A new study has found that a simple “thank you” can be the trick that increases satisfaction with the division of household chores -- even if the chores are divided unevenly.
The division of household chores ranks up there with money when it comes to causing marital disputes. And according to a 2007 World Values Survey by the Pew Research Center, only faithfulness and good sexual relations ranked higher than sharing household chores on a list of things that makes a marriage work well.
The research indicates that women generally take on about two-thirds of the household chores, with men usually doing the outside work.
It appears that part of the process of dividing the labor is based on your threshold for messiness. If you keep completing a chore simply because you can’t stand looking at the mess, you will eventually “own” that chore. And, the other person rarely thinks about saying “thank you” since you’re just “doing your job.” That’s where things often turn sour. It’s also where the remedy may lie.
If you do the “lion’s share” of housework, they recommend the following strategies:
- Avoid repeatedly doing a task that you don’t want to get stuck “owning”
- Tell your partner when you think a task should be done, rather than waiting for him or her to reach their own threshold
If you usually do less than your fair share of the chores, try to:
- Perform tasks before they become necessary
- Create a schedule for specific chores, and stick to it
To increase your satisfaction and happiness, both partners should remember to express appreciation for the work the other one does (even if it doesn’t meet your standards).
Perhaps their best tip is to write down a list of all the tasks you perform, and then switch lists (and chores) for a week or a month, to get a better understanding of what your partner contributes.