding book. Thank you for the recommendation, but I personally disagree with the premise. I don't think being a responsible human being should be gendered. There aren't any tasks (household, financial, etc) that my husband does that I don't or aren't capable of doing.

The book could just as easily be written by a woman, and say "For many women in the 21st century, domestic organization is something the NEED in a balanced way from their partner."

I'll still take a look at it online before I completely judge it though! so the thank you still holds!

Best, Remcatt

Remcatt, you really really need to read the book "His Needs, Her Needs". It will totally explain it to you.

The Cliff Notes version is this: For many men, domestic organization (the book calls it "domestic support") is something they NEED from their wife. For whatever reason, it is real. He sees it as an act of your love when you take care of the house. He also has a need to not be in charge of the household domestic duties. That is, he finds it very difficult to be responsible for the cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc.

Now, he may be very happy if you delegate something to him, but he wants you to be responsible for the overall big picture. You can probably ask him to vacuum or to mop floors. You can ask him to scrub the shower. But he doesn't want to be in charge of figuring out when the floor needs mopping or the shower scrubbed!

One way I disagree with the book is that when you delegate to him you need to let go of criticizing him. Men hate being told every detail of how to do something and how we screwed it up! The book says you have the right to criticize how he does the chore you assigned him. I think the book is wrong there, and you have to be very careful in correcting him. Especially bad is you jumping in and taking over or re-doing what he did. I think most men want to do well and please their wife, so it is more productive to use positive feedback and let him feel pride.

So you can be in charge of the domestics, but you don't have to do all the chores yourself. You can hire a cleaning service to do all or some of it. You can make up a chore list and get his agreement to do certain chores at certain times. You can couch all this in terms of this being a difference in how you each prioritize the housework, neither one being right or wrong. It would help meet your needs in the relationship if he would agree to do X,Y, and Z regularly. Come up with a chore list. Give him lots of positive feedback. Give him a hug or kiss.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
DH and I both agree that 99% of the fights we had during our first year of marriage revolved around household chores and responsibilities.

I'm a neat freak and expected him to adopt my standards for cleanliness. He thought anything less than a three course meal cooked from scratch was garbage. Meanwhile we were both working long hours at the office to advance our careers.

We finally decided to work to our strengths. I took over ALL housekeeping (cleaning the house, picking up after him, dishwashing, laundry) and he dealt with 100% of the meals (shopping for the food, making lunches for work, and preparing dinners). He also picked up the yard work after we bought our first house together.

The division of labor saved our marriage. It also helped that we agreed not to complain about the "quality" of each other's work.

We ran our household like this for 15 of the 16 years we've been married. I'm a working mother and my only day for cleaning was Saturday. Last year DH convinced me to hire a cleaning service so that we could spend more quality time together on Saturdays (my cleaning day). I now do about 50% of the cooking and join him on his grocery excursions.

OP, is there something that your husband enjoys doing that you can't stand doing?
This is extremely helpful and constructive.

Thank you for this message!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Good evening all
I think chores are important because in a relationship need to feel that things are being shared equally. It is the sense of unfairness, rather than the chores themselves that I think cause the problems.
You hit the nail on the head there. Great feedback thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Good evening all
I think chores are important because in a relationship need to feel that things are being shared equally. It is the sense of unfairness, rather than the chores themselves that I think cause the problems.
You hit the nail on the head richardsharpe! Great comment! Thank you.
 

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OP, His Needs, Her Needs talks about the top 10 needs that most people have in relationships. It also says that, in general, men and women prioritize needs differently. It does not contend that women aren't allowed to have domestic support as a need, even a high-priority one. It does contend that many men have it as a higher-priority need than most women, on average. So, please don't dismiss the book out of hand. It may actually be really helpful.

By the way, if husband and wife both number domestic support as a high-priority need, then it's suggested that they hire someone to help out with it, if they can afford to do so.

Another tactic would be that each partner take the tasks they prefer to do, then divide up everything else based on who cares more about that task. For instance, if you like to cook then you take on the cooking. If he likes doing yard work, then that's his. If it really bothers you to have grit on the floor, then you do the sweeping. If he's particular about how the dusting should be done, then he dusts.
 
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I am familiar with an article titled Negotiating Chores With Your Spouse that deals specifically with this issue, but it's on a Christian website. Here is a sample from it:

"One landmine to avoid is the 50-50 split. A 2012 study done in Norway found that couples who split housework evenly were also more likely to divorce. The problem isn't housework per se, but rather the dynamics of splitting it down the middle. Kurt Bruner, pastor and author, says, 'If you are keeping score on such things, you have already lost the relational battle.'"

If you would like the rest please send me a private message and I will forward it on to you. Blessings!
 
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