I heard the strangest thing this morning. A lady left her husband of about 13 months over dirty dishes. Apparently, the man had been forming ‘fit-fam’ all year long and would leave the blender and debris from fruits and veggies in the sink every night after making his power shake . The expectation was that the wife was to clean up the next morning. The wife had complained several times because she had to leave for work 5.30am. Having to clean up added to the stress of preparing for work. Long story short, she woke up one day and decided she was done. Just like that.
While it was not the most shocking of stories, it gave me goose bumps. I could totally relate, considering I tend to have issues with obsessive compulsive disorder. For me the sight of a pile of unwashed dishes in the sink gives me major anxiety, and it can get rather frustrating when I must constantly put up with another person’s mess on a regular basis. In fact, I can end our friendship.
I have always imagined that building a good and lasting marriage would take a lot of hard work and when people list the common problem that could destroy relationships and marriages, the first things that come to mind includes infidelity, money problems, sexual compatibility, ideological differences and lack of communication. Hardly do I ever consider struggles over home chores. It turns out that little things like house chores, including meal preparation, cleaning, outdoor work, household maintenance (e.g., organizing objects and managing storage issues and even childcare (for married people) can have a major impact on young married couples’ day-to-day happiness.
Women who were raised in the 1970s, and even 1980s, would probably snap their fingers in disgust over the idea that a man should clean up the sink, as they were generally taught to do household chores. They are conditioned to believe it is their place to perform these tasks, if they want to succeed in managing their home. Men, raised by those same mothers in the same time as well, will share same feelings… as they were also probably raised not to know how to do such tasks as cooking, doing laundry or sweeping the floor. They probably never saw their fathers cook a meal or iron a shirt, so they can’t imagine why they should have to do these things. Some may even feel less of a man when he does.
In this 2018, however, more people have moved on from that ideology, as majority of women have jobs and even are breadwinners in their family. Housework doesn’t come with a gender anymore, and tasks like raising children, doing dishes, or cleaning cannot be categorized as “women stuff” anymore.
Although I grew up in a traditional home where my father was the sole provider, and although we had a lot of help, my mom still had to supervise and the manage the home, I believe that marriage should be a partnership. It should include the practical business of running the household. Things like going to market, cooking, washing plate, sweeping and mopping, toilet cleaning, putting on the generator, taking out garbage e.t.c should be split between the husband and the wife (taking preferences into account), that way there is peace and harmony.
Write all the chores down and agree on who does what. Be fair with sharing, so no resentment builds. And if you both hate housework and can afford to, then you should contract a cleaning service. Note that, while buying outsourcing the chores reduces the fighting and stress, it may not necessarily reduce resentment. One of the partners may still have an inner dissatisfaction that they are wasting money on housecleaning instead of a vacation or any other leisure just because the other won’t do their fair share.
Perhaps, the biggest mistake most women still make in this day and age is sweeping house chore issues under the carpet instead of drafting a system that works for both parties in the marriage. Some women also ask for help; however, asking for help is the same as you telling them that the responsibility for the chores belongs to just you, so you need them to assist you at your job. HELL NAH! House chores are shared responsibilities, and if your husband is scheduled to do the dishes on a Tuesday night, you should be able to put your plate in the sink and say to him: “Honey, I love you…but these dishes won’t wash themselves.” No? Let me know your thoughts.