Did You Know This Influences the Success of Your Marriage?

Husband doing the laundry

When you ask couples which household issues influence the success of a marriage, things like kids and finances usually rise to the top.

But did you know that chores rank third on that list?!

How can something as simple as housework fuel conflict in a marriage?

Rather easily it turns out. As we all know, life gets busy. Not long after the “I do’s,” couples tend to get focused on (or maybe I should say, “distracted by”) the household tasks they care about, while forgetting the burdens their spouse is carrying. The next thing you know they’re locked in a power struggle over who does more and who works harder.

If that battle is currently waging in your home (or if you’d prefer to avoid it altogether), I’d encourage you to listen to today’s broadcast, “Avoiding the Chore War.”

Joining me in the studio is my wife, Jean, along with Focus’ vice president of Family Ministries, Dr. Greg Smalley, and his wife, Erin. We’ll discuss practical ways for couples to create an atmosphere of honor and respect in the home where housework will benefit the relationship, not tear it down. Tune in and listen on your local radio station, online or via our free, downloadable mobile phone app.

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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This has been a challenge for my wife and I over the years.  I don't have a high paying job, but when we had kids we decided my wife should stay home with them.  God has provided for us over the past 10 years, but just barely and as the cost of living continues to rise, I find myself working more overtime just to pay the mortgage and put food on the table.  My wife has been plagued with food sensitivities and other chronic health issues since we were in college.  We have tried many different things to remedy her challenges and have gotten her to a place where she functions at about 90% of normal half the time and probably 60% function the other half.  Consequently, her ability to keep up with the house work fluctuates a bit like a roller coaster.  I currently work 14 hour days Monday - Thursday and 10 hours on Friday.  We are Seventh-Day Adventists, so we rest, attend church, and do family activities between Sunset on Friday and Sunset on Saturday.  Sundays are either spent catching up on housework or yard work, or we're out doing family activities like hiking and camping.  I rarely get through more than a 1/4 of my to-do list when Sunday is a work day.  My typical weekday starts at 5:00 am.  I exercise, shower and get to work by 6:30 am.  I work until 9:00 pm and eat all three meals at work.  I work 15 minutes from home, so I usually make it home in time to pray with the kids before they go to sleep.  Then my wife and I get my food together for the next day and I try to be sleeping by 10:00 pm.  My wife tends to want to work until midnight or 1:00 am on housework and I used to try to pitch in even though I was pretty spent from my day at work, but I found I couldn't function without 7 hours of sleep.  My doctor told me I would be a wreck by 60 if I didn't start making time for daily exercise and at least 7 hours of sleep.  He told me to block out that time in my day as sacred.  When I fell asleep at the wheel and almost wrecked my car one day, I finally heeded his advice.  So now I try my best to stay within that schedule.  Our floors are often dirty and the laundry sometimes piles up, but as long there isn't an ox in the ditch, I'm in bed by 9:50 pm.  If you're raising a family these days, it costs a lot of money and when I look at how other people do it I see three basic scenarios. 1) The husband (or wife) makes a lot of money working 40-50 hours a week and can afford to have his wife stay home with the kids.  This family can often afford to pay a weekly cleaning person as well. 2) Both spouses work. One may work part-time, but they both work, and they both take care of the house and kids in the evening.  3) One spouse works long hours at one, two, or three average paying jobs while the other spouse works equally as hard taking care of the kids and the house.  In the third scenario, the working spouse doesn't have many hours left in the day for house chores.  I am fortunate to make enough money to pay the bills and have my weekends off, but I know families where the working spouse works 6-7 days a week.  I listen to the Focus podcasts at work and I really enjoy the content, but with all due respect, I don't think yesterday's broadcast on the house chores is realistic for everyone.  I've tried working 14 hours at work, coming home doing housework for 2 more hours and it doesn't work.  I've heard this complaint that husbands just don't do enough to help out around the house and maybe that is the case for those who only work 40 hours a week.  But if the husband is working 60 - 70 hours a week and he's at his limit, his health will crash if he pushes past that limit consistently.  I get frustrated when the expectation is more than I can reach and my failure to reach it makes me look like a failure as a husband and father.  Jamie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the programs and look forward to listening to them each morning, but constantly asking...where's the suggestion or help for those that are both working, little kids are in daycare or old enough to be in school? After all, BOTH parents are tired from a long day at work. 

This is probably the real reason why chores is number three on the list. Many men still feel, even if wife/mother works, it is her job to tend to the children and other traditional chores that are considered "women's work". So this causes issues in the relationship of frustration and resentment. 

I believe your guest hit the nail on the head, though the discussion seemed to be geared toward man working and woman being stay at home mom, when he said it is about having a servant's heart toward the other. This is especially true in a society where most families are two income families which I feel most of your listeners are probably a part of now. 

This leads to my comments earlier, I feel that more can be gained by having a more balanced discussion and topics that are directed toward those that are part of two income families...for most days I feel like they are left out of the discussion or topics presented. By making sure that how they shod deal with these same issues through the particular family dynamic your listener base will increase over time because the topics and discussions become more relevant to them. Just a thought. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't know it says anonymous. I created an account. My name is Lynn Skelton