Today I’m not talking about something strictly wedding related, but something that has spared John and I probably hundreds of nights of bickering: The Chore Board. Whether you and your partner live together already or you’re about to after the wedding, part of a working marriage is learning to live together. A survey in the UK reported that the average couple spends 40 minutes A DAY arguing over household chores! Spare yourself and your honey that stress and come up with a system for sharing household chores!
Every couple is different, living in a different household, with different circumstances, so no chore board will look the same. I’ll tell you how John and I do ours and how it’s saved us.
Step One: Get the board
Soon after moving in, John realized that even though I didn’t do a ton of chores myself (I’m a little slobby sometimes) I would get angry that he hadn’t done any. So he went out and got a dry erase calendar and some markers. Something like this could work:
Step Two: Figure out what needs to get done
Here are our categories and chores:
Dishes and kitchen clean up
Vacuum and clutter control
Walk the dog 2x a day
Make dinner and pack lunches for the next day
Every other day
Change the kitty litter box
Take out the trash
Clean the bathroom
Step Three: Figure out how you want to split the tasks
Maybe one of you hates doing the laundry but doesn’t mind the dishes? Maybe you both hate all chores, and you want to split them 50/50.
Step Four: Dole out the chores on a bi-weekly basis
That’s how it works for us, anyways. Maybe you two could find a monthly system that works for you, or need to do it weekly. Every other Sunday John and I sit down to discuss the coming 2 weeks. We dole out our chores evenly and discuss any major events coming up – “I won’t be home that weekend, so I’ll do an extra load of laundry when I get back.” Or “We’re going out to dinner that Friday, so no need to assign the dinner chore.” This is also a good time to have a household meeting about non-chore activities.
John and I have assigned “codes” to the chores so we don’t have to write the whole word out. For example, the dog walks are refereed to as “am” and “pm” and putting laundry away is called “L2”
How this has saved us:
-We both do about 30 minutes of chores a day-which isn’t too bad, considering our house is often pretty clean! When I lived by myself I did chores for 3 hours on the weekend and felt like my apartment was perpetually dirty.
-When we slack off, we can’t blame the other person. “Dishes in the sink? Oh, well, yeah I guess I haven’t done my chores for two days…” This has made us learn to be forgiving when the other person slacks off, because we can see that we ourselves also slack off sometimes.
-It’s given us a chance to really build a home together in a physical way. I love our home, and although it’s a total wreck right now because of wedding planning, I know that it usually isn’t.
-In our 3 years of living together, I don’t recall ever arguing over chores. By that UK survey, that’s 730 hours of bickering that we haven’t done!
-It’s morphed as our relationship has. When I’m in school full time and working a lot, John makes dinner on the weeknights. When we have children the chores will morph a ton, and we already have the foundation and habit to work with.
The main point here is to have a conversation about it before it becomes an argument. If there are pre-made deals about how you’re going to take care of your home, then everyone knows what they’re accountable for.