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A workshop to help you avoid conflict when it comes to shared work or chores

You share work in your relationship: cleaning the toilet and meal-prep. How can you share chores with more happiness and less conflict?

  • We’ll identify 5 conversations you can have to create clarity between you and your spouse when it comes to chores.
  • I’ll give you some sample scripts you can use.
  • And I’ll give you the two words that help prevent conflict.

Download a PDF to help keep you engaged as you listen.

#1 Reality Check: Don’t be the dope in your relationship who doesn’t see the work

The first reason you and your spouse might argue over chores is a simple reality check. If your spouse has never done a particular chore, the time and effort that chore requires are invisible. Consequently, your spouse never notices.

What tasks are you oblivious about?

  • Cleaning the fridge?
  • Changing tires?
  • Renewing insurance?


#2 Who benefits in your relationship?

Don’t be the schmuck who benefits but doesn’t lift a finger.

When it comes to arguing over chores, you don’t wanna be the dope who doesn’t see the work.

However, you also don’t wanna ask your spouse to do work if they don’t benefit. Be realistic about whose work this is, and don’t hand out assignments to paint a new end table just because you have an idea about redecorating.


#3 The neutralizing power of thank you when it comes to chores

At the beginning of the podcast, I promised you two words to help prevent conflict. Those two words are: Thank you.

Whether the job is invisible or you’re not sure you benefit, a thank you goes a long way to creating harmony in your home.

So the third reason you and your spouse might tangle over chores is that there simply isn’t enough gratitude. In order to reduce conflict, say thank you more. A LOT more.


#4 Work Flow: Your timeline is not the UNIVERSAL timeline for your relationship

You are not the boss of the universe. I’m sorry to inform you.

Wouldn’t it be great if your spouse would just hop to it anytime you said, “Let’s get this done?”

But really, truly, be honest here: would you really want a spouse who was that malleable? Isn’t it nice that your spouse has a life of their own? Except when you want the bathroom cleaned, right?

Your partner might approach chores differently than you do. My husband wants to get jobs done as quickly as possible. I like to plan out the day not just so that the chores were clear, but so that we were making a memory as we hang those Christmas lights.

  • When do you like to do particular chores?
  • Are you a keep up or catch up sort of person?


#5: Chores build your relationship

Every Chore Has a Relational Aspect. The fifth reason you and your partner might argue over chores is about preferences when it comes to your relationship. I get lonely making dinner by myself, do you? But if I’m vacuuming or cleaning bathrooms, I want to be left alone to listen to a podcast while I clean. How about you?

What chores beg companionship for you? When do you feel like help isn’t all that helpful? Do you use chores to savor time alone? Chores to connect about your day?

Everyone has a chore they don’t mind too much, or maybe even enjoy. I like grocery shopping. I also like cleaning the kitchen. But I will do absolutely anything to get out of sorting the mail and handling any paperwork.

When I told my husband this, he said, “I don’t mind getting the mail.” Hooray!! I think about all the years and all the hated paperwork I did, and all I needed to do was voice my distaste for the task.

  • What jobs do you absolutely hate?
  • What are the jobs you don’t mind?
  • Can you and your spouse do some bargaining to divvy up jobs according to preference?
  • What chores would you prefer to do alone?
  • What are the chores that you’d rather not do unless you have a companion?

Habit for your happily ever after

This week’s habit for your happily ever after is to do a chore that your spouse typically does.

There’s no harm in having chores assigned to each person, so long as everyone in the household feels good about the way chores get divvied up. But here’s the thing, we all like it when we get a week off from our regular chores.

If your spouse typically cooks, announce that you’ve got dinner covered tonight. Even if you don’t cook, I’m betting you can open a jar of pasta sauce, boil a pot of water, and chop up some veggies for a salad.

If your spouse is always the one on carpool duty, maybe you could use a mental health day at work to take on that job.

Date Night Discussion

Carve out time and space to discuss the 5 questions that will help bring harmony to the shared work of your relationship.

Number 1: Don’t be the dope who doesn’t see the work.

  • What invisible job do you do?
  • What invisible jobs does your spouse do?

Discussion #2: Don’t be the schmuck who benefits largely, but never lifts a finger.

  • As you look at the list of jobs you created in step one,  who benefits?
  • Is this benefit something I value?
  • Ask yourself and your partner how you’d I feel if it never got done?

Discussion #3: Harness the power of thank you in your relationship

Here’s a script you can modify for yourself:  “Here’s the thing, I want to be more thoughtful and grateful for the wonderful things you do to make our life nicer. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that there are lots of things you do that I don’t see Could you tell me 2 or 3 things you do that feel invisible, so I can be sure to up my appreciation game?”

Discussion #4: Work flow. You are not the boss of this relationship universe

So ask your spouse:

  • When do you like to do particular chores?
  • Are you a keep up or catch up sort of person?
  • What other work flow questions to you want to entertain?

Discussion #5: Chores as a relationship builder.

  • What chores would you prefer to do alone?
  • What are the chores that you’d rather not do unless you have a companion?
  • How can we best be companions for each other when it comes to chores?

Would you rather read a transcript of this episode? Click here.

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