One of the big complaints I hear from my clients that are married is about the issue of chores. I can tell you from my own 30-year marriage the matter of chores was a big deal in leading to the conclusion of the marriage.
The Issue That Broke The Camel’s Back
I clearly remember the problem that’broke the camel’s back’ My ex-husband wanted to have our big Thanksgiving dinner at our house instead of at my parents’ house, and I was all for it IF he promised to help. My experience in the past was that I ended up doing all the work and was too tired to actually enjoy the dinner, whereas if it was at my parents’ house, I knew that my dad was an equal contributor regarding family occasions. My ex easily promised to assist, but on the day of the dinner, he did nothing. “I want your help.” He smirked at me, going to his standard resistance, and walked away. I felt crushed, and my inner child was angry with me that I’d thought him when he so frequently either forgot what he had said or went into resistance.
That’s the day I moved out of our bedroom and into my upstairs art loft. “I am not going to invest any more time with you until you can be loving and caring for three months,” I told him. In the past he could do it for a week or so and then would return to being angry and resistant. I gave him two years to learn to be loving, caring and respectful toward me and he never did, so our marriage ended.
Needless to say, the issue around chores was not our only problem, but it was indicative of the underlying issues, which were a lack of caring and respect toward me, and frequently treating me with anger, withdrawal, New York City Rat Removal, sarcasm, and projection – followed by the crazy-making of denying that he was doing these things, and blaming me rather. And, of course, I was an equal participant in this system with my caretaking and accepting others’ unloving behavior toward me, so I was both responsible for the problems.
Doing Chores Together Can Produce Intimacy
Recent research suggests that couples who do chores together, instead of 1 individual doing more chores, or dividing the chores, have more psychological and physical intimacy. Doing chores alone can be lonely, while doing them together can be a time of fun, affection and sharing, and it certainly makes the time go by faster when you’re doing the dishes together rather than doing them alone. Sharing chores may be especially important when you have children, since it’s often tough to find time to get together to talk about your day or share your feelings with one another.
While the study shows that couples who do chores together have better marriages, I wonder whether the underlying truth is that couples who enjoy being together and have great marriages find that they enjoy doing chores together. Is the doing of chores together the origin of their intimacy or the consequence of it? More research would have to be done to determine this.
Irrespective of which comes first, I would think that couples who do chores together have a much better chance at feeling connected with each other than people who don’t. Not only does it give you a bit of time together, but it also prevents both the resentment of one person doing too many of the chores, as well as the loneliness of performing chores alone.