My client Melissa was frustrated with her husband for many reasons. One of the biggest complaints she had was that he didn’t help her enough.
Melissa isn’t alone. On a recent survey, disagreements about household chores was cited as one of the top three reasons for couples who got divorced.
Tune in to this week’s podcast to learn how to end the chore war in your home once and for all.
For more inspiration, join me in my private A Life Designed community on Facebook.
Also, I have created a free video about how to communicate better in marriage. I'm calling it the Marriage Communication Masterclass! This video is for you if you want to stop fighting with your husband and feel like you are on the same team.
Welcome to A Life Designed.
My name is Tina Haisman. I teach busy moms how to get everything done and still have time and energy for themselves. My passion is for helping women create more heart-to-heart connection with their husband and children so they can feel deeply fulfilled in those most important relationships.
The topic of today’s podcast is How to Conquer the Chore War Once and For All
But before we get started I want to let you know I have created a free video on Communication in Marriage for you. This video is for you if you have ever felt like you can’t get through to your husband. If you feel like your husband never listens to you. If you lose your cool during difficult conversations. If you’re tired of fighting with your husband.
In just 30 minutes, this video will help you lay the foundation for healthy communication in marriage and teach you how to handle difficult conversations so you can feel more connected and like you’re on the same team as your husband. Visit the link in the show notes to access it.
Also, I have a FREE private group on Facebook where you can come to get inspiration for your life. It’s called A Life Designed. It’s actually a happy place on facebook. I hope you’ll join us!
Now let’s Dive IN and talk about How to Conquer the Chore War Once and For All
Let me start by telling you a story. My client Melissa was frustrated with her husband for many reasons. One of the biggest complaints she had was that he didn’t help her enough.
One of the easiest examples for her to point out was that he never helped her carry in the groceries. It made her feel angry (translate that as uncared for or unloved), so she would give him the silent treatment.
This went on for years. Melissa would come home with the groceries; carry them in by herself; get angry because her husband didn’t help; feel uncared for and unloved; give him the silent treatment; and then the whole rest of the evening would be ruined.
Melissa assumed that by giving her husband the silent treatment, he would read her mind and understand and start helping carry in the groceries. But her husband never got this message.
What he did get was angry, and he withdrew into his man cave. Melissa’s tactic did not work, yet she kept repeating it over and over again because she didn’t know any other way.
The reason her tactic did not work is because she wasn’t communicating clearly, first of all.
And secondly, giving the silent treatment to a man is a surefire way to tell him he is being criticized; and when a man feels criticized, his defenses go up.
Instead of thinking, “Hmmm…maybe I should help my wife,” he subconsciously thinks, “She doesn’t think I’m good enough,” or “She thinks I’ve failed,” or “Nothing I ever do is good enough,” which is deeply hurtful to him.
It makes him feel angry, and he often puts on his armor to protect himself. It’s kind of like suiting up for battle. No matter how much he loves you, sweet sister, this reaction is instinctual. It’s how men are made.
So, this not getting enough help around the house appears to be a very common problem in marriages. In fact, it can end marriages.
On a recent survey, disagreements about household chores was cited as one of the top three reasons for couples who got divorced. This is right below infidelity and drifting apart. Holy cow, girls. That’s crazy! And so sad.
Are we really ending marriages because we can’t agree who should carry in the groceries or clean the toilet or empty the trash?
I know in everyday life and in the heat of the moment it can seem soooo infuriating and unfair when you feel you are doing the bulk of the chores. Let’s definitely acknowledge that. But would you agree that when you step back and look at it, it’s a very sad reason for a marriage to end.
And in reality, it’s not actually the chores themselves that are the problem. I hope you can see that from what we’ve talked about already.
It’s perhaps the beliefs about the chores – like who should do what and why. Maybe you grew up in a house where the man took care of all of the outside chores, but your husband does nothing outside. What you might not know is the he despises working outside.
Or maybe your husband’s mom did all of the ironing for his father, so he thinks you should do all of his ironing. Because that’s what loving wives do. You hate ironing, it has nothing to do with your husband, but he can’t understand why a wife wouldn’t do this for her husband.
Or maybe you’re like my client Melissa, and you just want to be acknowledged and get some help from time-to-time. I hear that a lot. It’s like a little appreciation would go a long way.
If you were my client, the first question I would ask is, have you and your husband ever had a conversation about who should do what or did you just assume how things would go?
You might be surprised how many couples don’t actually have this conversation.
Crazy thing is, that lack of communication is what gets in the way and causes resentment to build.
Another thief of your marriage joy is that criticism I mentioned earlier. When we criticize our husbands for how they do the chores, they might actually stop trying to help, because they get the message that they will never be good enough. So why bother trying.
This happens all of the time.
The thing is. There is no one right way to divide the labor in your home. Every family will do it differently. What is important is that the division works for both of you. And that you are both honest about what you can and can’t do.
We don’t have to go to counseling and do a deep dive into our family histories to try to figure this out. We can start from right where we are today.
So, here is a quick 3-step process for you to end the chore war in your home.
Step 1. Write down what all of the chores are and how often they need to be done. Be sure to include both inside and outside chores. You could also prioritize which ones are most important.
Then each of you can write your name next to the chores you will do. I’m guessing this will start easily, then get down to a few chores that neither of you wants to take responsibility for. What then?
See! There are lots of solutions here!
Step two. Is to Show Appreciation. Once your action plan is in place, be sure to regularly show appreciation to each other for the chores you do.
If you don’t mind being the leader, you can start. Every time you notice him doing one of the chores, thank him or compliment him.
You can share this with him. Gratitude gets right to people’s heart. It makes them feel respected and appreciated. It’s also really kind!!
And, there is a super-cool benefit, as well. When people receive praise for a job well-done, they are more likely to do it again. Seriously!! Thank each other often and lavishly!
Step 3. DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES micromanage the chores your spouse takes. So, if your husband agrees to be responsible for emptying the dishwasher, but he puts the pots in the wrong spot in the cabinet, don’t criticize him for it.
And if you take over handling the bills, he needs to respect the way you might do it differently than he does.
If we are delegating chores, we have to learn to accept how they are done!
This is so exciting, because it is going to help you grow in your relationship together. Once and for all, getting clear and on the same page about the chores.
Remember, my friend, your spouse is your team mate, not your enemy. Tackle this together. Make it so you both win! There should be no losers in the chore war.
If you could use a little help with this, reach out to me. I can help you.
In the meantime. Remember! I have created a free Marriage Communication video for you. Just click on the link in the show notes to access it.
Don’t forget to join the Life Designed Community on Facebook!
Thank you! See you next week!