I’m very grateful to my parents for teaching us boys how to do nearly every household chore imaginable. Passing down their military cleaning skills equipped me with a few tools for a happy marriage.
While I don’t enjoy housework LK appreciates it when I pitch in. Our home is more harmonious when one person isn’t shouldering the wait of all the chores.
Some of the success we’ve experienced in our marriage is directly attributed to teamwork and communication. We team up on the bigger chores. We trade for the chores we loathe.
- LK cooks. I do the dishes. (most of the time)
- LK buys the groceries. I carry them inside.
- LK cycles the laundry. I fold it. (again, most of the time)
- I hate mowing the grass. LK hates cleaning the bathrooms. We traded these chores.
While we try to adhere to a flexible system of teamwork there are times when I slack. When this happens LK does a great job at not nagging, but sometimes she has no other choice.
Nagging is a red flag. I know 3 or 4 things are true if LK is nagging me about something.
- It is not the first time she’s asked.
- It is really important to her.
- I’ve dropped the ball more than once.
- She is stressed out and needs me to step up.
I feel really guilty when LK is forced to nag in order to get something done. I know that LK doesn’t like to nag and feels guilty when she has to ask me to do something repeatedly.
After experiencing a number of misses we established a system to accommodate our personal preferences and organizational skills (or lack thereof).
When I’m leaving work I text LK to ask if she needs anything. This let’s her know when to expect me home and gives me the opportunity to help with her to-do list.
LK will send me emails throughout the day related to our family calendar, buying a house, what I’d like for dinner, if I need anything from the store, etc. Any tool we can use to keep communication lines open is a win.
We use a spiffy little app called Avocado which creates an encrypted message connection, to-do list and shared calendar for couples. LK will add an item to my “Honey-Do” list and a notification pops up on my phone. When I check it off, she can see it.
Regardless of what tools or systems you use, keep these in mind when you’re tempted to nag or slack off.
Assume positive intent. Your spouse loves you and wants you to succeed.
Divvy up chores and work together. When one person does all the housework you both lose.
Set each other up for success. Build systems to accommodate personal preferences and be a team.
Communication is key. Explain how you feel about nagging your spouse or what it feel like when your spouse nags you.
Pick your battles. Is it really worth arguing about the dishes or laundry?
The most amazing gift I can give my wife is a simple question:
What is one thing I can do right now to help you?
The catch is that whatever she asks for, I must do it with a wink and a smile. If I complain or cop an attitude the act of service is cancelled out and I’ve just added to her stress level.
Love and appreciate your partner more than the thing you’re nagging (or being nagged) about.
What is more important? The chore? Or the relationship?
The catch is I can’t use that question as ammo against LK to excuse when my laziness forces her to nag.