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Last Updated on February 27, 2018

Average Couples See Chores as a Cornerstone, Happy Couples See Them as the Gem Stone

Average Couples See Chores as a Cornerstone, Happy Couples See Them as the Gem Stone

There’s nothing quite so frustrating as coming home from work to realize that your house is a mess, dinner needs to be cooked, and there’s a mountain of laundry for you to do. All of us spend time dealing with chores, but this scenario is even more frustrating when you arrive to find that mess and a partner who doesn’t seem to care about it.

Chores may seem trivial, but are a big deal

After faithfulness and sex, sharing household chores is one of the most important components of a successful marriage.[1] Many people hold a perception that a healthy relationship centers around the major milestones. Engagement, marriage, romantic dates, anniversaries, and gift-giving are obvious points of discussion in our relationships. These are big things because they seem to have the greatest impact on our lives with our significant others.

Some may think that it’s better to talk about work, what’s on TV, or what’s happening over the weekend instead of devoting some of the conversation to cleaning the house.

But think about it, about 80% of our lives are made up of chores. Everything–from what you eat to what you wear to how clean your house is–comes down to how proficient we are with our chores.

To put it into perspective, think about how much time you spend doing basic things like feeding yourself. If it takes you an hour to make a meal and you eat three meals every day, you’ll spend three hours on meal prep daily. Over the course of 365 days, that comes out to 1,095 hours, or 45 days in the kitchen.

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Even those clothes on your back create a serious time commitment. If you spend an average of an hour per day on washing and ironing, by the end of one year, you will spend 15 days on laundry. Cleaning your house for three hours per week takes 156 hours of your year, which comes out to nearly 7 days.

From these few tasks, we’re spending two months per year on chores. This isn’t even considering other duties such as child care, lawn care, or vehicle upkeep. If couples can’t agree on the chores, that means that they will spend at least two months of their year resenting their significant other for their lack of contributions to the household. Without a plan, the chores can quickly become overwhelming for at least one partner. Whenever there’s an imbalance, the relationship suffers.

Happy couples run a household like a business

Instead of waiting for the dishes to pile up, and allowing the resentment to stack up along with them, couples should enter into a business agreement about chores. The “business” is making a couple’s home run efficiently so that both of them can live happily in it.

Usually when couples don’t talk about the chores, one person ends up doing most of the work. They wind up managing the finances, making repairs, cooking, and cleaning. This is exhausting, and even the best partner is prone to becoming overwhelmed or making mistakes.

When one partner feels under-appreciated, he or she might lose motivation to continue with the business of running the household. This sentiment will ultimately erode the partnership.

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A fair distribution of responsibilities will help the business run smoothly. Both partners will feel that their needs are met, and they’ll be happy.

The first step in all of this is shining light on what you both do around the house. Chances are, you and your partner are both contributing to the household, but you don’t even realize it. When you show one another what you’re doing to make the house work, you can use chores to help you play as a team.

As the 5th and final stage of a romantic relationship, playing as a team makes you to unite as a common front. As a unit, you can work to achieve a happy, organized, and loving household. Read more about the 5 stages of love here: There Are 5 Stages Of Love, But Sadly Many Couples Stop At Stage 3

The process of figuring out who should do each chore will differ based on the couple’s needs. Both of you will need to decide on responsibilities at home, and it doesn’t matter whether you are the boss at work or the entry-level worker. You leave your rank at the door and become a business partner with a vested interest in your household as soon as you get home.

Talk about chores, bond with chores

I have a few tips to help couples to establish the ground-rules for the business of keeping up their house.

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1. Be clear about what needs to be done and when.

The more specific you are about what needs to be done, who will be doing this, and when it needs to be completed, the better. Each partner needs to talk about their expectations and priorities for the household. In addition to thinking about basic things like the who/what/when of doing the chores, spend some time talking about why it’s important to do these things and how the tasks should be completed.[2]

You both may have different expectations, and this could be a cause for bickering down the road. Prevent problems by talking through chores in detail. Make a list of what needs to be done, and identify which chores are the most loathsome for each partner. You can compromise so that neither of you is stuck doing chores that you can’t stand.

You wouldn’t run a business without discussing the various aspects of it’s day-to-day operation with your partner. When it comes to running your house, you should be just as explicit about what needs to be done.

2. Review and adjust your plans as necessary.

If you were running an actual business, you and your partner would work together to maximize strengths and work around weaknesses. You’d divide labor to get the best results. It’s worthwhile to periodically discuss whether you are accomplishing your tasks in the most efficient way possible. It works the same for chores.

Making a plan is only half the battle. You’ll need to revisit your plan from time to time to make sure that it’s still working. For example, if you partner has to work late on a major project this week, you might agree to temporarily take on more chores to assist.

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Checking in with one another prevents frustration. If you can work together to get more work done in an efficient manner, it’s going to make your relationship stronger.

3. Take time to acknowledge effort.

In business, leaders know that acknowledging hard work builds loyalty and mutual respect.[3] Loyalty and mutual respect are powerful components of a healthy romantic relationship as well. So at home, couples should acknowledge each other’s effort too.

Show your appreciation when your partner keeps up his or her half of the bargain. When you express your gratitude over the effort your partner exerts to make your home a nice place, you make them feel appreciated and motivated.

Run the chores or the chores run you

Instead of letting chores get out of hand until one partner grudgingly does them all, come up with a plan. Together, you and your partner can establish expectations that will lead you both to have a more comfortable home, and a more supportive relationship.

Chores may seem like little things, but they have so much influence that we ought to consider them big things. Work as a team to figure out how you will clear these tasks from your schedule in an efficient manner. You’ll have more time together, and you’ll appreciate one another more if you treat your household like a well-run business.

Reference

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Anna Chui

Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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