Nothing drives a spouse out of their wit’s end more than dealing with an unhelpful and unsympathetic partner. Regardless of gender or work status, here are 4 reasons why keeping the family home organized is a team effort as opposed to an aspect of daily living only relegated to one spouse, and also a brief discussion on how to set boundaries at home.
1. Everyone is an adult.
It is commonly assumed that whoever stays at home more frequently is the one solely responsible for maintaining the home. Even worse, some people wrongly believe that the house chores are solely for the female species of our kind. Why are we giving one party a free pass from doing chores?
Regardless of the gender, both individuals are adults. We are adults who have needs and responsibilities, so why should we demand our partner to do something that we can do ourselves? Who do we even expect to do the same things a wife must do if we aren’t married yet? Our mothers? If the answer is yes, you might need to practice on doing adult things at home first before getting hitched.
Merely expecting our partner to do daily (and weekly) chores along with cleaning up after us is already bad enough. Demanding it is toxic.
2. It only takes a few minutes of our time but it can create a lasting impact on our marriage.
Contrary to what we think that household chores are long-winding activities, it actually only takes a few minutes at a time to accomplish. What makes it long-winding is if we leave it up for tomorrow, or even until the end of the week to do, which by then would have accumulated ten-fold, and thus would take more time and effort to finish.
We don’t need a whole day to clean and organize the house if, by habit, we accomplish tasks on the daily. As soon as it presents itself, do it. We can delay it for a few hours but don’t keep on procrastinating.
If we get into the habit of cleaning up after ourselves daily we are decreasing the workload at home for our partner who may need to pick up on our slack. This is crucial in keeping our spouse from resenting us (which can lead to the untimely death of our marriage) In the long run, it is healthier for the marriage.
3. Chores are extremely repetitive.
Millenials know this to be true in the workplace. Everybody’s worst fear is to be stuck in a dead-end job that is a death trap of a routine. We even see them frequently portrayed on screen as a beginning of a movie plotline with the characters miserably dragging themselves to work every day, doing the same tasks while being surrounded by insufferable colleagues. The daily grind from an unrewarding task slowly gnaws through our very being. We start to feel misused, abused, underappreciated and stuck.
Well, guess what? That can be the story of our spouse too, alone at home with all our mess (and maybe the kid’s too). Simply replace the workplace with home, the insufferable colleagues with the unhelpful spouse (and maybe the tiny kids running around the house like maniacs) and desk filing and typing with house chores.
(Read this link on the economics of dividing domestic work fairly, no matter who makes more)
If we don’t want it for ourselves, then we should not want it for our significant other either. Don’t get me wrong, cleaning and organizing the home can be rewarding however it doesn’t change the fact that chores are extremely repetitive. On top of that, while we at least get paid for our troubles at work where we might be given different exciting or challenging projects from time to time, our partners do not. In fact, there appears to be no clear and direct correlation between chores and tangible rewards (which is easily recognizable and provides a quicker gratification than intangible rewards).
4. Helping out at home is a neglected sunnah.
For Muslims out there, this part is specifically for you. There is a common misconception among the community that holds one gender superior to the other. If we look back in our past, it almost makes sense that men toil out in the sun to do laborious tasks while the women stayed around their homes to take care of the home and family. You can almost say that both roles are equally complementing each other, however, this has been unfairly misconstrued.
It is widely known among the scholars that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him (pbuh), served himself and his wife whenever he was at home. He did not expect his wife to take care of him or clean up after him. In fact, the Prophet (pbuh) sewed his own clothes and made his own bed every morning.
And let us not forget the Prophet’s (pbuh) first wife, Khadijah a wealthy businesswoman, known for being hardworking and highly diplomatic in her trade. She was also a woman, a wife, and a mother. This is to remind us that this type of marriage dynamic existed even way back then. All the more reason to get with the times; be a modern man of faith and do your share of housework.
The Prophet (pbuh) once said, “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife…”
So where do we begin?
If this is convincing enough for you to rush to pick up your cleaning instruments and a wide array of cleaning products then hold your horses for one more minute. Defining chores and splitting them is a science in of itself.
In general, it is preferable to have both parties define what is clean and organized for each other. This helps to set expectations for the couple. Next, define what needs to be done at home before assigning the chores. Consider both of your daily schedule, preference, and specialization when assigning the tasks.
You might also want to include your children in assigning household chores. Let them create the habit while they are still young so they will have one less problem adjusting to when they grow up.
Lastly, being considerate of each other is part of marriage. “It’s our home, so it’s our work.” #