5 tips to keep household chores from killing your relationship
Once you and your love are living under the same roof, nothing takes the bloom off the rose of new love faster than arguments about who should be doing which chores. Don’t let that resentment simmer! You can take action and build your relationship instead. Here’s how.
Drawing the battle lines
Catherine Behan, CEO of Attract Your Soul Mate Now believes that marrying a man who’d been a bachelor for a solid 13 years before they met certainly had some major advantages.
“One of his most appealing qualities was his facility with household chores. He did his own laundry (a huge plus) and even though he had a housekeeper, he kept his home neat, took out his own trash and cleaned the cat box for his elderly kitty, ” says Behan.
However, like many couples, after a few years of domestic bliss they began experiencing some tension over the division of household chores. They didn’t talk about it much, but Behan notes that she could feel some resentment creeping in as she took on the cat poo responsibilities and could sense in him the same resentment as he took out the trash and recycling.
Behan says there were very strong traditional lines drawn when it came to dividing the household jobs; patterns she didn’t want to repeat in her second marriage.
“There were female tasks and male tasks and I lived with a lot of unrecognized resentment, ” says Ms. Behan. “I say unrecognized because I really and truly thought that I was NOT resentful. In fact, our lives were full of passive aggressive behavior from both sides.”
When it came to her second marriage, Ms. Behan was determined to keep the lines of communication open and essentially work out their differences before they became too big to manage. “The cool thing about communicating our needs,” says Behan, “Is that it helped us think more creatively when it came to dealing with piddly distractions like who does what around the house.”
And so the zone method was born. They decided to break up the chores into household zones with each of them in charge of their own zone. Then they switch off on a weekly basis.
“We still are in charge of our own laundry, although I have been known to toss a few pairs of panties in with his clothes now and then to keep him on his toes! We each clean a cat box and often share cooking and cleaning and we make the bed together every day,” says Behan. “The best part of this is that each of us knows what is expected of us by the other partner and there is none of that sneaky resentment stuff creeping in.”
Behan offers these tips for instituting the Zone Method to keep household chores from killing your relationship.
The Zone Method
1. You both need to write two lists.
The household tasks that you don’t mind doing and the ones you hate doing. Sometimes one of your hated tasks is one your partner doesn’t mind doing at all. This is a great starting point for creating your zones.
2. Agree on two to three tasks that will always be your responsibility.
Perhaps it will be your laundry as it is with my husband and I. We also are in charge of our offices.
3. Pick at least one task you can do together.
We cook and clean the kitchen together at least once a week and we also do projects like gardening or cleaning the garage as a team. We put on some tunes and beebop our way through the task at hand.
4. Once you pick your zones, agree on a schedule to switch.
This help keep you fresh and motivated for dealing with your zone. When we first started, my husband chose to do the kitchen as a permanent zone. I had the living room and dining room. Well, he tired of the kitchen after a month so we switched. I love doing the kitchen now after a month off and he is happily taking care of the other rooms.
5. Celebrate your success.
Compliment your partner on his or her zone. Tell your partner not only how much up appreciate your newly ordered home, but how very much you appreciate the attitude of cooperation that is happening. Resentment has no place in a soul mate relationship and with plans like the zone method, you can keep those love fires burning!