Having a neat and tidy home is a dream come true for so many, but it’s a concept much easier said than done. Between taking out the trash, doing the laundry, and dusting every nook and cranny, tending to the healthy sparkle of our homes can often feel like a full-time job. Not to mention, so many chores usually come last on our list when it comes to balancing home life, the kids and that thriving career.
It can seem daunting, and even impossible, but it can be much easier if you spread the chores as fairly as possible with your significant other.
According to a study published in the medical journal, Sex Roles, how couples divide household chores can greatly affect relationship satisfaction. If they don’t create a fair and mindful system for household tasks, not only can it get very resentful incredibly quickly, but research suggests it can wedge a gap in communication and weaken bonds between partners.
If you are in a healthy, loving relationship and looking to create a fine balance for household chores, we share a few ways to involve your partner without causing any tension for a squeaky, clean home.
Don’t create a 50/50 split
You might think splitting chores right down the middle is an effective way to tackle responsibilities, but a study from Norwegian researchers found divorce rates were actually higher for couples who split housework equally than couples where the woman did more. Hope is not lost though, as the problem lies in the dynamics of how it’s split and how clearly-defined roles are at home. Moreover, if you choose to keep score and their quality of execution, it’s troublesome. Instead, work as a team because after all, you share a home.
Honor their preferences
Whatever happens, don’t force your partner to do something they’re not comfortable doing. Instead, communicate what needs to be done, and embrace their specialization or preferences. For example, if your partner enjoys the “great outdoors,” let them tend to the yard. From there, keep momentum by encouraging them on the habit by buying new yard tools that gets them excited. However, if you notice something not to your liking and feel the need to point it out, you are the one who should handle that specific chore.
Establish hours for chores
Whether you have small children or are a couple sans babies, make sure you clean the house at the same time. Have you ever felt bitter or upset when you’re the one vacuuming and they’re playing with the kids or watching the football game? Try and make it a house rule to pitch in at the same time and not at separate hours. When dinner is over, let your partner clear the table as you rinse the dishes for the washer. Don’t wait until later to conquer those chores if you want to spend the evening together, resentment-free.
Before deciding who does what and dividing chores into stereotypical methods, create a set of expectations and be thoughtful. If you’re quick at doing things but they’re a tad slow, ease up on them and understand that just because you’re together, doesn’t mean you’re at the same pace. Additionally, be clear about what needs attention in your home and finalize it without adding throughout the clean up.
Create an end goal
We love getting rewards for a job well done, and cleaning your home should embrace a similar concept. Before you two start cleaning up, plan a fun, romantic or maybe even sexy, night out together that can only be attained if chores are absolutely finished. Not only will this hold you both accountable for each of your tasks, but this discipline will also elevate how you two communicate and help each other out. In further studies and as a greater reward for overall relationship satisfaction, the University of Alberta suggests men who share in the housework with their partners were more likely to have frequent sex. Though the study didn’t find a correlation between the amount of housework to the amount of sex, couples believed if chores were shared equally, they were more likely to get it on regularly.