How to Get Your Partner to Help With Chores
This is a guest post written by Jenifer Giles, a relationship coach specializing in couples coaching, pre-marital and marriage consulting. Visit her website at jenifergiles.com. Have a relationship question for Jenifer? Use our contact form to send it in and she will answer it in a future post.
You’re exhausted, he’s cruising the Tivo, the house is in chaos and it’s days to Christmas! It can be so overwhelming and hard not to feel resentful when it seems that you carry the major load of planning and work and the responsibility for pulling it all together.
So is there a way around this? Yes! It’s called a list. Some even call it a “honey do” list, though I’m advocating a list for ALL items, not just ones you want to delegate. Start by writing a realistic list of what needs to get done, absolutely everything. It sounds like yet another chore but it will help you figure out your timetable anyway so it’s well worth it.
Next, find a time for you and your partner to sit for ten minutes without interruptions. Not an easy task before Christmas, but well worth the effort. From that list ask your partner what he would like to do. If you suspect the answer is going to be ‘nothing’ then pick out items to delegate.
The significant point here is to choose stand-alone items as much as possible. In other words, pick chores that if they don’t get done you won’t be as inconvenienced. For example, buying his family’s presents is a stand-alone item while shopping for groceries is not.
If you’re not bothered about having a drink but he loves his, put buying the booze on his list. As much as possible have items with built-in natural consequences. Putting the Christmas tree on his list will probably be successful because the kids will take over the nagging, and their excitement is hard to ignore. A word of warning here: if you truly have a hopelessly reluctant helper then this isn’t the moment to make your point at the expense of the kids.
Next - and don’t miss this step - ASK if he is prepared, willing and able to do them. First have “buy in” then say thank you and keep your mouth shut. No nagging, no reminding. I know, I know, it’s so tempting to have a moan because you really suspect it’s not going to get done but remember that’s why you chose stand-alone items. If he doesn’t get the drinks, then he’s not drinking - that’ll be his consequence, not you nagging him till he does it just to shut you up.
Lastly, and most importantly, show appreciation. Honest appreciation (no back handed compliments allowed). So many people give up trying to help because they truly believe it doesn’t matter what they do, you will never be pleased. It’s so important to demonstrate that you can be satisfied.
So get to that list!!
photo credit: Ed Yourdon