The trouble with chores is that no one wants to do them, but they need to be done. If you and your spouse are unhappy about how housework is being split, then it’s time to take action.

Perhaps you’ve tried asking for your spouse’s help in the past and didn’t get anywhere. Don’t fret, like most things in a relationship, there’s a right and wrong way for going about this. If you’re looking for ways to split the housework with your spouse, then just follow these seven steps and you’ll be on your way to a cleaner home.

According to a new Pew Research Center survey of American adults, “sharing household chores” now ranks third in importance on a list of nine items often associated with successful marriages – well ahead of such staples as adequate income, good housing, common interests and shared religious beliefs.

choresDon’t Ask, Tell

There aren’t many situations where you should choose to tell over ask, but this is one of them. The problem with asking your spouse to do more work around the house, is that it implies the chores are your responsibility.

Instead, tell your spouse they have to do their share. This doesn’t mean you should be nasty or demanding, instead simply state how you can’t do all the work yourself, nor should you be expected to. You both live there, so you should both be responsible for tidying up.


As a couple, decide which chores are the most important and which ones can be put on the end of you to-do lists. Discuss things like how many times a week laundry should be done or the floors washed. The secret to a clean home is prioritizing the chores.

Some couples consider a home cooked meal a chore. If this is you, then discuss whose list it will fall on. Perhaps one of you will cook and other clean? Maybe you’ll do both together? Since cooking a meal can be time consuming, choose which chores to put on the back burning while this gets done.

Make a ‘Hate List’

Sit down together and make a list of the chores that each of you absolutely hates doing. What one of you despise, the other may not mind, in which case you can switch tasks. If you both detest the same chores, then find a fun way to compromise getting the task done. Maybe you’ll take turns doing it, or flip a coin to allot it.

The beauty in life is that you always have the option to hire someone else to do your work for you. So if neither one of you are feeling confident about renovating the basement or painting the shed, then you can pay someone else to do it. That said, before you go calling a cleaner or handyman, make sure this is something that your spouse agrees to. After all, they may not want to be spending the extra money on something you can do yourselves.

Be Flexible

Consider whether you and your spouse are early birds or night owls and plan your chore time accordingly. Chores are already unfavourable as is, but if you’re asking your spouse to do their share of the work when they’re not ready for it, it’s going to create tension.

If you and your spouse have different sleeping patterns or routines, then be flexible when it comes to your spouse doing their share. As long as the work gets done, it shouldn’t matter what time they do it at… unless they’re vacuuming, you don’t want to listen to that in the middle of the night!


spouse cleaningAs much as you try to schedule your chore time, sometimes life gets in the way. If you’re going to be working late, have an outing to attend or lots of errands to run, let your spouse know. This way they won’t get irritated when your share of the work isn’t being done.

It’s normal to have weeks where you’re both too busy to take care of the housework, just make sure it gets done the following week. If your spouse keeps putting off their tasks until “next week,” then sit them down and find out why they’re being so reluctant.

Don’t Micro Manage

Allow your spouse to complete their share of the housework in their own way and space. Breathing down their neck while they work is only going to annoy them, especially if you’re dictating how things should be done.

As the old saying goes, “If you want something done right, then do it yourself!” If you want the bed made a certain way or laundry on a certain setting, then assign it as one of your tasks. There’s nothing worse than when a spouse complains about the way their partner has done something; It’s not only rude, but it’s discouraging. Simply avoid this by taking care of the things that matter most to you.

Show Appreciation

As humans, we not only respond to appreciation, we crave it. When your spouse does their share of the work, be sure to thank them for a job well done. Sure, they’re expected to do the work, but letting them that know you appreciate their effort will make them feel good and motivate them to keep it up.

Remember, a little praise goes a long way!