It’s our privilege to be invited into your story and vocation. In gratitude, we love sharing ours with you, as well. Today, the team responds to a reader question about tips for and experiences with determining each spouse’s role in household responsibilities.
Carissa Pluta, Editor at Large
I feel like my husband and I were lucky to fall into a pretty natural pattern. A lot of chores we do are things that either we like to do or that made the most sense for us. My husband Ben loves to cook, and I like doing dishes, so he cooks and I clean up when it’s done. Or he does the grocery shopping while he’s out, and I do laundry, vacuuming, and other general chores when I’m home during the day.
Andi Compton, Business Director
We’ve had a lot of trial and error. For money matters, my husband handles the long term (investing, retirement savings), while I handle the short term (designating our monthly spending areas and managing our budget).
We both hate dishes, so we try to do five minutes each and then swap. I do the laundry--which he had to teach me after our honeymoon!--and delegate chores to my husband or our kids as needed. He likes to cook, so he does it whenever he can. I prefer cleaning bathrooms over cooking.
It’s all about what works at the time--having children has made us reevaluate our responsibilities often. Seasons change, for sure.
Stephanie Fries, Associate Editor
Our delegation of household chores reflects the combination of both our values and the logistics of our lives. We prioritize time together, a clean and orderly house, and eating dinner at home on weeknights. Since my husband works long hours and frequently travels for his job and I spend most time at home (with occasional freelance work), I take on most of the domestic responsibilities.
My thought process is if he’s working, I’m also working—even though the responsibilities and “profit” of our work look very different. But to both of our benefit, the work stops when my husband comes home and we can relax together. For matters where collaboration is essential or preferred—such as buying furniture, setting a budget, studying for a work qualification or hosting friends for an evening—we work together to fulfill the tasks at hand.
Jiza Zito, Co-Founder & Creative Director
With the travel-heavy nature of my husband’s career, I handle almost everything on the home front. On the same token, he grew up in a very traditional household, and we’ve tended to operate similarly. He does chores if and when I ask; though it might sound patriarchal, it’s the best way we maintain order.
Mariah Maza, Features Editor
I do most of our housework, but sometimes my husband will ask if there’s a chore I’d like him to do. Most of the time, it’s the dishes!
I’ve gotten into the habit of spending the first part of every morning picking up from the night before, and I always make the bed (growing up, I almost never made my bed, and now I can’t function without doing it--a quirky grace of marriage).
Last Christmas, my husband gifted me a Bluetooth headset so I could listen to podcasts hands-free while doing chores, which just shows his practical but loving ability to notice the little things.
Our method of divvying up household responsibilities works for us because I am such an organization-oriented personality, and chores can actually function as a stress reliever. To be honest, we never talked much about daily workloads before our wedding day; it just happened like that after getting married. I’m sure once we have kids I’ll need extra help more often, but I remind myself in the meantime that the stereotypical “wife handling most of the housework” is a perfectly okay way to run your household, and it gives me more opportunities to actively serve my spouse and offer little daily tasks to the Lord. After all, picking up each other’s clothes off the floor everyday is a small road to sanctity!
Mary Wilmot, Social Media Manager
I do all of our family’s laundry, and my husband does dishes most of the time--though I’ve been doing them more lately, as that’s a time when my he can spend time with the kids out of the house while I have time to myself. He cooks on evenings when he gets home first--I’m so grateful for his willingness to cook and clean! He is definitely the more organized one of us, so it helps hold me to a better standard.
Stephanie Calis, Co-Founder & Editor in Chief
Generally, my husband and I each do the chores we mind the least; I usually do laundry, and he usually does dishes. I cook most nights although he’s good at it and doesn’t mind when I ask for a break. He handles most of our financial matters.
I don’t know if we ever formally talked about it, but I’ve always liked that with us, it’s never been about particular roles for each spouse or about refusing to do tasks outside our typical “areas.” Instead, we simply try to do things without complaint and help each other when one of us is unable to do a particular job--we see it as more important that a task gets done than who does it.
Organization is an area where we differ more. I like to try and tidy up often during the day, whereas it’s less a priority for him. I think because I spend more time at home, it’s more important to me to get the mess out of the way. We try to bring up what’s important to us in household matters--clutter, scheduling appointments, grocery shopping--with charity and to give each other the benefit of the doubt when we fall short. Often, we’ve discovered that what seems like a deficiency in the other is actually rooted in a miscommunication of our expectations.
Danielle Rother, Pinterest Manager
Splitting up household chores has not always been easy for my husband and I, and at other times it has. For example, I enjoy making the bed (plus I’m usually the last one to wake up in the morning), so it makes sense that I take on that responsibility each day. My husband has an easier time using the vacuum to get around corners on the floor, and it’s something he’s chosen to do every week for our household.
While some chores came naturally to us at the beginning, there are many others that have caused of tension between us at times. There are even times when one of us simply doing certain things a particular way doesn’t sit well with the other. For example, my husband might place an object like a book, iPad, or phone hanging just off the edge of the counter, where it looks like it is about to fall. I am a constant worrier and perfectionist—I definitely have OCD tendencies, and seeing something on the counter that looks like it is about to fall drives me crazy! I am constantly in “tidy” mode around the house to keep it looking nice, and if I see something hanging off the counter I almost have no ability to restrain myself from pushing it just ever so slightly back. This sometimes irritates my husband as I move things he’s placed in a certain way for greater convenience
We are still learning a lot about each other and how to navigate these responsibilities in our daily life — and that’s okay! Communication is a huge part of running a household; for some couples that have a lot of difficulties in this area I would advise them to seek counseling. I’ve learned that the problem is usually never the chore itself, but how one is communicating their expectations to the other in particular situations.