Familial expectations was the hot topic last week. As we continue our five-part series: How to Establish the Most Important Marital Expectations, we’ll be discussing household responsibilities, how exciting! Not sure if you sensed the sarcasm there, but I’m one of those people that hates doing chores. Nevertheless, it’s a natural part of everyday life. Establishing expectations on tasks within your home is crucial in the beginning. Hopefully sitting down and talking it out will save you all a lot of arguments in the future.
Expectation #3: Household Responsibilities:
Depending on your current living situation (living with parents or family, living alone or with roommates, cohabitating with a significant other) and your living styles this conversation can go many ways. Both Drew and I have experience living with others and by ourselves prior to getting married. If you didn’t already guess…I’m the messy type, and my hubby is a “type A” neat freak (I say that endearingly 😉). Therefore, before we moved in together post-wedding it was critical to our relationship that we discussed household responsibilities.
Things change after you get married, it may be subtle or there may be major adjustments. Either way, having a conversation about what you all expect around the house will keep you both grounded and you’ll have something to fall back on in the future. It’s not required, but you all may find it helpful to write down each of your responsibilities. Although, know the lists will and should change based on the season you all are in. There will be times when it makes more sense for hubby to do the laundry and for you to clean the bathrooms. Or life is so busy that you go from cooking every night to twice a week. Remember that these expectations are not absolutes.
4 Topics of Domestic Duties
I think there are four major topics of discussion when it comes to housework:
- Strengths and Weaknesses–Likes and Dislikes
- Division of labor
Every couple has different schedules and routines they follow at home. For instance, Drew and I work in the evening time between the hours of noon and 11:00 pm. And on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings we workout. This means that household tasks get taken care of after work, Tuesday/Thursday mornings, or on our off days. Figure out what works for your schedule and prioritize chores according to that. If you go to spin class twice a week after work and you’re doing the majority of the cooking, those may be the days you throw something quick together or have leftovers. Find what works for you both, and be flexible.
On another note, also think about frequency of tasks. Approximately how often should the bathrooms be cleaned? Every other week? How often do you all vacuum? Twice a month or as needed? Think about pet-peeves and preferences. Does it matter to you that the floors are mopped before guests come over? Will you all do a deep clean every spring or fall? Some people like to schedule chores on a household calendar or in their phones. Others clean all the time to ensure nothing is ever really “messy”. Let your partner know how you do things and your expectations moving forward. Then listen to their routines and expectations. Have an open mind and be prepared to do some compromising.
Strengths and weaknesses–Likes and dislikes
Before or after the nuptials recognize each other’s strengths and weakness and also your likes and dislikes. I am strong in the kitchen. Drew could survive if he had to, but I’m a bit more creative with our menu and enjoy cooking for others. Therefore, I do the cooking. Because of this creativity in the kitchen, I also have a knack for overspending at the grocery store. Therefore, Drew does our grocery shopping. This works well for us right now, but once kids come into the picture this may change with our schedules. Drew and I both carry a strong dislike for doing the dishes, so we both do them. I may wash dishes before work, and when I get home from work he has put them away. You two are a team, act as such. It is both your responsibilities to take care of your home and each other.
Additionally, try not to allow gender roles to dictate who does what around the home. My dad does the laundry in my parent’s household, and Drew does our vacuuming. I help take out the trash and I know plenty of women that do yard work. It’s 2017, no task is too masculine or feminine for one person not to perform. However, as mentioned above also think about likes and dislikes. Consider all the options.
Division of Labor
After you’ve discussed the two aforementioned topics decide who is going to do what. Drew and I have a shared document where we have recorded our marriage expectations. Our love expectations, familial expectations, and our household responsibilities are listed in this document. Here is how we have divided household tasks:
|Cleaning Bathrooms||As needed||Individual|
|Home/Auto Service Request||As needed||Drew|
Before Drew and I married we discussed household tasks, and soon after we made some adjustments. Be willing to adapt. What may make sense now, may not make sense later. Changes can occur for many reasons like a job change, having kids, or moving into a new home. However, your partner is not a mind reader and neither are you. If you notice yourself getting disgruntled about performing a task try to figure out why. Is it because the chore is inconvenient and you never have time to perform it? Or have you noticed you or your partner has been picking up the slack in one area for far too long? Understand that communication is key or frustration, blame, and resentment can easily take its place.
Going back to schedules, think about special events, work, and other odds and ends that will come up in the month or week. For example, if you know that on Thursday hubby has a late night, Friday your in-laws are coming over for dinner, and he still hasn’t cleaned the guest bathroom take one for the team. On Tuesday you get home after a long hard day at work, and the last thing you want to do is cook dinner. He’s graciously picked-up Chinese from your favorite place. But for that to happen you must talk to each other! Just because you have volunteered to do the cooking, laundry, and vacuuming does not mean that your partner never puts away a load of clothes or vacuums the bedroom. Help one another, love one another and be merciful in your marriage.Help one another, love one another and be merciful in your marriage. Click To Tweet
Clean-up, Clean-up, Everybody Do Your Share
If you’re a millennial like me, I’m sure you know the classic “Clean-up” song made famous by Barney and Baby Bop. Although I may have outgrown the purple dinosaur, I haven’t grown out of this mentality. Household responsibilities are to be shared. However, what that looks like to you and your significant other is up to you all.
As long as you both are serving in the home in some capacity, the division of tasks doesn’t have to be “equal”. For example, a stay at home mother may take care of the children and the home while her husband goes to work. Once he gets home, the family eats together and he puts the kids to bed. Their roles are different, but they are equals, and they both feel satisfied with the other’s contributions. Marriage isn’t 50/50, it’s 100/100. Both of you should be putting your best effort into the marriage and family, and as long as you both are comfortable, that is all that matters.Your marriage is not for you, it is for God’s glory. However, through marriage, you and your spouse should be making each other better through true friendship, love, and service. Click To Tweet
I also want to remind you both that your marriage is not for you, it is for God’s glory. However, through marriage, you and your spouse should be making each other better through true friendship, love, and service. Both of you must be committed to serving one another for the sake of the marriage. And the only way for the both of you to serve unconditionally is to have the unconditional love of Jesus Christ in your hearts. You can serve your spouse in love even when you feel unloved when you have the love of Christ. Truly meditate on this, and seek Christ first in your marriage. The best marriages are God-centered and focus on selfless love, kindness, and mercy.
For more on these topics and the like check out my favorite marriage resources for both singles and couples.
With lots of love,