Chores and your marriage

Garbage, Guy, Idea, Throwing, Man, BinOne of the big complaints I hear from my clients who are married is about the issue of chores. I can tell you from my own 30-year marriage the matter of chores was a huge deal in leading to the end of the marriage.
I clearly remember the problem that’broke the camel’s back’ My ex-husband desired to have our big Thanksgiving dinner at our home rather than at my parents’ home, 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 actually enjoy the dinner, whereas if it was at my parents’ house, I knew that my father was an equal contributor regarding family occasions. My ex readily promised to help, but on the day of the dinner, he did nothing. “I want your help.” He smirked at me, going to his standard immunity, and walked away. 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 resistance.
That is the day I moved out of our bedroom and into my upstairs art attic. “I am not going to spend some more time with you till 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.
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 frequently treating me with anger, withdrawal, sarcasm, and projection – followed by the crazy-making of denying that he was doing these things, and blaming me instead. And, obviously, 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 issues.
Doing Chores Together Can Create Intimacy
Recent research indicates that couples who do chores together, rather than one person doing more actions, or splitting the chores, have more emotional and physical intimacy. Doing chores alone can be lonely, while doing them together can be a time of fun, sharing and affection, and it certainly makes the time go by faster when you are doing the dishes together rather than doing them alone. Sharing chores may be especially important when you have children, because it’s often tough to find time to get together to talk about your day or share your feelings with one another.
While the research shows that couples who do chores together have better marriages, I wonder if the underlying fact is that couples who enjoy being together and have good marriages find that they enjoy doing errands together. Is the doing of chores together the origin of the their intimacy or the result of it? More research would need to be done to determine this.
Irrespective of which comes first, I would think that couples who do chores together have a much better chance of feeling connected with each other than those who don’t. Not only does this give you some time together, but in addition, it prevents both the resentment of one person doing too many of the chores, and the loneliness of doing chores independently.
If you are not doing chores together with your partner, you might want to share these posts and see whether you both might be interested in this current research: