Wednesday, 13 July 2011

WHAT IF YOUR SPOUSE WON'T DO HOUSE CHORES?

Every marriage has its own peculiar feature. Yours is unique not like anyone else’s.


Good hygiene starts from home, but it doesn’t end there. When you were young and lived at home (like I did) you got your fair share of house chores: cleaning, dusting, cooking and washing. On the other hand, if you had parents who were overly fussy, who believed you were too young to pull your weight by contributing to cleaning the house, then, you would at least have seen your parents; siblings or helpers do the house work. So you know for sure that house chores are as real as eating hot meals!

House chores are not tasks for ALIENS!

If you’ve ever lived on your own, that is after you moved out of your parent’s home, you would have had to clean up after yourself one way or another. If you’ve ever shared a flat, you would have had to put in effort to ensure the communal spaces were cleaned. If you didn’t do your bit, you were disliked and labelled lazy!

Now that you’re married, you’ve no excuse, real or imaginary not to clean and tidy your home to make it a presentable and a pleasant place for you and your family. House chores aren’t gender specific. Both of you must clean and organize your home. Yes, including African men if you live abroad! (If you live in Africa, then, you’ll have help and needn’t break your head over house chores).

If your spouse works and you don’t, then, the bulk of the house chores naturally falls on you (stay at home mum or dad!). Yes, sometimes the whole cleaning and cooking gets on top of you and you resent having to clean the home and care for the kids as well.

My advice:

If your kids are above 3 years old, co-opt them to help out as much as they can. At that age, they are enthusiastic and willing to help. And they begin to learn the culture of being assigned responsibility.

Reward them by praising them and giving them treats. They learn that responsibility comes with reward. When you disdain the help you can get from your kids as toddlers, when they become teenagers, they disdain your attempt to coerce them into doing their fair share of work. And, the training opportunity is lost. You can kiss goodbye to them doing their bit when they get married. And the cycle continues...

If you’re the stay at home spouse, instead of resenting your partner for not helping out at home, you can do the following:

Help them relax and get a good rest when they get back from work.

Tell your spouse in loving tones how exhausted you are today from all the house chores. Discuss how both of you can make things easier. You can say, ‘I know if you were at home, it would have been so much easier because you would have helped out with...’

Plan your house chores so that you don’t too much each day and hate your life afterwards.

Leave certain chores: lifting, tough stains, high level cleaning etc. for your spouse when they’re off work. You can also leave out chores you can do together and have fun at the same time.

If you’re the working spouse:

You’ve got to be very sensitive and considerate in the way you speak and act. If your spouse gets any hint that you treat them less than they deserve because they are currently unemployed or are a sit at home spouse, you’re courting trouble.

You’ve got to realize that taking care of your home and making it a wonderfully warm place for friends and family is a grinding task that is NEVER rewarded. But you can change that. How? Take note and compliment every minute effort, DAILY. You can say, ‘Wow! You’ve added fresh flowers there...’ or ‘You’ve washed the curtains, that’s great’ or ‘thank you for taking care of our home.’ And seal such glowing comments with a kiss. Flattering your spouse is a winner anytime. Each time my husband gives me a glowing compliment; I feel light warmth flowing from my face (smile) to my stomach. It gladdens my heart. And it pushes me to do more, even when he says, ‘You’ve got to take it easy’.

Give your stay at home spouse a break by helping out as frequently as you can (It’s your home too!) and by taking your spouse out to have a great time.

Some days, give your spouse a treat by ordering takeaway. Tell him/her you want them to relax and do nothing because you appreciate all their hard work (house cleaning, shopping, school run, food cooking and kids caring effort etc.).

My last word: Remember, no two relationships are alike. Comparing your relationship with your sister, brother, friend or neighbour’s is a waste of time. As YOU make your bed, so you LIE on it.

Go and tend your home TOGETHER, and live happily ever after by God’ grace.


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