Hopefully you took note of how your partner kept his or her surrounding while you were dating. It is likely you were able to see if you have different philosophies about cleanliness or not. If you did have major differences, and you married anyway, you are probably fighting a lot over this now. Once kids come into the picture, the cleaning and doing chores issue gets much worse. Fighting over the chores is likely to feel like one of those ongoing "pointless" arguments you seem to have over and over.
The burden to clean the home usually falls on the mother or whomever is staying home to take care of the children. With two full time working adults,however, it is critical to find a balance between you both on completion of chores.
Sharing household chores together is only fair, but if you have a spouse who won't work with you on keeping the house and yard clean and maintained, perhaps you are making some mistakes. Here are some common mistakes you may make when trying to motivate your spouse to share in household chores.
Asking for Help
Don't ask your spouse to help you around the house. That gives your spouse the idea that the household chores are your responsibility and not his. You can tactfully and directly tell him what he needs to do. Another idea is to declare one day of the week, such as Saturday mornings, as cleaning time. Enlist the kids in age-appropriate chores as well. You will all be working together on a common goal.
Not Knowing What You Want Done by Your Spouse
Do you know what you want your spouse to do or are you expecting your mate to notice what needs to be done and then do it? If you choose the latter, you may be waiting a really long time! Again, just directly ask without whining or nagging.
Lack of Communication
It is important that you are specific in communicating your expectations about household maintenance and cleaning.
Communication also involves listening to your spouse's household chore expectations. If you find that you have frequent arguments on this topic, sit down to talk about it peacefully and calmly at some point. Talk about the impact the imbalance has on you. Be open to hearing your spouse too. They may be doing a lot more than you realize.
Inflexibility and Micro-Managing
Is your way the only way to get a chore accomplished? Do you redo a task that your spouse just finished?Are you a gatekeeper or a micro-manager? This will definitely discourage your spouse from doing chores! You may need to accept the imperfections of how the bed is made, the dishwasher loaded or the meal that was served. Keep the big picture in mind. Have confidence in your spouse's abilities too.
Nagging only makes your spouse more resentful and defensive. There is a proper way to complain that involves you focusing on the underlying feeling you have when your spouse fails to meet you in the middle. Are you sad? hurt? confused? Don't just criticize, say how you feel in reaction to your spouse's specific behavior. Ask for what you need as well. Don't assume they know how to read your mind.
Lack of Affirmation
When was the last time you complimented your spouse on a job well done? Do you regularly show gratitude for your spouse's efforts? A please and thank you can go a long way. Do not have the attitude that your partner is just doing what they are supposed to anyway. We all like to hear appreciation and we should look for these opportunities to show it especially when married.
Being married to a slob or fighting over chores can suck the romance out of your relationship. Don't get caught up in that. Remember that there are ways you can better manage or change this situation!
*Article updated by Marni Feuerman