Save Your Marriage: Arguing Over Chores May Be the Sign of Deeper Problems

May 13, 2011 by

You can save your marriage by tackling a problem as simple as the division of household chores. Whether you’re newly married or just living with your significant other, it’s not uncommon to argue over who should be responsible for what. After all, who wants to spend their time dusting or vacuuming? These disagreements probably seem small and innocent, but did you know that fighting over domestic duties is second only to conflict over money in a relationship? Little things matter, because they are the things we have to live with on a daily basis, and often they’re a sign of larger issues manifesting themselves in seemingly innocuous ways.

As a Portland couples counselor, I’ve seen how these small arguments can take over a marriage and even threaten to destroy it. If you’re experiencing a problem like this that just won’t go way, make the choice to save your marriage: find a marriage counselor.

Portland Couples Counselor Says Communication Is Key

By working with a couples counselor to save your marriage, you’ll learn how to get to the issue behind the issue and communicate what’s really bothering you to your partner. An argument over one of you not doing your fair share of the domestic work usually isn’t about something specific not getting accomplished. Instead, it’s about the stress caused by one partner putting all of the work onto the other, and what this says about their respect for their partner and sense of personal responsibility.

In my work as a Portland couples counselor, I’ve shown couples how to work together. When chores can be divided in such a way that both spouses are satisfied, they are showing mutual respect for each other. This is key in a healthy relationship, and can help to save your marriage. But even if one spouse isn’t living up to their end of the bargain, communication can still help. Your first instinct will likely be to get angry, but take a step back and ask yourself some questions: Is your partner truly forgetting, or are they avoiding chores to feel in control? Are they angry with me for some other reason and “acting out” by not doing chores? Or are they simply feeling overwhelmed and losing sight of things?

When you find a couples counselor, they can help you to spot these problems and teach you how to deal with them. Make the time to discuss what’s really bothering your partner. And if it is just a problem with forgetfulness, find ways to strengthen the routine for both of you, like setting aside time to both do chores together, or reminding each other through actions instead of words. Taking the time to find positive solutions instead of fighting over differences can really help to save your marriage.