An Easy Way To Prevent A Breakup

“I sure wish we had found you ten years ago. We could have prevented so much fighting between us….”  Sherrie looked at Josh, who nodded in agreement. I have always tried to plan how we use our money and you enjoy spending it and we blame each other silently and that just doesn’t work!” 

 

Josh continued her thought. “Yea, and I am the one who tries to keep things clean and cooks most of the time and it feels horrible to me that you don’t pitch in and help.” He looked at Sherrie to see if he had gotten himself into trouble, but she signaled agreement. He breathed a sigh of relief.

 

How sad I feel when I meet a couple and wish they had gotten tips long ago on how to prevent breakups.Sometimes the solution is actually pretty easy to do…share the jobs.

 

Do you want your relationship to last? A surveyconducted by Pew Research Center found that “sharing household chores ranks third in importance on a list of nine items often associated with successful marriages.” 

 

Of course those who took the survey said that sharing housework is more crucial to their success as a couple than ideals like shared religious beliefs, shared tastes and interests, agreement on politics, adequate income, or enjoying a nice home. How can anyone enjoy values if they do all the work? Yup. Splitting chores is a sure key for satisfied partners. 

 

In fact, when it came to relationship success, the only two factors that scored higher than splitting the chores were fidelity and a happy sexual relationship. And this third place ranking might actually be too low because other researchshows that couple who split the chores have more sex and higher quality sex.

 

So, to work together for a long and happy relationship, consider how you both share the stuff of life that is a necessary nuisance, like chores.  

 

Three chores worth sharing are clear:

 

Budgeting. 

 

It’s well documented that money is a common source of conflictin romantic relationships. In many cases, the reason looks something like this: 

 

Like Sherrie, one person is often “the Saver” in the relationship, creating a budget and setting financial goals while “the Spender”, “ like Josh, does most of the shopping and spends more.

 

These individual differences can quickly deteriorate into a blame game. 

 

Josh might say, “You’re so uptight about our budget!” And Sherrie would retort, That’s because you’re so irresponsible with money!” 

 

So what to do? If we consider the skill called Interpersonal Problem Solving, one of our four skills for couples communication, we have ways to repair the money blame game. Why? The two of you are actually working together to reach a common goal: financial stability. If you both decide to put the relationship first, you can begin trying to think through money together.

 

Cleaning

 

Josh hates to clean up the clothes Sherrie drops on the floor before she rushes to work. He resents her for assuming he will take care of her sloppiness for her. If he asks Sherrie to join him in cleaning up, things will move faster and he’ll feel better. 

 

Like Sherrie and Josh, you and your partner might divide the tasks into fair partsand agree to help each other. Just watch how much better that feels than sulking or being furious!  

 

Cooking

 

Since both work full time, Sherrie asked Josh to share in meal preparation.“I haven’t the foggiest how to cook!” was his reply.

 

“Use a meal delivery service,” Sherrie advised. Or take me out. I don’t care how you do this but I do care that you do it!” They set out to share tasks and talk while they cook and they actually enjoy it. One night weekly they dine at the local hospital cafeteria together and another night Josh orders meals delivered to their condo. Once the food is delivered, Josh follows the recipe to the letter and they agree, “This is delicious food!”

 

The Big Picture

 

When one person does more than half the chores, they rightfully feel taken advantage of. These feelings, if left unaddressed, can lead to bitterness and resentment, which damage intimacy. So split up the work and reap the loving day after day. Sound worth it?  

 

And please remember to say “thank you” to your partner for doing their share. Showing gratitude is one of the sure fire ways to feel happier, and to keep that relationship you cherish worth coming home for!

 

Questions or comments?  Find me at drjudithcoche@gmail.com. Please email to get your free pamphlet on “Your Best Life: A Short Guide to Happiness” 

 

Norris Clark