SELF HELP RESOURCE - Relationships / Marriage


Let's face it - no one enjoys doing ALL of the housework ALL of the time! Even if you want to be the best homemaker or the most considerate and loving partner, doing all the chores can bog you down. In fact, the fatigue from doing so much can get the better of you and make you upset, frustrated, cranky, and even resentful of your partner... and this can hamper your relationship in the long term.

To avoid putting your relationship at a risk, and to avoid feeling as if you are doing everything in the house, it becomes important to share household responsibilities with your spouse. While this might sound like a good deal, getting partners to happily participate in household work is not an easy task. Effectively communicating your perspective and planning mutually convenient schedules are keys to working around this concern.

A lot of us tend to follow or do the same things that we saw in our own homes while growing up. However, over the years and with more dual career couples emerging, traditional roles and responsibilities become tougher to cater to. It can help to make conscious efforts to work out plans that are more suitable to your living arrangement.

Note: Dividing household chores does not necessarily mean that both partners need to do a 50-50 share of all the tasks. In fact it is usually difficult to make such an equal division. You can work towards an overall sense of equity - it is helpful to keep in mind each one's schedule and the kind of resources one has in order to allot tasks that can be fit in comfortably. Think of factors like these: Are both of you working full-time? Which one of you is more mobile or has easier access to the grocery stores, bank, bill-payment centers, etc.? Once you are armed with such information, you can get down to making the task list.

Points to Keep in Mind:

The Do's

Make a List

The first and most important step of dividing household work is to identify all the tasks that need to be done. You can make this list as exhaustive as you want; this can ensure that none of the tasks are left unattended... like taking out the garbage, putting away old newspapers, feeding/grooming pets, buying grocery, going to the bank, paying bills, etc.

Pick What You Like

After you are done with the list, each of you can start picking out the tasks that you like or can get done easily. This can, to some extent, ensure that no one feels forced to do their chores, and also that things get done faster.

Decide on What to Do with 'Hated' Tasks

If there are still tasks left on your list, these are most probably the ones that neither of you enjoy or would want to do. Nonetheless, these need to be done. Can you get external help for these? Would you both be able to do them on a rotation basis?

Work as a Team

Even though both of you have decided who would do which task, there may be times when one of you may not be able to tend to your chores. Cooperating and chipping in for each other can take care of these occasional hurdles.

The Don'ts


Following your partner around and telling them to get to the tasks that they have agreed to do, can be detrimental to the whole plan. Each one has their own pace and style of doing things and it is important to give them this space. If you feel that keeping a tab on each other is important, can you try keeping a checklist? You could list down the most essential tasks and go over it at the beginning or end of the day.

Control or Micromanage

Expecting another person to do tasks exactly the way we do it can be unrealistic. Refolding bed sheets, re-stacking the dishes, or giving directions on every step of operating a washing machine can put your partner off. It gives out the message that he/she is not doing it the ‘right' way. If you try to control, it is most likely that you would end up having to do it on your own!

Tit for Tat

Doing a sloppy job or not doing your tasks at all since your partner didn't do his/hers can break down the system that you are trying to build. Instead, if you feel that your partner is not being sincere about their share of work, it is important to talk it out and work towards a solution.

Do Not Get Bogged Down by Others' Opinions

You may find that family or friends pass comments about the way you manage your home, especially if it is different from the ‘traditional' division of chores. You may need to learn how to respond politely but firmly, indicating that this is a system that works well for both of you.

Over time, priorities, circumstances and resources may change...and if you begin to feel bogged down; it may be time to review your division of tasks. Being flexible with your plans and open to incorporating new ideas can make household work less daunting!


Latest Comments

anonymoussunshine on 02 Jun 2020, 12:30 PM

Very useful article, I think this is even more important right now during the pandemic, as all of us are engaging in more household work and staying at home. -Hima