Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Husband and Wife tackling household chores together

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Household chores may seem like too petty an issue to talk about.

ut, surprisingly, it’s an issue that has broken many marriages.

Then it turns out to be not a petty matter, after all.

When spouses are unhappy about the allocation of household chores, the stress level in the home increases tremendously. Studies reveal that conflict over domestic duties is second only to conflict over money in terms of its impact in a marriage. According to Stephanie Coontz, in an article at www.nytimes.com, “The degree to which housework is shared is now one of the two most important predictors of a woman’s marital satisfaction. And husbands benefit too, since studies show that women feel more romantically attracted to partners who pitch in.”

Women often complain having the heavier end of the deal at home. They object being the ones expected to do the cooking, housecleaning, the laundry, and child care. And they still have to work to contribute to the family income.

For their part, the men also claim doing their part in running the household. They take care of the minor repairs, they say. Plus – many men nowadays already do the same things traditionally assigned to women.

In the main, however, the popular view remains that household chores are the domain of women. But the day-to-day tasks at home need not get in the way of a peaceful and happy family life. The website www.thespruce.com shares tips for lessening the stress between husbands and wives regarding household chores:

• Set your priorities as a couple. What is truly important to each of you? Discuss how you both feel about home cooked meals versus quick meals or eating out now and then. Find out your feelings about dusting, cleaning the toilet, making the bed, mowing the lawn, paying bills, etc.

• Sit down together and make a list of the chores that each of you absolutely hates to do. What one hates, the other may be able to tolerate. If both of you detest the same chore, then figure out a way to compromise in getting this particular unpleasant task done. Or perhaps you could tackle the horrid chore together, as a team. Maybe you could also find some money in your budget to hire someone to do that task.

• It is important, too, to be considerate of one another’s body biological clocks. Some folks are morning people and some folks are night owls. Forcing each other to do a project or chore when you really aren’t ready to do it only creates tension. Timing is important. So is sharing expectations.

• Let each other know what the coming week is going to be like. Think meetings, errands, special occasions, etc. Then decide who is going to do what, make a list, and post the list. Then let it go.

• Don’t nag each other about what you volunteered to do. If the task hasn’t been done by the following week when you next sit down to share expectations, that’s the time to bring it up.

• If one of you doesn’t follow through on promises to do your share of the work around your home, try and discover together why there is such reluctance. Blaming your spouse for what hasn’t been accomplished or finished is just wasting energy.

• Be flexible and allow your spouse to accomplish tasks in his or her own way. If having the towels folded a certain way is super important to you, then you might want to do it yourself.

• Many couples find out that they view the division of chores differently. Domestic disorder simply doesn’t bother some people. If after discussing the situation, your mate absolutely refuses to share equally in household chores, and you’re tired of carrying the load yourself, then you have some choices to make. Bottom line, you can’t change your spouse. You can hire some outside help, or you can quit doing some tasks that you don’t want to do anymore. The roof won’t fall in just because you don’t cook a three-course meal every night.

• Look at some areas of your house and yard that you may want to cut back on to save both time and money. Try to get your home organized so it runs more efficiently. Ask yourself if some chores even have to be done on a regular basis. If you hate ironing, give the clothes away that need ironing and toss the iron. Do the windows have to always sparkle? After an examination of your standard of housekeeping, your domestic chores may become less draining emotionally and physically.

Many times, the wives’ stress is not really that their husbands don’t want to do their share of work around the house. It’s the fact that they overwhelm themselves doing everything without even asking for help. And many husbands keep some distance thinking that household chores are just a woman thing.

Husbands and wives, therefore, need to talk about sharing the chores around the house. If the children are big enough, they should be made to help, as well. When everyone is involved in keeping the house clean and orderly, everyone will be mindful not to mess up – and many chores will cease being necessary. Joselito Mandag


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