Chores and your marriage

Housekeeping, CleaningOne of the big complaints I hear from my customers that are married is about the issue of chores. I can tell you from my own 30-year marriage that the issue of chores was a huge deal in contributing to the conclusion of the marriage.
I clearly remember the problem that’broke the camel’s back.’ My ex-husband wanted to have our big Thanksgiving dinner at our home rather than at my parents’ house, and I was all for it IF he promised to help. My experience in the past was that I ended up doing all of the work and was too tired to really enjoy the dinner, whereas when it was in my parents’ house, I knew that my dad was an equal contributor regarding family occasions. My ex easily promised to assist, but on the day of the dinner, he did nothing. “You promised to help if we had the dinner,” I said. “I want your help.” He smirked at me, going to his usual resistance, and walked off. I felt crushed, and my inner child was upset with me which I had thought him when he so often either forgot what he had said or went into immunity.
That is the day I moved out of our bedroom and into my upstairs art attic. “I’m not going to spend some more time with you until you can be loving and caring for three months,” I told him. Previously he could do it for a week or so and then would go back to being angry and resistant. I gave him two years to learn to be loving, caring and respectful toward me and he never did, so our marriage ended.
Obviously, the issue around chores was not our only problem, but it was indicative of the underlying issues, which were a lack of caring and respect toward me, and often treating me with anger, withdrawal, sarcasm, and projection – accompanied by the crazy-making of denying that he had been doing these things, and blaming me rather. And, of course, I was an equal participant in this system with my caretaking and accepting others’ unloving behavior toward me, so I was equally responsible for the problems.
Doing Chores Together Can Produce Intimacy
Recent research indicates that couples who do chores together, rather than one individual doing more chores, or dividing the chores, have more emotional and physical intimacy. Doing chores alone can be lonely, while performing them together can be a time of fun, affection and sharing, and it certainly makes the time go by faster when you’re doing the dishes together as opposed to doing them alone. Sharing chores may be especially important once you have children, because it’s often hard to find time to get together to discuss your day or share your feelings with one another.
While the study shows that couples who do chores together have better marriages, I wonder whether the underlying truth is that couples who enjoy being together and have great marriages find that they enjoy doing errands together. Is the doing of chores together the cause of their intimacy or the consequence of it? More research would have to be done to determine this.
Regardless of which comes first, I would believe that couples who do chores with a better chance of feeling connected with each other than those who don’t. Not only does this give you a bit of time together, but in addition, it prevents both the resentment of one individual doing too many of the chores, and the loneliness of performing chores alone.
If you are not doing chores together with your partner, you might want to share these posts and see if you both may be interested in this recent research: