Sunday, February 17, 2013

Housework Harmony: How to End the Chore Wars so You Both Win

Housework Harmony is a relationship guide for couples who find themselves stressed or resentful about how they share their domestic workload. This book is scheduled to be published during the second quarter of 2013.

Many surveys over several decades have revealed that housework is consistently among the most contentious topics in many homes. As far as stress inducers go, doing the dishes is right up there with money, sex, and in-laws. For example, one study involving 148 American couples found that 94 percent of couples fight about domestic work sharing and 73 percent quarrel often. S.C. Johnson & Son surveyed 2,000 people in 2011. They found that 57% of women are dissatisfied with the amount of support their man provides around the house.

That’s a whole lot of momma not being happy, which means millions of guys are also feeling the pain.

The feedback I’ve received from hundreds of To Love, Honor, and Dismay readers echoes these survey results in a big way. This online forum features discussions on a wide variety of relationship issues. Posts about household work sharing result in some of the most spirited reader feedback. Here are a few typical comments:

  • “I can only get my husband to do two chores: folding laundry and taking out the garbage. Sometimes he feels more like a roommate than a husband.”
  • “We have CONSTANT stress in our house over housework issues.”
  • “Usually when I ask for help around the house, I get a positive response, but he tends to say ‘Sure I’ll help, but I’ll have to get to it later.’ *sigh* Of course, later never arrives.”
Many couples become resigned to the idea that their chore wars will never be resolved no matter what they do. “I stopped asking my husband for help,” one reader wrote. “He’s a wonderful man and he works hard at his job, but we would always fight over the housework. Now I don’t ask.”

I take the view that both husbands and wives are dramatically affected by this tension, and both of you could use some relief. Furthermore, any solution will only be effective if it goes far beyond simply getting the floor mopped with a minimum of bloodletting. The larger issue at stake here is your relationship. Let me explain why.

Ladies, when you can’t get him to pitch in with what you see as his fair share of the effort, does that make you feel all warm and cuddly inside? Is that the moment when you just want to grab him and kiss him and tell him he’s the most wonderful man in the world?

Right. Not hardly.

And guys, when she’s making it crystal clear for the thousandth time that she’s dissatisfied with your performance around the house, does that make you want to rush out and buy something sparkly for her? And perhaps even more to the point, does that make you want to do nice things for her … like, I don’t know, folding that load of laundry she’s been talking about?

Uhhhhh... no. Probably not.

And what are the cumulative effects of the two of you feeling this way over and over again, day after day, year after year? Does this bring the two of you closer together? Or does it drive an emotional wedge between you? For many couples the answer is probably not what you want. The good news, though, is that changing the dynamic between the two of you can reverse this situation in a big way. Housework Harmony will show you how to accomplish exactly that.

Stay tuned for further announcements as the publication date draws closer.

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