Monday, August 15, 2011

Chores and Marriage

"We labor to make a house a home, then every time we're expecting visitors,
we rush to turn it back into a house."
(Robert Brault)

Or, an off-color quote by Joan Rivers: "Don't cook. Don't clean. No man will ever make love to a woman because she waxed the linoleum. 'My God, the floor's immaculate. Lie down, you hot bitch.'" Oh, Joan... Gotta love her.

I had a thought-provoking conversation with 2 church friends yesterday, but I'll protect their identities to avoid any domestic strife that could result! Lady A told me, in all seriousness, that before getting married I should draw up a contract to make it clear who would be responsible for what when it comes to domestic duties. She isn't pleased by the fact that she ends up doing most of the housework, but it doesn't help that she says she has a higher standard of cleanliness than her husband and doesn't approve of the way he does things; so she ends up taking care of most things almost by choice, but not quite. Lady B, on the other hand, said that her husband is more organized than she is so she doesn't have the same problem.

I could see disagreements revolving around household chores to be a big and ever-present downer in a relationship, and I'm wondering if any married people do have at least verbal agreements or tacit understandings about these responsibilities. I'm sure premarital counseling touches upon this topic, but it's good to talk about it even before that point.

Image: Poster Revolution

There's a website called LoveToKnow which has a section on cleaning, including a Household Chore List:

  • Dusting
  • Sweeping
  • Vacuuming
  • Washing dishes
  • Feeding pets*
  • Doing laundry
  • Preparing meals
  • Cleaning bathrooms

  • Washing bedding
  • Mopping floors
  • Watering plants
  • Mowing the lawn*
  • Weeding the garden*
  • Taking out the trash
  • Washing the car*

  • Washing windows
  • Bathing pets*
  • Cleaning the refrigerator
  • Changing air filters on furnace or air conditioner
  • Cleaning blinds
  • Vacuuming curtains

  • Shampooing the carpets
  • Winterizing the house*
  • Cleaning the garage*
  • Pruning trees and shrubs*

*Probably not applicable for a while.

That's a long and not even comprehensive list!

Ultimately, marriage is about teamwork and therefore household duties should be shared between spouses. I can see how it would be easy for people to have certain expectations of the other and fall into set roles. But like my father told us, "The key to a successful marriage is lowering your expectations." I told my sister he said that, and she said it's true.


  1. Despite hours of cleaning, organizing, discarding, and donating, my place is still a mess. Interesting articles from ShelterPop via CasaSugar about what messiness might mean:

  2. Um, I'm not sure who has that standard, but washing the pet once a month is extremely dirty IMHO!!!!! Once a week!!! And definitely so that the pet's hair does not feel "Matte"-y (due to dust/dirt/residue)

  3. I guess it depends on the pet and the pet's (and owner's) lifestyle!


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