Comes a time in all marriages and households for the splitting and re-splitting of chores – if nothing else, for fairness. This is a time to throw out from the mind any useless precedent and tradition that anchors us to the past and condemns our future, for these will surely restrain progress if we let them.
“That’s not my job, it’s yours! Do what you promised, please!”
I think every household deals with the same issues, however dormant they appear. And certainly if hearts were more fully known there’d be more of a screech at any given moment. At times we don’t give voice to the worn and tired track. It’s done us no good in the past; why continue?
We all make mistakes when we criticise our partners for their performance on tasks around the home. Many of us are even given to ‘serially’ calling attention to the same thing. The “quarrelsome wife” of Proverbs—the one who “nags”—also has an alter-ego of the opposite gender. Yes, men, we too are given to it.
It certainly is a skill to competently give due feedback for less than satisfactory performance on a house chore—and sin it is when it’s not done perfectly. It is better to repent of the criticism so the relationship mightn’t falter due merely to one or a couple of astray tasks.
The one who criticises—the one who started the fight—should be the first one to repent.
A Better Plan
I recall when courting my then-to-be wife the both of us having one of our ‘discussion dates’ and talking in mutually enjoyable ways about the splitting of tasks around the home. We did this according to our strengths, our passions and to ensure a reasonably balanced contribution both ways.
She took the budget, accounting and taxes. I took the car and repairs around the home. I’d wash dishes; she’d wipe. Taking out the rubbish and mowing the lawns were my things. Mopping the floors were hers.
And then things changed, as they always do.
Keeping Things Fresh (and Fair)
Circumstances change. This is where we’re often caught out in our marriages and within the family home. Things change and we don’t adjust to make the commensurate allowances.
A review of tasks every now and again is a good thing. But we’re loath to retain or cherish our history as a precedent we’re reluctant to let go of. We’re best starting with a fresh slate each time or at least to have a fresh outlook as we manage things ‘by exception’. Chances are if one partner is prepared to give way to the meeting of their desires the other will quickly follow suit.
At the end of the day they’re only minor daily or weekly chores we’re talking about. And, still, these are key opportunities at perfecting the ‘labour the love,’ are they not?
Doing a random chore... or to bless with love. Even better it is, to work together to halve the work.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.