It may be tough to admit that arguing over housework is an area of conflict in your marriage. You aren’t alone so don’t feel bad if you’re struggling with this.
Living with another person is difficult under the best circumstances. We bring expectations about household chores—from how and how often they are done, to who does them—into our relationship based on how our family managed household responsibilities.
Ultimately, you can’t expect your partner to change their ways of doing things to meet your needs. Compromise and communication are going to be the keys to keeping your irritation and frustration in check. It might also help you to keep in mind that your partner might be just as annoyed at your habits as you are with theirs.
You may be sensing that this is a theme, especially if you read our last blog about money and conflict.
Discuss your expectations. Find out where you don’t agree, and decide where you are willing to compromise. Maybe if you expect the bed to be made every day and breakfast dishes to be done before leaving work, you’ll either have to accept that you’ll be doing those chores yourself, or change your expectation and learn to be okay with things going undone. On the other hand, if your partner thinks it is okay to leave their dirty dishes in the sink for days at a time, maybe they need to adjust their expectations about what is and isn’t acceptable when you are sharing a home with another person.
See, it’s a theme. Make a plan and continue talking about it. Don’t expect perfection and don’t use the plan as a way to hit your partner over the head with their failings. Be flexible day to day, and focus on the positive. Tell your partner when you notice that they’ve done something to make you happy, whether it is emptying the dishwasher or cleaning the bathroom. Don’t just let things go by unnoticed. We all need to feel appreciated and acknowledged.
Finally, don’t hold on to your need to be right about everything. In the big picture, is it more important that your partner loads the dishwasher the way you think it should be loaded, or that you are happy, healthy and in love. The answer should be pretty clear.
If any of this sounds familiar, give me a call to schedule a consultation of individual or couples counseling in Loveland. I’m here to help.