I have a confession to make: I hate housework. I don’t enjoy cleaning and I wish I could leave it to someone else. Since I have 3 kids, there is always a mess to clean up. They love to just up empty toy boxes for the sake of it and skater crumbs around the house. I often feel like I am the only one in the house who cleans or who puts any effort into cleaning.
Since having kids, it has been harder to not let these issues become big barriers in my relationship with my husband.
When I am upset about the house and the mess, it is tempting to blame him for the mess and get upset.
Going that route does not seem to do me or my marriage any good. So, instead of letting housework get in the way of my marriage I have tried to implement a few strategies.
Work your strengths
During the first month of our marriage, my husband and I bought a new dining room table and 8 chairs. We brought the furniture home and started putting things together.
Stereotypically, men are better at putting things together. We soon realized that in our case that was not true. We found that I was better at reading directions and knowing what parts fit together and my husband was better at doing the heavy lifting.
Since that discovery, we have never had an argument while trying to put together furniture. We understand each other’s weaknesses and strengths and we work accordingly.
Workload should not be decided by the stereotypical gender lines. They should be decided on who is the best person on the team to do the job.
My husband has a hard time keeping track of our finances and paying bills, so I do that. But, my husband is the superior bathroom cleaner so he does that.
Let it be
When my husband did the dishes for the first time, I almost had a nervous breakdown. In my eyes, he was doing it all wrong. The way he was doing the dishes was so different than the way I would do them.
But, instead of making him change his ways or be frustrated over how he was doing the work, I let it go.
I chose to be thankful he was doing the dishes and let him do it his way.
Sometimes it’s best to just let it go instead of fighting or nagging or pestering. Letting things go is better for your relationship and will build teamwork and respect between the two of you.
If you choose to nag and nitpick, his ego will be hurt and you will be creating distance between each other.
My husband is not perfect and neither am I. So when things don’t get done around the house I try not to get angry and I don’t seek to get even. Over the years I have learned that the best thing to do is to calm down and talk about it. So, when the time is right, I will look at my husband and ask: Hun, can you please wash the pots tonight? When I speak gently, he is more likely to respond in a loving way then getting angry himself.
Split up the work
Even though I am a stay at home mom, the household responsibilities don’t all fall to me.
As a couple, we decided early on what chores I would do and what he would do.
The split of work does not have to be 50/50, but it is important that you are both happy with the workload.
Not set in stone
Even though we did decide what we were each happy doing, our chores are not set in stone for the duration of our life. If we are not happy with how things are being done then we talk about it and look to change our responsibilities and try something new.
I have a long list of things that need to be done around the house. I would love it if I could get all those things done in one day. But I am the worst homemaker out there and I hate housework. The chances of things getting done right away or all the time are slim. So, I have to compromise with myself to change the list and make it smaller. It’s easier for me to feel like I have achieved something if my list is broken up into manageable tasks.
Since I give myself a break, I think it’s best to also give my husband a break. Sometimes he starts a task late at night and wants to finish, but I know he is tired and has had a long day. Instead of expecting him to finish, I tell him he can finish the next day.
There are so many ways to love your spouse in house work. For me, coming home to a clean house is a recurring dream. I would love to come home from a morning away and find the toys away and the floors clean. When reality hits and I find the house in a worst state than I left, I choose love. I thank my husband for taking care of the kids and for doing the best job that he could.
Another way I love my spouse is by doing his chores for him. As I have said, his job is to clean the kitchen after dinner. One of his least favourite tasks is cleaning the pots and pans. Often times, he leaves this task for last or does not do it at all. Instead of getting mad, I love him by doing the pots and pans and expect nothing in return. He comes home and he sees the work I have done and knows that I have just done an act of love.
My actions is also a good way to tell my husband that I respect him for the work he does outside the home and that understand that he is tired from a long day.
Choose who your cleaning for
I often forget that I am not really doing this for my children or for my husband.
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”
If I change my heart and work for The Lord, then chores become an opportunity to serve God, to worship Him and to thank Him for all that He has given us.
How do you keep household duties from ruining your marriage??