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For Your Marriage

Whose Job Is It?

Most people have been raised to expect that certain jobs are done primarily by one sex or the other. Despite these stereotypes job assignments aren’t written in stone. Many couples shift their roles and responsibilities several times throughout the years of their marriage. Is it time for some job reclassification in your marriage?

The issue may be more serious than you think. One of the main causes of domestic problems is domestic – as in, housework. Who picks up the used newspapers? Who takes out the trash? Who will empty the dishwasher? Who walks the dog? Sound familiar? Neil Chethik polled 300 husbands across the age spectrum for his book, VoiceMale: What Husbands Really Think About Their Marriages, Their Wives, Sex, Housework and Commitment (Simon and Schuster, 2006). “Housework showed up right after money as the top issue of discord,” he said. “It was higher on the list than sex, higher than raising the children, ahead of every other issue you can name.” In other words, couples can build a happier marriage by finding better ways to share the mundane tasks of their life together.

Sometimes a wife clings to more than her share of the housework out of a need to meet the expectations – real or imagined – of her mother or friends. Even if her husband is willing, the quality of his help leaves something to be desired, in her mind. Or if a man prides himself in a spotless car, the way his dad always did, he may be loath to let his wife take on that task.

Blending our two worlds and creating a partnership of life and love sometimes comes down to changing how we wash the dishes, make the bed, or store the groceries. We can let go of our idea of perfection in order to accept the help of our spouse. Sharing tasks means more time at the end of the day for us to appreciate each other. It is about making our relationship a priority.