I remember my Kindergarten days and how my teacher would tell us “wait your turn”, “now it is time to clean up”, and “everyone needs to do their share.” The early sense of fairness and the expectation that tasks will be distributed evenly seems to become part of each of us during our early years and is carried into our relationships.
When we need to decide who does what in the house, the kindergarten sense of fairness kicks in! We even make a list! But we soon perceive that our partner is not keeping the agreement and experience a growing sense of frustration that leads to disconnection.
Sometimes it is healthy to revisit our kindergarten sense of fairness as grownups and truly evaluate if it is beneficial to our relationship now. It is better to approach living together not as a list of chores to divide evenly but of understanding and perceiving strengths and challenges. Why not focus on distributing the once dreadful household tasks based on individual strengths instead of by the tasks themselves?
Dialogue with your partner about things that are natural for you to do and things that take a lot of energy from you.
Normally we tend to avoid things that are not pleasurable or that we have a history with.
Find out what your partner is reminded of when putting dishes away. It may be a fond recollection of home or an uncomfortable wounding memory. The conversation can bring insight into the life of your partner and can also strengthen your connection.
Make a list of household tasks ranking them from the most pleasurable to the least. Assign for yourself only the most pleasurable ones. You may be surprised to learn that your partner’s list is the complete opposite of your own! We are attracted to people who have our complementary traits and some wearing tasks for you might be refreshing to your spouse.
Did you not find anything on the household list which is pleasurable for you to do?
Get a maid! It may be worth balancing your budged in order to have a more peaceful and connected relationship.
Sometimes what is fair might sound great but does not work. You may have to do more but in the end, you will feel much happier and connected to your loved one, living life together not as fair as it can be but as good and enjoyable as it is.
Read more Relationship Rules to Break. Check back each Tuesday over the coming weeks to see more rules and why you should break them. You can also follow The Imago Center of DC on Facebook and Twitter to get our latest articles directly in your newsfeed.