Overcoming Conflict with Your Spouse Over the Assignment of Chores

Do you and your spouse frequently argue over the assignment of chores? Are you unsure on what to do to overcome the conflicts over chores you have with your spouse? To help understand why married couples frequently have arguments over the assignment of chores and what you can do to overcome conflict over the assignment of chores, I have interviewed psychologist Debra Taylor -McGee, Ed.D., HSPP.

Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I’m a psychologist who specializes in counseling individuals and couples. I’ve been in the field for over 30 years now. I especially enjoy working with couples who come in before it reaches the “let’s break up or go to counseling” phase of their relationship.”

Why do married couples frequently have arguments when it comes to assignment of chores?
“Couples begin fighting over mundane things like chores when then are in the power- struggle stage of the relationship. After the wonderful period of seeing no flaws in one’s spouse, he or she becomes annoyed by the perceived lack of equality in chores. The ecstasy of new love gives way to the stage of trying to determine how to live together. Sometimes, though, these struggles are indicative not only of the struggle to equably divide power but also of other issues. Arguing about dishes is easier than arguing about sex or money.”

What type of impact can arguing over assignment of chores have on the marriage?
“Unless the issues are resolved, such mundane arguments over who does the wash or picking up clothes can lead to resentment and criticism. Defensiveness and indirect/direct expression of anger are usually accompanying these arguments and spreading into other areas. If new ways of interacting are not learned, then the couple may decide to end the relationship. The effects on children, family and friends are enormous.”

What are some tips for overcoming conflict over the assignment of chores?
“First, recognize that the chores are not the issue. Each person needs to ask him/herself what is really bothering them about the chore. Is it the perceived lack of respect? Is it a perceived imbalance of work? Or, is it a difference in expectations based on beliefs about how couples should operate.”

What type of professional help is available for a couple that has a difficult time overcoming conflict over the assignment of chores?
“Relationship classes, retreats, weekend workshops, communication classes as well as couple counseling are all available in most communities. Couples can check out their place of worship, the paper or ask others for recommendations. Sometimes calling a local therapist can lead to referrals to such events.”

Thank you Debra for doing the interview on overcoming conflict with your spouse over the assignment of chores. For more information on Debra Taylor ‘”McGee or her work you can check out her website on www.theattorneystherapist.com

Recommended Readings:
Rekindling Romance in Marriage
Sexless Newlyweds
How to Put the Sizzle Back in Your Marriage