Tips for a fair and equitable partnership within your marriageMay 09, 2023
Marriage has many challenges, none of us will argue that! However, there are some challenges that are universal in every relationship. Often couples go through these challenges and question," Are we the only ones dealing with this?" The answer is no. As we talk to married couples, survey married people, and coach marriages, we find that there are some challenges that every relationship struggles with at some point or another.
Let's address the challenge of inequitable division of labor....in our house it is called " tit for tat".
It's not uncommon for one spouse to feel like they're carrying the bulk of the household responsibilities, while the other seems to be getting a free pass. This can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration, and if left unchecked, can seriously damage a marriage.
So why does this happen? There are a few different reasons. One is that couples often fall into traditional gender roles, with the woman handling most of the household tasks and childcare while the man focuses on breadwinning (regardless of jobs outside the home). Another is that one spouse may simply be more naturally organized and efficient than the other, so they end up taking on more responsibilities by default.
Whatever the reason, it's important to address any feelings of inequality early on. The longer you let them fester, the harder they'll be to resolve. Here are a few tips for addressing this challenge:
Communicate openly and honestly. Don't assume that your spouse knows how you feel. Sit down and have a conversation about how the division of labor is making you feel. Be specific about what tasks you're struggling with and what you'd like to see change. Women, here is a fact, men are not mind readers and they do not get subtle hints! We must communicate openly and honestly!
Be willing to compromise. It's unlikely that your spouse will be able to take on all of the tasks you're struggling with overnight. Instead, try to find a compromise that works for both of you. Maybe you can split certain tasks evenly, or trade off responsibilities on a weekly basis.
Focus on strengths. Rather than trying to split tasks exactly 50/50, try to focus on each partner's strengths. Maybe one of you is great at cooking, while the other is better at cleaning. Play to your strengths and divide tasks accordingly.
Reassess regularly. Life is always changing, and so are our schedules and responsibilities. Check in regularly to make sure that the division of labor is still working for both of you. If something isn't working, don't be afraid to make changes.
Jay and I have definitely had our challenges in this area over the years! Each of these tips have helped us as we navigate through the division of labor. Each season of marriage brings new issues to the same challenge: children ages, job changes, health conditions, and family positions, all add to the ever changing journey.
Remember, marriage is a partnership. It's important to work together to create a division of labor that feels fair and equitable to both partners. By communicating openly, being willing to compromise, and focusing on each other's strengths, you can create a system that works for your unique relationship..
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