Following are ideas and comments sent from readers in response to the article, “Who Does the Housework?”
In our household it depends on who is best at what. Now we both come from families where the women did the cooking, cleaning, raising children and the man worked and worked hard. I remember my dad taking his lunch box every day to his construction job and doing any handiwork and yard work on weekends for our house. Mother worked in the yard as well. There were six children in our family and mother stayed at home and raised us. I remember she was up when we got up and up when we went to bed. We were very blessed with our parents.
But to be honest my husband is a great cook and enjoys that. He sews, cleans, etc. I have thanked my mother-in-law repeatedly for that. I homeschool our 12 year old son and that is a job in itself. We both are divorced and both believe in our commitment to God and each other and tend to work things out for the best for everyone. But we also have to pick up when one or the other needs help or just a break.
I really enjoyed the piece on “Who does the housework” … I have a wonderful husband. Not only does he respect me as a working wife/mother, but he respects me as his companion and life partner.
Before we got married, this was definitely a topic of discussion. I grew up in a household where my mother did the majority of the housework, but us kids were also given chores to help her out as she also worked full-time. My husband, who also had a mother who worked full-time, grew up in a different household where the girls of the family did the ‘women’s work’ and the two boys of the family did more traditional ‘man’s work’ which was usually helping dad outside. His mother always had supper on the table and I am not sure that my husband even understood the full workings of a washer/dryer until he met me!
We did discuss before we got married how this situation would play out. We do share a lot of the household duties, however, I do the majority of them. What some people don’t understand or agree with is that it is a big help if my husband even will tend to the children so that I can get things done … which is fine with me. We have certain duties that we have ‘assigned’ to each other to help keep our house orderly, but we are also willing to pick up the slack if the other person has other obligations or is under the weather. We are also teaching our children (we have 2 boys…2 1/2 years and 9 months) about responsibility and respect for property by having them (well…not our 9 month old yet!) pick up his toys and cleaning up messes he has made. He puts his shoes away when he takes them off and puts his dishes in the sink when he is done eating.
The best part about our household chores is the appreciation that I get from my husband. I don’t think that there has been a meal yet where he hasn’t thanked me for preparing it and the times he verbally thanks me for all of the other chores I do like having his work uniforms clean and folded or cleaning out his lunch pail … the little things. And a big thing he is doing is teaching our child to do the same. My heart melts when my husband gives my son a subtle reminder to ‘Josiah, did you thank mommy for your meal?’… and when my 2 year old looks at me and says ‘Thanks mommy for my food’…is there really anything else that needs to be said or done? I am so appreciative that my husband is leaving a lasting legacy of respect for women with my boys.
My husband grew up in a household of very traditional ‘man/woman’ roles, however, I truly believe that the discussion we had and prayed about even before we were married really defined what we wanted our marriage to be like and I am convinced that it has been crucial to our marriage thus far. My husband loves me as Christ loved His church and I love and respect as Christ has instructed me to do. And to end … none of this prosperity and happiness in our marriage would be possible if we both did not love the Lord our God with all our hearts. Christ is the center of our home and makes our family what it is.
I found the article about housework very interesting. We’ve been married for almost 12 years now and I’ve fully accepted who we are as a couple and as a family.
My husband’s mother was basically Super Woman when it came to domestication. Before her children could even set a glass down it was mysteriously washed and put back in the cupboard. They had an immaculate house, a family of 7 children and everything seemed perfect. Because of how well they were cared for they never had to have any part of what it took to make a household run.
For a long time I really struggled in the beginning with trying to duplicate my mother-in-law. I loved her and respected her, and I desired to be a good wife. After many prayers and tears the Lord really began to teach me some things in this area and ask me some tough questions. Whose standard was I using for myself as a wife and a mother—God’s or my mother-in-law’s or even my husband’s? What kind of legacy did I want to leave in the life of my husband and my family? What could I learn from my mother-in-law?
I realized that caring for her family was how my mother-in-law showed her love to them. I respected that immensely. However, God was my standard. I wanted Him to tell me “well done” more than anything else. I’m amazed today when I look back at how He’s changed me over the years and I’m grateful. I’m equally grateful that when we please Him, others in our lives whose opinions matter too are often pleased too—like my husband.
I am grateful to be blessed with a godly husband and a godly home. My husband does almost nothing on the inside of our house to keep order, but I love him no less for it. I’ve learned balance. Order in a home is important, but it’s not the most important thing. I strive to choose God’s priority for my home and my time—at times that means housework, at times that means letting things go to make an investment in the lives of my family or someone else for eternity. I am very intentional with my son to teach him how to do things and make him aware of what it takes for order in a home to help invest in him. In his home he may or may not do things like this, but I hope I’ve planted perspective in him and an awareness and appreciation for what it takes to have an orderly home. And I still dearly love my mother-in-law and respect her for who she is and the investment she made in my husband.
I have been married to a wonderful man for four years and have two girls under the age of two. It has been difficult to divide household chores, especially since watching the girls takes most of the day. My husband is one of twelve siblings, and is excellent with children. We have decided that when he comes home he spends time with them so I can do errands or have some much-needed me-time. Then once the girls are in bed, we do the chores TOGETHER. We are able to communicate, talk about the day, and get things accomplished in the meantime. It goes much faster, too … when you have your partner helping you! I realize that the time our girls spend together with us is far more valuable than having the house spotless, but things need to get done. I now look forward to “chore time” … with two of us working together we often have time for a movie or game afterwards!
My own personal belief is, if I see something that needs to be done, picked up, put away, washed (including my two boys ages 2 1/2 and 4) I just do it, I don’t wait to divide duties with my wife. I’m generally not a score keeper by any means. Usually when my wife starts to rattle off what she’s done I have to sit down and really think about what I’ve done. But when I do, I feel I’ve done more than my share of household responsibilities.
Sometimes I do put things off like the dishes, because I figure I can do the dishes after the boys go to bed, and I’d much rather spend time with them. My wife feels the need to spend time (I feel wasted time) doing chores that should wait until the boys are in bed also. We just don’t have that much time to spend with them after the work day. We both work, and by the time we get home we only have about three hours to spend with them until their bedtime and we have to include playtime, dinner and getting them cleaned and bathed and ready for bed. I just think the chores shouldn’t take priority over that short time. Do what you can after they are asleep, anything else can wait until the weekend!!
My wife and I have what many view as a backwards take on who does what around the house. I prefer to do all the inside work, dusting, vacuuming and doing dishes and leaving a sparkling countertop are the things that I value most, while my wife prefers to cut the lawn, do any weeding and doesn’t even mind taking down the garbage cans. I do laundry all the time, but don’t like folding—she will fold it meticulously, but never washes! Go figure!
I still handle all of the larger projects, kitchen re-model, sink replacement, new floor install etc., but she is right there helping in every way. I think it’s most important to realize what are one another’s strengths and appropriately take on the work that needs to be done based on who’s best suited to do it and never forget that you get more done working as a team than you do on your own.
We try to divide things as equally and fairly as possible. I dust and clean the bathroom, He sweeps and does the lawn. He does the laundry that he feels comfortable with and I do the rest. It works out really
well for us. Since I work full time, he agreed to do half the housework.
We both do. I am so blessed. We have a housekeeper to help once a week, because we both go 90 miles an hour with two small kids, he’s a pastor, and I work 45 hours a week. He really does pitch in and help me a lot!
My husband and I both work full time jobs. In the beginning of our marriage my husband was the one who did a lot of the housework. When I was growing up my mother did not make me do many chores around the home (which now I wish she had), so it seemed so hard to change my way of doing things. I was a procrastinator which made him very frustrated. But as time went on I began to do more and more and he would do less and less.
After 4 years of marriage we both just do what we can do. We don’t focus so much on who is doing what like we did in the beginning. We just see it and try to get to it as soon as we can. It makes the frustration so much less. Focusing on the score will never make for a happy or healthy relationship when it comes to most things in marriage, especially cleaning.
We share it all. Our pastor says the 50-50 rule is wrong. It should be more of together we make 100%. So if my wife can’t or doesn’t get to something I try to get it done. My Mom taught me the same way yours did.
Although my wife stays home I think her job is far more difficult then mine, we have four boys 13 years through 13 months. And yes I do diapers, bottles and baths! I think it’s important that the roles are combined and this way all the needs are met.
I believe that there is no way to split anything down the middle as far as housework goes. We evaluated what it takes to run a home as a whole. Some chores are more tedious than others. But we all have assigned jobs in the chore department.
Because my husband is the cook in the house, I have the majority of the housework: dishes, laundry, dusting, etc. My husband does do the more strenuous of jobs, takes out the trash, mopping, vacuuming, etc, and to offset that I handle the bills.
My daughter is nine and she is responsible for her space and she is responsible for her things. She cannot leave things all over the house, she must collect all her dirty laundry and separate them at the end of the week and put it in the community hamper for laundry day. She is responsible for collecting all the garbage out of all the rooms in the house and bagging it up for Dad to take out. I try to add other jobs around the house to show her responsibility and that things don’t miraculously end up where they belong. It’s our responsibility as a family to keep the house a pleasant sanctuary for us to retreat to.
This is a subject we often talk about. My husband and I lead a pre-marital class for our church and we have a week where we discuss roles and responsibilities. Just as you said it looks different in each relationship based on how the couple was raised in their homes.
I’m a stay-at-home mom and my husband is an excellent provider for our family of 5 (3 teen boys!). I take care of the home: laundry, cooking, cleaning, shuttling kids here and there etc. Our boys are responsible to do chores around the house and the older two do their own laundry now as well.
I have always felt that I’d like my husband to do more around the home like help out vacuuming from time to time or doing the laundry when it gets piled up and things are overwhelming around here. He was raised to clean his room and then do outside chores like chop wood and yard work. His mom took care of all the cooking, laundry and basic indoor chores. I wanted to raise my boys to know how to do laundry and dust or vacuum so they’d be a blessing to their wives someday.
Don’t take me wrong, my husband is a blessing to me and we’ve both grown a lot in the 20 years we’ve been married. He does help out from time to time with laundry or cooking, but it is rare and I’d love it to be more.
My conflict is this: I’m the stay-at-home mom and my responsibilities are just that, HOMEwork, he goes out and works hard for us every day so is it too much for me to want him to help me here at home with things that should generally be part of my job description? I wonder sometimes if my expectations are too high.
We recently hosted a Homebuilders group using the “teamwork” book and household chores raised a LOT of discussion. Many of the women felt they were pulling double duty: working outside the home and then being responsible for the entire household and the children. We also came up short in the energy department at the end of the evenings when our husbands needed and wanted us the most. This discussion led a lot of the husbands to see when they helped out around the house they gave their wives the break needed to recharge and be available to him later.
We loved the study and several of the couples have re-upped for our current study—conflict resolution—which was a needed topic after the household chores debate! There was great relief to base our decisions on scripture and discerning giftedness—i.e. a wife was gifted and loved gardening, tending the yard while the husband was quite the chef and they reversed roles in those areas to celebrate their gifts, find joy in what they were doing to contribute and simply getting the job done with the least amount of frustration and conflict!
I currently stay home with two children, homeschool and manage a home based business. My husband and I work equally from morning until night—so at dinner time we work together to get it done. We are equally tired and so instead of trying to keep score of who should or who made dinner last night, we share it. We also use that time together to chat and catch up on the day while sending the children to tidy their room or take their evening bath. Everyone seems calmer when coming to the table for dinner and fellowship.
The other thing that was important is that our children don’t see Dad come home and park it on the couch. They see us work together. They also hear us at the end of the evening ‘claim our time’ as we tuck them in!
We would divide household chores between us. I hated dishes and he hated laundry so that was an easy one. Neither of us care all that much for cleaning bathrooms so that one is a tossup. But we agreed to share the responsibility.
I never wanted him to be stuck in a job he hated just because he was the “primary breadwinner.” So, along with the housework distribution went the income earning. I went back to graduate school to be able to provide an income that balanced his so that I could support us for awhile if he ever lost a job or wanted to leave one. I did quit my job and stay home for over a year when our daughter was born and then took an extended leave of absence when our son was born so that I could be home with each of them during that first year and a little beyond it. Of course I’ve had to work my way back up in terms of income and raises, but it was well worth it for our children and I’d do the same thing over again.
I don’t know that we’re all that “normal” in how we do things but it works for us. I have a commute to get to work, for example, so I do that commute 3 days a week and work from home or “telecommute” the other 2 days. We live about 10 minutes away from my husband’s job. On the days when I do the commute, I get home later so my husband cooks dinner. We really do consider ourselves a team in our marriage and in raising our kids. I do believe that’s what it’s all about — interdependency in our
marriage and complete dependency on God in everything! He has blessed us and we are thankful!
Well my husband [helps with] everything in the house, wash, cook, clean and never complains about it. He just does it without being told. As long as he is home and work is to be done, he doesn’t just sit around and watch me work alone, he always steps in to help.
In our home, we have a very “traditional” setup. Dad works quite a few hours a week, Mama stays home with the kids. Dad goes to work, Mom does everything else. Housework, financial responsibilities, gardening, yard work, vehicle maintenance, taxes, everything for the kids during the school year, all pet
needs, shopping. Obviously my husband’s mother did not require her kids to help at home … I certainly wish she had.
I sometimes wonder if it has ever occurred to him, that I might be a little more fun as a wife, if I had more time, and wasn’t so tired all the time … I doubt it, as it doesn’t even occur to him to help. And yes, I fuss. Often. In the last 10 years it hasn’t worked. Although every so often I go on strike and refuse to do anything but feed and bathe the kids. Just to make a point.
Thank you so much for your thoughts about chores. I also grew up in a traditional house where my mother was a stay-at-home wife and my father left to work every morning. I remember leaving for school early in the morning and returning to a clean smelling house and my mother in the kitchen starting on the family dinner.
I am very fortunate to have a husband who grew up in such a household. Today, we both share the chores around the house. I have to say that I too was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, but since moving to Arizona, and the tough economy, I had to start working outside the house. So now we both work and we both come home tired. Usually I will have a crock pot going from early in the morning and when I get home I start working on the household chores with the children’s help, of course. Then my husband helps with the night’s dishes and cleans the kitchen. This seems to work out just fine.
I love my husband’s help and also how he considers how tired I must be feeling. We also get the children involved and we get done faster. We are still a very traditional family and continue to teach our children the importance of family values. Thank you for your ministry. Your ministry has helped my husband and me stay focused in a world where there are no longer any values.
When it comes to household chores, I as the wife have found it hard to teach all my children about sharing the load when, because of cultural upbringing and traditional roles, my husband finds it much easier to “pass on” all chores to the kids and me. They don’t see him being a role model in participating as a team. What’s worse is that he micromanages them as they do their tasks. It is not a fun thing to do. It is the kids and I who do the work while he works to bring in the income. Don’t get me wrong, he does do the fixing and does a wonderful job of providing for the family, but there is that void and sometimes resentment from the kids, especially as they get older. I can no longer explain his tiredness away as easily.
This is a very engaging topic. Yes it has caused many a disagreement in our household and still does to this day. Both my husband and myself were not taught to work around the house and keep our rooms clean. I feel now having children, that it is a very important life tool to teach my children. Although we are teaching ourselves at the same time. Which is where the disagreements come in.
We both think our way of doing things is best even though we are usually both wrong. This is where we have called on experts to help show us how we can do things easier to keep our home clean. Now I will admit that we are still working on the “keeping” part of cleaning. We constantly battle within ourselves to make sure we do our part to keep things clean. Sometimes that sparks a confrontation but in reality we are really confronting the actions of ourselves. If only we could get the speck out of our own eye. Wow in just writing this to you my eyes have been opened that there wouldn’t be as many confrontations if we would just confront our own weaknesses.
As far as who does what in our household. I am a stay at home mom, and soon to be work at home mom. We have set up that I do the majority of the inside housework, that is my role, that’s part of taking care of my family. My husband does the outside housework and brings in the income, that’s his role. That doesn’t mean that I am their servant, however. Everyone is expected to clean up after themselves, when I wash their clothes they put them away, I cook their meals but they help in the cleaning up duty afterward, if they take something out they put it away before they go onto the next thing. Each of my children has their own chores: feeding the dog, taking out the trash, empty the dishwasher. Which has expanded as they have gotten older, it may have started out with just matching their socks or setting the table. Which reminds me their chores have not been expanded in quite awhile, we’ll have to discuss that over dinner tonight.
Thank you for this topic, it has opened my eyes to a new set of standards we will be setting in our home.
Thank you for your ministry, I really enjoy reading the Marriage Memo. I just wanted to respond to your question about how different households manage chores. I too was blessed with a husband whose mother involved him with household chores and has an open mind. So instead of deciding what chores to do based on gender, my husband and I divided up our domestic chores based on who was better at doing them. For example, typically women do the laundry but when we got married, we found out he was better at it than I was so laundry became his chore. But, he generally doesn’t have the “sit still long enough” to fold the clothes so I tackle that chore. I cook, but he cleans the kitchen afterwards. He loads the dishwasher, but I empty it (this is also helpful to keep dear husband from putting things in the “wrong” place). As the leader of our household, He sets the goals and vision for the family while I manage the budget to support it. We have a tandem approach at tackling chores focused on our strengths and tolerance levels.
We also divide chores based on consideration and love for each other. When I went back to work outside the home, it was increasingly difficult for me to come home after battling traffic, cook from scratch every night, and still find time to exercise and relax. So my dear husband as a good and loving leader, decided a couple nights a week either he would cook or pick something up. He also takes out the trash because he doesn’t want to subject me to our apartment’s dumpster.
And the underlying current of it all is to not try and control the other if we do things differently. If we agree that a chore belongs to someone, we generally let the other do it without input. I leave him alone with how he wants to do the laundry even if it’s different than how I did it and vice versa.
So far it’s been a success. Hopefully when children come along, we’ll still be able to design a solution around kids!
I love that this message is coming out. As our household stands now, I am a stay at home mom who does all the housework (including the lawn) except for the after dinner dishes that my husband does. He works 8-6 Monday through Friday and I try to be supportive by not having him do much around our home. But I have to admit, I am starting to hold grudges and get a little resentful toward him. I am at home with our 3- and 5-year-old sons all day. I am trying to prepare one for Kindergarten, one plays t-ball the other soccer, along with all the other things that encompasses raising our munchkins in (what I am trying to keep as) a Christian home. My husband and I both have rough days so who’s to say he shouldn’t help out more at home? I am thrilled to see what you put in our paths with this great and much needed topic!
To be brief, we see multiple times in Scripture that Jesus was an example to his followers. He was not a “do this because I say so” leader he was a “do like I do” leader. We always have to remember to serve first and serve often then those around us will pick up on that and serve or do things because they have seen them being done.
I believe this is very important as a family decides on who does what and when. We have a rule around our house that if something needs to be done then do it. That way everybody benefits.
The other thing is knowing how to help each other out. I have to do some things around the house because I have the time more so than my wife does. It helps her out and she gets to focus that time and energy on something that is more important which again, benefits the house as a whole!
It’s not always who does what but in the end it usually works out that most things get done. My husband is fantastic about doing chores! He jumps right in without anyone telling him. If Mom does something, Dad does something and the kids are involved (very important to give kids chores), it all balances out! Just remember not to sweat the small stuff. If the chores don’t get done one day because you spent the day on a family outing or playing ball with your kids, let it go. They’ll be gone before you know it, then you can keep the house a lot cleaner!
I am fortunate to have a husband who works hard all day long to provide for our family. We are now in the “empty nest” age group. Our children are grown and mostly self-sufficient. We are very active in a national para-church organization. It only makes sense for me as my husband’s “help meet” to handle the housework. Whatever I do inside and out frees up our time to be involved with individuals. So, whether I am mowing the grass or mopping the floor I see my “home work” as a way of participating with my husband in ministry. The way I see it, he could be mowing the grass or he could be meeting (with me) with a young couple for Bible Study. When I do the home work his time is multiplied. It is another way of being one with my husband. There are chores at home that I am physically unable to do like trimming hedges, running the larger yard maintenance equipment, etc. These chores he handles with a glad heart. When our children were home they were trained in how to do all that was necessary to maintain a home, and so they helped me carry the home chores, and my husband did what we were unable to do without him.
Well, I have been married for 15 years, and I have worked full-time, part-time and stayed at home but started a home based business while being at home. As for my situation (maybe others as well), my job duties stayed the same for all three types of working positions I held. I was the caretaker, teacher-homework helper, day care provider, financial accountant-budget & bill payee, lawn care maintenance worker, cook, laundromat, dish cleaner, mail service, dry cleaning service, maid service, animal care taker, just to name a few …
My husband as a child did have chores, but to this day even gripes about having to do chores as a child i.e. rake leaves, wash the garage floors, etc. Unfortunately, he is the main financial supporter of the house and has the larger income (makes sure we know that) even when I am working full-time. My income will never be as large as his and he lets me, know that. He also received an inheritance and lets us know that money was left to him.
I have been the submissive wife and have followed him through all his job promotions, transfers, moves to other states and handled all the relocations/moves myself. My resume looks pretty choppy. But, when I do work full-time, I personally feel like “I am allowed to have a VOICE” in more matters than when I am not working because I am helping bring home the bacon.
It is sad that the mothers/homemakers are considered low value in today’s society when having to explain on job interviews and resumes. I believe that the majority of husbands would say they could never do our job and would be scared to death if the rolls ever reversed and had to stay home and perform the wife/mother duties. And, don’t forget the wifely duties we are also to perform (whether tired or not) to satisfy our MEN. However, if the roles ever changed I still believe I would be doing the majority of the work when I got home because men just would not do it! For instance, if the dog has an accident—my husband won’t even dare pick it up. Sad, huh! He’d wait till I got home or make the kids do it.
So, tell me is it a male ego thing or a women (just gives in) thing? Or is it just something that will never change unless we women speak loud enough but then when that happens men say we are “Whining, Nagging, etc.” You tell me—I just gave up, quit arguing, I just do it now when I get to it and pray he will wake up and see what he has missed with the kids, the home, and life in general. Or, contemplate leaving—to get my sanity and life back again. Life is not all about work—yes, we need money to survive but not to survive on money.
Thanks for listening—maybe this may or may not help you. Life is crazy sometimes—and life is short. Live, laugh, and love everyone! Seize the moment!
When my husband and I were both working outside the home, we were only together in the evenings. I did the cooking and he graciously did the dishes. It came to be this way because frankly, I like to cook! And he can’t cook a thing (or so he says…). So he is thankful for my cooking and I am thankful for him being so appreciative of the meal and also doing the dishes without complaint or hesitation.
Since then, we’ve had three children and I stay at home full time. The chores are pretty much relegated to inside and outside. I take care of the inside and he takes care of the outside. It works for us! Now if he absolutely hated doing a particular outside chore, I would do it for him if possible. Inside the house, I despise scrubbing bathtubs—so he does it for me! Why? Because he loves me and wants to make me happy. Just as I would for him. It’s about putting your spouse first … and doing it cheerfully!
I suppose the chores around here are a bit traditional. He takes the trash out, but I put the new bag in. I cook and clean, he mows the lawn. He carries the groceries in and I put them away. And since I appreciate his strength, he carries the heavy laundry baskets to the laundry room for me so I can wash the clothes.
I am very blessed with a husband that is appreciative of my work in keeping our home!
The memo on ‘Who Does the Housework’ made very interesting reading and I would like to share my thoughts.
I strongly feel that housework should be shared in the home between husband and wife. I will be quick, though, to mention that this should not be a set rule in the home and that the wife should not expect the husband to be actively involved in most of the housework, especially inside the house (outside the house is the man’s job, no questions about it and it is not negotiable). What I would prefer is that husbands should be sensitive to the needs of their spouses, be considerate and be supportive. If wives expect husbands to do certain duties inside the house then they would always be upset each time their spouses fail to help with those duties. Instead, they should appreciate, acknowledge and praise the husband each time he helps out with household chores so that he is motivated to do it again and do even more.
Wives should also not make the mistake of asking their spouses to help out with household chores because most men do not like to be told what to do. I help out from time to time at home and I always feel encouraged each time my wife showers me with praises for helping out. I have noticed that I do not cooperate each time I am asked to help out.
I will say that it is always important for men to help out because after that there will be enough time for them to have quality time with their wives, especially in the evening. Wives should not ask their husbands to help out directly but rather encourage them subtly. If he helps out then they should take it as a bonus but if he doesn’t help then they should not complain and whine about it because he will only react by staying away from home.
Thank you a lot for giving me this chance to express my views. My wife and I have been married for 3 years and we have a 1-year-old and 10-month-old son. God bless you and continue to empower you with resources and wisdom to carry on with this ministry.
I would love to find out how to get my husband to do some work around the house. The problem we have is that he wants to mess up, and then fuss about the house not being together (clean). I get so tired of that. He thinks that men clean the outside and women clean house, I feel the complete opposite. Men should help, but they act like little children sometimes.
For my husband and I, we have decided that whomever is home more gets more house work. In our first year of marriage that has change a couple of times. Currently my husband is home more than I. So he has picked up more of the house work. And he is also so great to find the work I least hate and let me do the chores that I love.
My husband and I picked our chores based on what we were good at and what we liked to do. He really likes to vacuum and dust, so I rarely do it. He very much dislikes food shopping, so I do that. I am better with money and organization, so I handle the bills and paperwork. We are both happy with our contributions and don’t fight about chores.
My husband and I both work outside the home and we have a 19-month-old very active little boy. So, when it comes to housework or yardwork, we work as a team most of the time. Michael, our son, thinks chores are games—so that makes them more fun for us, too.
We both have chores that we do daily, split up into morning and evening routines. For example, it takes me longer to get ready for work in the morning, so Kenny usually takes that time to do laundry and put away any dishes from the night before. I normally get home earlier in the evening, so my chores start then. I do up any morning dishes and continue the laundry while Michael has a snack, plays or helps. If there’s enough time, I’ll dust, vacuum, or sweep/mop with Michael “helping.” All the major stuff, like yardwork, spring cleaning, etc., usually waits until the weekend when we can both work together. Occasionally, there are days when one of us is wiped out when we get home. On those days, we try to pick up the slack and bless that spouse with rest.
After writing this out, it sounds like we spend all of our time doing chores. We don’t. Before we go home sometimes, Michael and I will go visit people however the Lord leads. We also cook and eat supper with our grandparents two or three nights a week. So, once I finish up my chores at home, we’re off to play, serve and enjoy time with Momo & Popo. Then after supper with our grandparents, Kenny usually cleans up dishes while I rest or play with Michael.
Chores are necessary and an avenue to show love to your spouse, but they’re not our first priority or only way we show each other love. We just try to make them fun and be diligent. Then, it’s easier to focus on the most important things in life.
Thanks for blessing me with your Marriage Memos. May the Lord return it to you a hundred fold!
I enjoyed what you said about sharing housework. What I teach in marriage seminars and counseling is that the key to a marriage designed by God is the mutual submission that is in Ephesians 5:21. In our 38 years of marriage we share the work around the house inside and out. Whoever needs help we work with each other. It never was “his” or “her” work. We also taught our children the same thing. We shared our ideas with each other and made decisions together.
As Ephesians teaches, husbands are to love sacrificially as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. If a husband loves as Christ loves sacrificially, kindly, lovingly, patiently, (allowing the fruit of the
Spirit in his life), no godly woman can resist this kind of husband. I call it being Holy Ghost controlled. I teach that for both husband and wife. When a husband loves as Christ loves, the wife showing her respect is an automatic response.
We are all responsible to God for our thoughts, feelings, and actions. When we filter everything we do and say through God, we will be able to live peaceably with all men. This is a key to healthy marriages. God must be the center of everything we do in our daily lives. It’s total submission to God.
My husband and I celebrated our 26th anniversary in April. For the most part, I have been responsible for the “inside chores” (cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry, general housework, child care, etc.), and he has taken care of the “outside chores” (mowing, trimming, snow shoveling, raking, etc). However, he does cook dinner from time to time. If I have set something out to thaw before leaving for work in the morning, he generally starts dinner if he gets home before I do; and he likes to grill out, too. He also does most of the ironing that needs to be done. (I hate to iron, so I usually put whatever I plan to wear in the dryer to get the wrinkles out. He’s very particular about his trouser creases, so he irons his pants.) When we take on major projects (painting, wallpaper, etc), we generally do that together. It’s worked pretty well for us over the years. God bless!
We homeschool our kids, or rather my wife homeschools our kids, which is three fulltime jobs (we have three kids). The issue of household chores is not an issue. I do most of the cooking and grocery shopping, help with laundry and dishes and general house cleaning. The kids are assigned chores/duties as required. We all do this with the help of the Holy Spirit and under the framework of God’s word.
I am extremely blessed with a husband who helps me out with housework. I am a teacher, and when I work full time, he helps with dishes as well as cooking dinner sometimes. When we do chores on Saturday, he helps just as much as I do with all of the cleaning. I sometimes say to him that it’s “my
job,” but he reminds me that it is “our job,” and that we are a team.
Now that I am off for summer, I try to get all of the housework done during “normal working hours” while my husband is at work, but he still helps where he sees something that needs to get done. We still have certain jobs that are “husband jobs” like working on the car, and “wife jobs” like most of the cooking and decorating etc, but we try to help each other as much as possible.
We do not have kids yet, but I know he will be a most excellent father and continue to be unselfish like he is now. I thank the Lord for my husband every day. Thank you for encouraging us in our marriage. May the Lord bless you!
I had a conflict in our household on this topic. My husband wanted me to go back to work and I was not wanting to but the Lord brought me work I love and enjoy, so I ended up going back to work. I work part time doing about 20-25 hours a week and my ministry classes that are five hours a week.
I started to take on a part-time job and keeping up with the household chores was beginning to become overwhelming. I prayed about it and the Lord divided our responsibilities up. But still it has been hard for us to do our part. I end up doing all of it. So the Lord has told me not to and to hold my husband more accountable in a loving way not a nagging way. Example, “Honey, can you please separate the laundry tonight so I can make sure you have clothes this week. Thanks, Babe.” This comes hard let me tell you. My flesh so much wants to say, the clothes are piling up and it is your responsibility to separate the laundry so I can do it. If you don’t do your job I cannot do mine!!” Which I have said so many times and the Lord has convicted me with it. But praise God He is showing both me and my husband how to work this out for our marriage and our family!!
He is showing me patience, loving-kindness, and tender words to speak to my husband during this trying time for me when I want things done now and showing me I cannot do it alone, so I need to let it go and let my husband do it. The Lord is showing my husband how to take care of a home since he grew up with his mother doing everything for him. He is learning to appreciate a clean & organized home. As God is a God of order not chaos.
He is also showing my husband to be the leader, role model, and example for our family. I love what the Lord is showing both of us, but it is a struggle, but for the glory of God I say “BRING IT ON.” I do it for the Lord and with the Lord He is my strength, every help in need, all that I need and will enable both me and my husband to get the job done in God’s timing and way to perfection!! I hope you enjoyed what God is doing. God Bless.
Early in our marriage—like the first week—we sat down and discussed housework. I hate dishes, he hates cleaning toilets. I don’t like to take out the garbage; he doesn’t want to clean out the refrigerator. The rest we determined to tackle together.
Over the past several years, since I stay home with the kids, more of the housework falls to me. But, my husband makes it a point to take out the garbage and do the dishes when he can, and that means a lot to me. It makes me feel that he recognizes all that I do at home.
I think that it has really made a difference. My husband knows that I would rather have him load the dishwasher than pick up toys. The bottom line is that you talk to each other—with love and understanding—and try to avoid those “I wish he/she would just …” feelings.
When I worked outside the home, we hired a housekeeper to come in once a week and do the major chores. This only happened after we had kids. I was tired of spending my Saturday mornings cleaning and not being able to spend time with my son. My husband and I would share laundry, cleaning up after supper and bathing our son. Admittedly I did probably more than he, but he did contribute. Now that I am a stay-at-home mom, I do the major cleaning. This is fine with me because I have more time to do it and I am not losing time away from my children.
I would love for my husband to help out with the housework, especially because I have gone back to work full-time this past year. However, most of it is on me. He doesn’t want to help with housework, as he deems it “the woman’s job.” To further muddle this issue, his mother believes the same way, as she raised four kids, worked full-time and did all of the housework, so doesn’t see why other women can’t do the same thing.
This is a very frustrating issue, only one of many in our marriage right now, so I simply choose not to even think about it as it’s not the most important. Our marriage needs HELP, but husband feels that
everything is okay the way it is, and doesn’t really want to communicate. I never believed I could feel as much pain as I’m feeling right now, but I could sure use some prayer. I am currently reading The Power of a Praying Wife, and have found this to be helpful to my attitude; however, I have so much pain right now that I am having a hard time seeing the bigger picture. Thank you for your time.
I am a 40-year-old stay-at-home Christian wife (of eight years) and mother (of six years). I may be considered “old fashioned” about this issue, but I feel very strongly that the wife should do all of the housework, with the exceptions of when she is ill, when the children are seriously ill, or when there is a new baby in the home. At those times, it would be very loving and caring of the husband to offer to help with household chores while the wife is ill or caring for an ill or newborn child. (Of course, I also believe the woman should not hold a job outside of the home, but that’s another can of worms …) I do believe in training my two young sons to do housework, so that if they live on their own before they are married, they will know how to keep the place clean, and be able to help their future wives when needed.
I think the husband should try to take care of as much of the household “maintenance” as possible (i.e. fixing plumbing, electrical, carpentry-type of problems), as well as car care and yardwork. But the husband works hard all day long at a job in order to provide for his family. I don’t think he should be expected to share household chores on a regular basis. My husband works 65-70 hours most weeks, and I take care of 75 percent of the yardwork during the course of the year. I think wives should be willing to do this, as it is still part of caring for the home. I don’t like how many hours a week my husband works, but I don’t feel bitter about all that I do. (If my husband worked only 40-50 hours a week, I would probably expect him to do all of the yardwork all of the time).
I do, however, feel that the husband should be as involved as possible in the daily raising of his children. I understand that he may need to come home and “decompress” for a short time, but he should not neglect his responsibility of nurturing, training, teaching, disciplining, and loving his children! I think he should help with the bedtime routine and be involved with the kids on the weekends, too, instead of playing golf or going fishing with his buddies all day. (I know of husbands who go golfing or fishing for hours every Saturday and/or Sunday—that is NOT good.)
I am writing in response to your request for how we handled things like housework. At my house, my wife stays home with our two daughters and is currently pregnant with our son. I work outside of the house 40 hours a week. So most of the week-to-week chores around the house are done by her, as she can do laundry and dishes and vacuuming while she is at home when the girls are playing or sleeping. However, there are some things that she either doesn’t feel comfortable with, or would rather me take care of, which are the things I do.
With being pregnant, she is limited in what she can normally do, so during those times, I try to pick up the slack and help out with things that become difficult for her to do. This may include carrying the vacuum upstairs or downstairs, cleaning bathrooms, moving heavy things, taking things off a high shelf for her, and when possible, helping out vacuuming/dusting/dishes/laundry. I usually get pretty protective of her and the baby when she is pregnant, so I will tell her not to do things if I think she might have the possibility of getting hurt by doing them. Recently we were moving our children’s bedrooms around, and we wanted to paint the room our girls were moving into a different color. Being that could cause pregnancy complications, I asked my parents to come over and help me paint so that she didn’t have to, and could stay out of the room while we painted.
I was raised that housework is a shared thing, and though there are many times I’d rather just sit, I really like how the house looks when it’s clean, and I like to do things that make my wife happy, and so I will sacrifice my own desires to do things for her. Like Christ does when it says in Ephesians 5:25 “husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her … ” Having two children and another one on the way, I’ve had to learn to sacrifice my desires to spend time with my children and do what they want me to do and what my family needs me to do overall (plus I believe that time is more important than anything else I could be doing with my time), but I believe that began when I started doing that to serve my wife.
My wife usually likes to mow and shovel snow, but that’s something I readily take up whenever given the opportunity, and especially while she is pregnant. In addition to this, my wife also is teaching our girls to pick up their toys/books after they are done playing with them, as it is beginning to teach them to help out around the house (and it also saves us all from hurting feet and tripping over things).
Not sure if that is what you are looking for, but I believe that housework should be shared, and it can and should be discussed at least a few times prior to marriage, but especially after the wedding so that there is no misunderstanding from how each of us were raised, as to who does what. (Example: like if she grew up in a home where her mom always vacuumed, and he grew up in a home where his dad always mowed … and then just expecting that since our spouse is ‘just who we need in our life’ that they are going to want to do all the things we didn’t have to do growing up. Then coming to realize that you are getting upset at each other because the other isn’t doing the things you expect them to do).
Communication is important to figure out who does what (no expectations without communication), as well as the knowledge of the fact that husband and wife are partners and they should work together to accomplish greater good than what they could do apart … and that applies not just to household chores, but to parenting and ministry as well.
God bless and thank you for your devotions!
Typically, my husband and I share the household chores. If he’s home, he’ll work on the dishes or on the laundry. If I’m home, I will. Since both of us pitch in to help, our lives are much happier and we keep a much cleaner home. Neither one of us has the time nor the energy to do it all, but when we come together and help each other accomplish those everyday tasks, life is good.
I am thrilled that you are taking a deeper look into this as my husband and I struggle dividing up chores in our home. We talked about it about four months ago and decided that he’d do the vacuuming, dusting, and the dishes and I would do the laundry, dog pick-up, cooking (for the most part I end up with dinner) and bathroom cleaning. However, I find myself doing all of these chores. I am not a neat freak in the slightest, but I do notice when there is dog hair on the ground that hasn’t been cleaned up in a long time or dishes in the sink that prohibit me from actually cooking dinner for the night. He, on the other hand, does not see a mess (literally). He grew up with a mom that did everything for him even if he didn’t want it done. I grew up with grandparents that did the same.
We have had quite a few disagreements regarding this topic. It almost always leads to a fight and then he does his chore(s). It seems like we have to fight about it in order for him to do the chore(s). It is very frustrating. I’ve tried to bend and leave the mess, whatever it may be. It is really hard for me though. I don’t mind doing chores, but when all of the burden is placed on me it feels like he doesn’t care about what is important to me.
When he is working on important matters (writing, etc.) I have no problem assisting him by taking over the things that needs to be done. There are many days where he has a tough time at work and has a headache or doesn’t feel like cleaning, however.
We both work full-time jobs. There are goals that I have too (training our obnoxious dog, playing my violin, and reading) that I don’t seem to get time for because I have so much to do at the house when I get home from work. I almost always cook dinner too. However, one of my flaws is talking on the phone too much. I can do most of my chores when on the phone, but there are some I never get to (vacuuming) because I’m on the phone. I know this is something I need and am working on.
Prayer, of course, has helped when I use it. Prayer is huge.
Who does the housework? We all do. I’m at home with the children during the day, so I obviously do more because I’m here. Our motto is “Honor and Serve.” Housework is no exception. If a job needs completed, we get it done—all of us, even the children. There are jobs I prefer to do myself and, likewise, for my husband. We also have our four boys doing basic chores almost every day.
Years ago, I was pregnant with our fourth, and caring for three toddlers. My dear husband asked “What can I do to lighten the load?” “The dishes” was my immediate response. He’s been doing them for over three years now. His attitude toward servitude is what we want to pass along to our boys. To serve is to honor. I am thankful that his parents instilled this in him. As a wife, I’ve learned that you also have to ask. Sometimes your spouse may not see what needs to be done. Asking is easier than fretting. Like most things in marriage, attitude is crucial.
Wow—I bet you’ll find this to be a “hot-button” topic!
Before we married, my husband and I agreed that our daughters and I were responsible for keeping the house clean and he would maintain the yard. Big yard projects like weeding beds and trimming hedges often involved all of us. We felt it was very important that our children knew how to cook, clean & do their own laundry, by their high school years if not before. It’s amusing to me to hear mothers talk about teaching their kids how to do laundry right before the child goes off to college! He and I decided what part of these chores should be done by the kids and then let them divide them as they saw fit.
Now that our youngest daughter has graduated high school, I’m pleased to say my husband has stepped up in his servant leader role and helps me with dinner prep and clean-up when it’s just the two of us. He will also occasionally go to the grocery store with me. This fall will be the first time that all the house-cleaning will fall on me, so it will be interesting to see how he responds to my increased workload.
I do feel it’s unfair that although many women (including myself) now share their husbands’ responsibility in working full-time to support the family, it’s not well received if we want to share more of the household tasks such as cleaning, laundry, grocery-shopping and meal planning, prep
and clean-up. I also feel that tradition and culture has a lot to do with the way we view these things as opposed to any scriptural basis. My husband is 11 years older than me—grew up in the 50’s and is a lot more set in his ways about men’s and women’s work than I am—a child of the 60’s. I’m also by nature not as particular as he is about how often and to what degree these chores are carried out—which has definitely caused conflict over the years!
My advice is for couples to definitely discuss this before marriage to avoid unrealistic expectations, but each couple probably needs work out an arrangement they can live with considering all the “muddy” factors you mentioned. The other piece of advice is aim for balance and evaluate these chores in the light of the big picture—what’s more important: a spotless house or memories made? Doesn’t mean you should always play—a healthy balance between work and play ensures everyone has a chance to get their needs met.
Around our house we divide responsibilities based on a variety of issues and circumstances. For instance, right now I work part-time and so I do more inside the house than my husband. But when I worked full-time, my husband helped do more inside chores—vacuuming, laundry. Right now my husband takes care of the outside and I take care of the inside. As a wife, I also have to remember to ask my husband if I want his help—he can’t read my mind nor does he always realize that I am feeling overwhelmed (usually self-inflicted). He is always willing to help out when I need it. Communication is always key!
My husband and I have been married two years. He was taught the simple principle that, “If you see a need, meet it.” In regards to housework, that means that if the dishes are waiting to be done and he is available to do them, he steps up to the plate and does them, even though that has not been a favorite job of his. There are other household jobs that we each do, such as I do the vacuuming and dusting, he does the heavier, dirty jobs, we both clean the bathroom when we see fit, etc. Both of us are still learning to think of the other first and communicate, communicate, communicate when we
see a need and are not available to meet it ourselves. And when we find that one is doing 90% and the other 10%, the Lord is the Scorekeeper and helps us to work in harmony, not competitively.
My wife and I are a fortunate and blessed couple because our families have nearly identical family roles. So we have a common starting block from which to spring forward. Both our upbringings have very similar delineations of work: men’s chores vs. women’s chores. We don’t identify the chores in our home as such but it’s common ground, and even though we have only been married for about a year, we already see eye to eye on this subject.
As the man, my primary responsibility is love. As such, I work hard to see how I can convey my love for my wife. I have found that my wife receives a great deal of love when I contribute to chores. Particularly the chores that she hates to do. As the man, I bite the bullet, and do the chores I don’t like to do for my wife in love. This has been a very successful way for me to shower love on my wife. I confess that this has been a struggle for me to be consistent (when is fighting selfishness not a struggle?) but I work hard, and rely on the grace of God and my wife.
Also as the man, I feel the responsibility to provide. As of yet, we don’t have children, so my wife has a full-time job. As she contributes to our household in provision, I contribute to our household in upkeep. As we share the burden to earn income, we share the burden to care for the house. When the time comes for God to bless us with children, my wife will stay home, and assume more chores, and I will take the burden of provision. My wife will have the opportunity to contribute to the household income as she desires, but she will not have the responsibility, so she can be free to do
what God has called her to as a mother. I will still contribute to chores at home since my wife receives love effectively in this way, but there is another reason that I will continue do chores.
My wife and I agree that we will both be responsible for raising the children. We both see our responsibilities as parents to display the glories of Christ in our home. As the father, I want to show how Jesus not only plays the role of provider to his church, but also by His Spirit maintains and upholds the church. Speaking without experience, my plan for achieving starts through constant service at home.
Anyway, here is my two cents on the subject. I hope that this is appropriate and/or helpful.
W have a few items that are primarily the husband or wife duties … Trash (that’s mine) and I will do the dishes after supper and most of the after-dinner clean up. My wife does almost all the laundry and primarily does the cooking, vacuuming, dusting, etc. I won’t let her mow the yard. (I see it as a chivalrous task … she should not have to push and sweat so hard publicly) As our children get older (four girls 2-10 years old) we have given many duties that they are now sharing in the work. It’s a process. By the time we are ready to hand off the work, they will be on their way out the door. I see helping in the housework is one of the easiest and most tangible ways to serve my wife. Anything to lessen her burden.
Your memo on “Who does the housework?” hit me at the right (or maybe wrong) time. I am a full-time mom to an active 10-year-old, a fulltime caregiver to my mother (who lives with us and has Parkinson’s plus several other health issues), and a full-time homemaker. I cook breakfast for three people, lunch for two and supper for four; I do laundry for three; all the car maintenance, all the financial & insurance administration, all the yardwork, and 95% of the housework (the 10-year-old has chores and Mom helps where she’s able).
My husband works a full-time job and occasionally grills the meat. He’ll help out when asked but I get tired of asking and he gets frustrated when I seem to ask too often.
I understand that he’s tired when he gets home, but I’m absolutely exhausted by that time, too. Then there’s still dinner to cook and serve and the kitchen to clean. THEN I get to relax and crochet or read or watch a movie, but many times I’m too tired for even that.
I wish someone would compose an article that would encourage men like my husband to step up and take over some of the responsibilities. I keep looking.
I use to think we had to do everything 50/50. Since coming to the Lord, I find it a joy to do house work for my husband. I am teaching the children chores as well. I never ask him, he just does whatever is outside work, cars, bills. At the end of the day we are thanking the Lord we have each other. We are equally exhausted.
My husband works full time and I am a stay at home mom who works occasionally. My husband always helps out and works with our kids to assist me with household duties. We have decided to work as a team, and when the work is done we have more time together and for each other.
I think this is a great topic for you to address. It is especially difficult for Christian women, who are taught to have a servant’s heart, and to serve others in their home until the point of exhaustion. This is one of the most difficult areas for me. I want to serve, but I can only do so much and when there is more to do than I am physically able to do, I get frustrated. How do you get help from your husband and children without feeling like you are not being a servant? Sometimes I delegate a task to the responsible party such as asking my husband to please pick up his dirty laundry. Then I feel guilty for asking him to do this task that I could easily have done. But I don’t feel I should have to do it—it is HIS laundry and he is not expected to pick up MY laundry. You are so right, this is exactly where the rubber meets the road.
I have learned to turn to God to vent my frustrations to Him and to ask for His help. I am surprised very often how quickly He answers my prayers too! Or He softens my heart so that I can ask for help with the right attitude. But it so hard to remember to talk to God, when I can complain to the person standing in front of me!
As a wife and mother in a Christian home I strive to hold to the biblical teachings found in my King James Bible. In that respect, while I work part-time days away from my home (until I find something legitimate that I can do from within my home), I do the majority of the housework. My husband helps when he can, and together we are teaching our children how to care for themselves. We remind ourselves that we are not raising children, but that we are raising adults who will someday have to operate successfully in this world without us to help and guide them. My children are 18 months and 5 years old. Both children have age appropriate chores. Nothing on a regular basis yet, but little things they can do when we ask them. This teaches them respect for their things and how to clean and be respectful of others and their things.
During our daily clean-up time we are singing Christian children’s songs to help enrich their daily walk with our Lord.
I’m very lucky to have a wonderful husband who takes care of the grocery shopping and the dishes and the cooking. I’ve just finished medical school and will be starting residency and am very, very busy with school/work. I try to do the stuff when I have extra time, but he is patient and loving and is letting me pursue my dream while he does some of the mundane work at home. Plus, he’s better at budgeting than I am, so we end up spending less at the grocery store when he shops. I do the dishes when I have time because I’m faster at it. I clean the toilets since he hates it, but he’ll take out the trash which I hate.
So we make a pretty good team and a group effort at everything. It’s actually hard for me to let him serve me by doing the chores sometimes because it seems like I’m supposed to be able to fit it in as the woman, but if he does them, then we have more time to spend together relaxing when I’m free.
Since my husband was not taught to pick up after himself, in any sort of way, it doesn’t bother him to live in a mess. But I can’t live in messiness, so I decide who does the housework, otherwise it wouldn’t get done. His main responsibility is the outdoor things, but many times I end up doing that as well. The work I don’t do, is our three children’s duties: making their beds, putting away clean clothes, dirty clothes, picking up toys, feeding pets, emptying the dryer and dishwasher, taking out recycling and garbage. They range in ages 4-7, so there is much of it that needs guidance.
But I pray that by teaching our son to do the needed, everyday things around the house, his wife will not have that bump to overcome in her marriage as I do. It is one of the things that creates tension in our marriage. Although my husband is a very hard worker and provides for the family to the best of his ability, (I contribute with work I can do in the home), many times he comes home from work and gets to rest, while I am still buzzing around doing all the things that have to be done so I can sit and enjoy some quiet time with him later on. I wish he would realize that his job ends at a certain time, mine never does, and that a helping hand here and there would be great.
In regards to who does housework at home … When my husband and I got married, I told him I was looking forward to sharing the housework. I like working as a team, whether it be inside or outside. That was the plan, but it hasn’t worked out that way. Somehow, the outside draws him (he says it’s his therapy) and I end up doing the inside work. He grew up with a mother who had a very clean house and a dad who did the yard work, so I guess that’s where he learned the roles. I don’t like having roles, but I love taking care of my family. I am not the neatest housekeeper, but I try. I also try not to be resentful. I feel that a lot of wives would appreciate working as a team when it comes to housework.
I am a firm believer that the housework should be the wife’s responsibility. However, if both spouses work outside of the home full-time, housework should and must be a shared responsibility, especially if sanity is to prevail.
My husband does do much work on our cars, and major repairs on both the exterior and interior of our home. He does most of the yardwork as well. I cannot grumble, for I do not work outside of the home.
I worked for 12 years as a professional. I felt the Lord telling me to quit my job, for now, and be a stay at home mom to my three boys. I learned to obedient in the Lord. Our lives our much more fulfilling and less chaotic. The Lord knows best. He put me through college and graduate school. I know in my heart that I didn’t go to college for seven years for nothing. The Lord has a plan for me in his perfect timing.
Since I have been home, our home is a safe and welcoming haven for all. Most of my responsibilities are done during the day, allowing me to be home waiting for my boys to return home from a long day at school. I can now focus on each of them and what each did at school. These times are so important for sharing. This allows for genuine relationships with my family. Nothing is hurried. We all are present to welcome Daddy home after his day at work. We all share during dinner time. During the school year, dinner time usually is followed up with homework. During summertime, longer days allow us to have fun together like swimming, walking, basketball in our driveway or going out for ice cream. These simple but meaningful times together promote strong bonds between each of us, and will be cherished in years to come.
Our boys also have daily and weekly chores. I feel that this is a work ethic that can be instilled in our children early. Having our children watch my husband and I perform our daily and weekly chores will help shape their values and ideas regarding this and carry this over into their marriages. I have personally witnessed so much chaos, blurry parental roles, unrealistic expectations from parents, limited time spent with spouses and children within the family, that this will have devastating (and already has) results on the family unit. If we, as a Christian family, would turn to the Lord for our significance, and what He wants for each of our lives, I think we would see more women staying at home, at least part-time. As a result, this would fulfill Christ’s perfect plan for the family. This would restore perfect peace within the home. Let’s get back to God’s word. We’ll find the answers there—not from the Joneses.
Our marriage is different in that my husband didn’t grow up with a mother, his died before he turned seven and his father was out of the house half of the time or more to work. So they weren’t given chores to do on a regular basis, and their father didn’t keep house. It only got done randomly, like
when guests were coming over. Then the boys—my husband and his brother—had to take care of it, sometimes alongside their father.
So in our marriage, my husband works outside the home to be able to pay our tithes, bills, and the like. I work in the home to try to make the house and family run smoothly—I am the secretary who sets all the scheduling, make/take phone calls; a manager of the house to delegate duties to our children and keep the running tab of honey-dos; animal keeper, making sure they are tended to; chauffer; chief cook and dish washer; launderer, etc. My husband does the upkeep of the outside of the house, though our children and I like to help outside as well. That’s the way we work as a team. Sometimes it gets tough, but we have to keep going.
I am 52 and I lived according to my sinful nature until I was 50. At that time, God pulled my life from hell, told me He loved me, and gave me the Holy Spirit, as well as a wife, a woman who had been in the Word her whole life, but I digress … Dave, you were telling my story as far as a mother who believed that …
I was two of five with 4 years between the next youngest. So my brother—20 months older—and I did the dishes, kept the house clean, etc. Because ours was a one-parent home, mom needed the help.
Growing up in the sixties was a time of changing roles, women’s lib, etc. I grew up with the impression that the genders were equal, but still I believed that women should be cherished and were God’s greatest gift to man … now I know they were God’s SECOND greatest gift to man.
The Bible says that love is caring more about you than I do about me. That’s the way we decide who does the housework. I have been home with an injured back for almost a year and am getting ready to go into surgery again, but that does not stop me from showing my love and appreciation for everything she does for me … and a little vacuuming, maybe fixing dinner once and awhile goes over big.
My husband and I will have been married for 27 years this July. We have never argued on who does the chores. We both do the chores. If he is home before me, he will start or make the dinner. He will do the dishes if I am busy doing other chores. We just do what needs to be done and do not assign any one particular thing to each other. If laundry needs to be done then either one of us will do it. I help my husband outside with cutting wood for the woodstove in the winter, or mow the lawn, or put out the trash at the curb when he’s taking classes for his bachelor’s degree. We don’t consider any particular chore men’s or women’s work. We work together and get done what needs to get done. As long as you work together, and have faith, love, and respect you will have a marriage that you can be proud of.
My husband and I have just read your email. We share our household chores and do give chores to our children. Fortunately for me, the wife, my husband has taken on household chores as his role, not having to be asked at all, when he sees something needs to be done, he does it.
About 12 years ago, I flat out told him while in nursing school, that I gave up doing laundry, and it just went from there. Seeing the heavy load I was taking he began to take up some of the slack. From that point in our marriage, he took an initiative and began to help more and more.
Just to let you know he has been doing laundry ever since and when our oldest daughter was probably 12, he taught her and it is a chore they share. We have four children and we have a lot of laundry. As for our 14-year-old son, he is the lawn boy. We have about two acres, so he is a pro. I recently asked him if he enjoyed riding the mower and how someday he would be great at taking care of his own yard and yardwork. His comment was he will hire someone to do it. So the griping is there, but we also have an incentive and our children do earn an allowance for their chores. Not always or consistently, as there chores are not consistent, but I have assured them that if they took them responsibility I would be responsible to pay. I also am very easy when they ask for something, I give in right away when I know they have earned it, instead of money, a gift, such as a new skateboard for my son.
My two younger girls, 11 and 8, have the responsibility of keeping their rooms clean, and picking up after themselves. I slowly am preparing them for bigger tasks, the 11-year-old will vacuum on occasion while the youngest does the dusting. They of course take care of our dog. All this is done with the usual complaining, but we cannot possibly do it all ourselves and let them know that. We explain to them how tired we are from our jobs and taking care of them and do need their help.
My mom always made a weekly list for us kids that gave us an exact breakdown of who does what so that the house stayed clean during the week. Each day all four kids would have a task to complete before playing video games or going out.
Mom also did a lot of the cooking and cleaning, however, Dad only participated in washing cars, garage cleaning, and other maintenance or major projects which were never on a list. Though they tended to come quite regularly.
Things have changed since I have now been married for two years and have no kids yet. I find myself doing the chores with the help of my husband when he is willing and able. I find that he is most willing to do those things which he grew up helping out with in his home, like putting away dishes. Other chores which he did not experience doing at his home he is now less willing to help with. I believe tradition and selfishness will most definitely play a role in who does what and when. Thank you for the scriptural wisdom included in your articles I find it most helpful!
My husband did absolutely NO chores around the house as a child. When his mother was out he did not eat until she came home, even though his father was home and very capable of preparing food for the children. His father was controlling and when he allowed the children to help with work outside, their efforts were never good enough. He would criticize or re-do their work. This was very discouraging for the children. I would imagine this is why all of my husband’s siblings have self-doubt issues and low self-esteem.
For myself, I had two alcoholic parents, so I did everything myself. I came to believe that I could do anything. As you can imagine this became a huge issue in my marriage early on. After about five years of doing everything in and outside of the house and raising four children, I became resentful and burned out. Since then, my husband and I have been married for 21 years, and have learned that neither one of our childhood experiences were biblical examples.
We have three sons and one daughter (all teenagers!) and our goal is to model God’s family and work as a body to keep our house running as smoothly as possible. My goal as a mother is to one day have my daughter-in-law say to me, “thank you for teaching your son how to be a servant leader.” As for my daughter, I hope she is able to look at her father and see a spiritual leader and look for that in a husband. I hope my daughter sees me, subject to my husband and that she maintains proper focus on her home. Most women do not like this part, but I do because I have seen how being obedient to God’s proper order in our home has brought us many blessings.
In short my husband and I are raising our children to be husbands and a wife.
My husband and I have been married for a little over five years now. It has taken us until now to stop playing “tit for tat” in this area.
We have a 3-year-old son, and we both work full-time. We have learned to work together as a team to get things done. I think the main thing is that we both show appreciation to the other person, and not take each other for granted
Both my husband and I share in the housework. He takes care of putting out the trash and getting the cars washed. I primarily take care of the general housework such as vacuuming, washing, and grocery shopping. The good news is that occasionally my husband will take on these chores, especially when I am tired. We don’t have a hard and fast rule on the housework, it’s just that I am a stay-at-home mom so I use a good part of time to take care of the household. However, when I need help, my husband answers the call. I am blessed to have such a loving and wonderful lifetime partner!
In our household it depends on who is best at what. Now we both come from families where the women did the cooking, cleaning, raising children and the man worked and worked hard. I remember my dad taking his lunch box every day to his construction job and doing any handy work and yardwork on weekends for our house. Mother worked in the yard as well. There were six children in our family and Mother stayed at home and raised us. I remember she was up when we got up and up when we went to bed. We were very blessed with our parents.
But to be honest my husband is a great cook and enjoys that. He sews, cleans, etc. I have thanked my mother-in-law repeatedly for that. I homeschool our 12-year-old son and that is a job in itself. We both are divorced and both believe in our commitment to God and each other and tend to work things out for the best for everyone. But we also have to pick up when one or the other needs help or just a break.
In our home, for almost 34 years of marriage, my husband does help with the household chores, but not on a consistent nature. When I ask, he will help out, or if I am ill. But for the most part, he also has his own chores with the cars, yardwork, and the garage/home repairs.
I am one of those who randomly needs help, but I have found that teaching my children has been more helpful all the way around, despite their voices of protest at times!! Three of our four children are now grown and on their own, and do a good job of sharing the chores in their homes. Often I hear them repeat an instruction that they were taught in regards to chores, in their own environments.
One other thing to mention is that in our family, I have always worked outside our home, only part-time, and my husband full-time. So that also played a part in when and who did what!!
Thank you for wanting input from your online readers, I am so often encouraged by this daily insight.
This email was a great discussion started around the dinner table. Occasionally, I share things I have read in your emails with the entire family (three kids–12, 10 and 6). My 10-year-old laughed and said “it is definitely mom who does all the chores.” I had to quickly correct that statement.
We are currently building a new home ourselves. It has taken us one year and we are nearly ready to move in. During this time, I was diagnosed with cancer. I have watched my husband and children take over much of my role as a homemaker. My children, all three, have done laundry successfully, dishes, mopped, dusted, helped on the house and in the yard. My husband has constructed this 3,000 square foot home while managing the kids, our current home, and working a full-time job (he is a soldier and a pilot). Sometimes the house is not as neat as if I were doing it and oftentimes things are put away in different areas than I would put them … but the love and team work I have seen in my family this past year is remarkable. I am very blessed and proud of the family I have. Now that I am feeling better, my children and husband still pitch in and make sure things are done and ask if I need help.
God has blessed me with a very loving husband who does not see that there is a division for the daily upkeep of OUR home. I guess it is because it is just that—OUR home. We work together keep it running, in all aspects physical and spiritual.
I am a stay-at-home mom now, but my husband has always helped with domestic duties, especially since he is tidier than me. If there are dishes needing to be cleaned, he does not walk by them saying it is not his job, he will stop and clean them or help me get the job done more quickly. My husband is usually the one who cleans the kitchen up after dinner while I finish feeding and cleaning our small children from dinner. If he finds a pile of laundry sitting on the bed, he will help fold and put them away. We are on the same team, there is no place for “your job” or “my job,” it’s our job. Plus, it is always a bonus if we end up with more time to spend together after the kids are in bed.
I cannot end this without saying that my husband has truly mastered the art of loving and serving as the Bible says in Ephesians 5. He daily looks for ways to ease my stress and help my day be brighter.
My husband goes to school Monday through Thursday. When he gets out of class he picks up our two children from daycare and then they go home. He fixes dinner and when I get home we eat. I clean up the dishes so he can have some time with the girls playing and relaxing. My husband also works Friday, Saturday and Sunday full-time so during the week I do the household chores. I try to do a load of laundry each day therefore I can spend time with the girls on the weekends instead of doing housework all weekend. It works out pretty well.
Right now with our hectic schedule this works out better. Both my husband and myself have full-time jobs seven days a week with work, school, and being parents. We try to divide the chores out but as of now I do most of the chores just because he has more pressure on him with school and all. I am blessed with a great husband who will work, go to school to better our family, be a great dad, and do chores around the house!
In our household, I do all of the housework. I am a stay-at-home mother to 4-1/2 and 2-1/2 year old children. My husband is a rancher, thus long hours. It is nothing for him to get up at 5 a.m. and not return until 9 p.m.—except for the quick bite at lunch. This is not all the time but a lot of it. That being said, he does help out on occasion.
While I was helping him with books the other night, the kids took it upon themselves to get a bag of potato chips out of the pantry and eat them in the living room. Two no no’s but anyway, when my husband saw what they had done, he made them start picking up their mess while he got out the vacuum. When I walked into the living room I would have never known of the “chip incident” the living room was so clean.
I guess the short of it is this: I wait on my husband hand and foot. I guess a throw-back from the 50s housewife. I fix his dinner plate; lay out his clothes, etc. However, he doesn’t expect it. He is very thankful, and I do it to show him I love him. Therefore, he will pitch in from time to time when the need arises and not think a thing about it. That is one of the many reasons why I love him and our eight years together don’t seem like very many. Do I still have to remind him sometimes that the trash is starting to stink—yes. But, he also has been known to remind me he is out of clean socks!!
I hope this is what you were asking for when you asked if we had anything to add or a story on this. I tend to ramble a little. Thank you so much for your writings in the Marriage Memos. I enjoy them tremendously.
I would love to say that when he sees it needs to be done he does it; however, that would be a lie. I have learned through the “Love and Respect” videos that if I don’t ask he doesn’t know. My husband works full-time. I work part-time, homeschool our three children, and attend evening classes for nursing. He does help out a lot more now than when we first got married. When he was growing up there were no chores, so it was a learning process for him too. With more and more moms going to work it is harder to take care of all the household chores yourself, husbands do need to help out. I know we couldn’t have done it without the videos, because I always approached this area wrong. Now all I do is ask and we generally do the cleaning together as a family.
I am blessed to have a hubby who is willing to pitch in on housework. When we both worked, we both did our fair share of house work. Now I am a stay at home mom, which changes things a bit. I see the house as my “job,” but my husband still pitches in a good bit of help. One thing that seems common around the women in my circle is that men don’t always see what needs to be done. If asked kindly or reminded softly they usually don’t give much fuss about helping out. I count myself greatly blessed with my husband. He comes from a family of men’s work vs. women’s work, but is willing to break the mold … which makes me a much happier wife than some of the others in his family!
You know a lot of what your wife spoke is true. My mom never made us do chores but rather suggested things for us to do. Now my wife says the exact opposite. “If his mom gave him more responsibility then maybe he would be a bit more motivated to help.” (In a loving way, mind you.) Now over the five years of our marriage God has done amazing things. He has given me the realization that I am to give my wife rest and He has also given me a motivation to get off the couch and help out with vacuuming and such. I believe the importance of this issue as with many go far beyond just the act of cleaning. I try to look at it as servanthood toward my wife. Showing respect and adoration for just being where God wants her to be.
Thanks for writing this article. As a woman, you realize housework will always reflect on you as a wife and mother. This is an area of frequent conflict in our house. I work outside of the home out of necessity. Many Christian women I know end up with a lion’s share of domestic duties as well as working. Thanks for bringing this overdue subject up.
My husband and I discussed long before we got married how housework would be divided. My family was very messy and unorganized while his mother was responsible for keeping everything spotless. We both feel that while we are working full-time jobs that we should split things fairly evenly. I am in charge of bathrooms, cooking, and dusting/vacuuming while he handles the laundry, cat litter box, and yard work. With all of that taken care of all we have left is to pick up after ourselves. We have been married for three years and so far it has been a great system!
I have really just taken the chores as something I have to do because I basically grew up seeing my mom take charge of the chores. I come from Africa and the man’s duty traditionally is to fend for the home while the wife takes care of the home.
Although I work full-time as my husband, I still try my best to have the chores in control and even taking care of the kids. It basically falls on the woman’s head.
My husband helps me sometimes and I really appreciate that but I am just stuck with thinking it is my duty to see that all is done and well.
I practiced law for eight years after graduating from Harvard Law School and was on track to partnership at an international law firm when my husband and I got married, and then got pregnant. I walked away from my work to stay home with my baby girl, and to support my husband in pursuing a job that took us back to his hometown and away from my law firm.
Because I am home, the bulk of the household chores fall on me (except for the lawn, because that involves some sort of John Deere machine). When I first started staying home, there were days when I truly wished I was back at my desk, makeup on, Starbucks coffee in hand, working on a challenging project instead of doing another load of baby clothes. But in all that I’m doing, I’m trying to follow scriptural principles for being a Christian wife and I believe that I made the right choices for my husband and daughter, and so I have trusted (mostly) that God can lift my heart and I can feel satisfied with my household duties. And He has! I feel a certain satisfaction now when everything in my household is humming along, and on those days when I miss work I remember that God gave me my Harvard law degree in the first place, and He can use it again when He is ready. I believe that I can have it all, but it is not best for my family for me to try to have it all at the exact same time. That doesn’t mean that I enjoy every household task that I now do (what were we thinking with a new lab puppy??), but I feel a happiness in my heart overall everyday and I believe that comes from trying to follow God.
I can only speak from my 20 year marriage. We have had a constant battle with housework. He came straight from his mother’s (where she did everything) to me. What a mistake it was. We have had so many fights over the years about housework. It was somewhat better when we were first married but after being a stay at home mom (during the day—I waitressed at night) he did nothing. To this day I feel like he just doesn’t hear me or understand how much work I do. It has gotten to the point that either I divorce him for it or come to terms with the fact he won’t help out. I feel like I have lost the battle. Please find some answers for people like me who feel the entire burden of the family. The only thing he does is go to work. And don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that, but I go to work too (finished college) and do everything else. Including all the finances, yardwork, laundry, dishes, cleaning, kid activities. I have kids and they do their share but no help from my husband. HELP!!!!!
The Bible is not confused about this subject (even if our culture is). God’s beautiful plan is for a husband and wife to each give 100% to their marriage, which, barring any unusual circumstances, entails the man going out and conquering and the woman being the “keeper of the home.” Unfortunately, our society has blurred these roles for decades. Consequently, my wife and I started our marriage on an unscriptural foundation and because of it we struggled mightily for 12+ years. Four years ago we learned about God’s plan for husbands and wives and our marriage was supernaturally reborn. God made us, He loves us, and He knows what is best for us. He uniquely designed men and women with different strengths and focuses for their specific roles. I have learned to trust God and His grand design for me, no matter what others may say. My wife and I are living proof that God’s way is the right way. Praise Him!!!
At the beginning of our marriage I felt like that my husband thought it was all my responsibility to clean the house. After many conversations (arguments) I now appreciate that he does chores without even having to be asked, mainly because he also enjoys a clean house. But also because we have decided that we are a team and will help each other however necessary. Because of that there isn’t as much pressure on me about keeping up with everything at home and work as well. And I don’t feel so
patronized that I am not keeping up with all the duties a woman should keep up with.
Now for the blessing: I originally thought that it was so nice to have a turnaround attitude about our house chores from my husband until I read one woman’s devotion that I receive in my e-mail. It was touching on this particular subject of house work and how us women love to gripe about what our husbands don’t do. What convicted me the most was realizing that my husband does other things around the house that I would never want to do by myself. For example: He cleans the garage, and makes sure we have an air conditioner every summer and a heater every winter. He pulls weeds and sprays the inside and outside of house with bug spray. He maintains the oil and other fluids in the cars. My husband does so many countless job duties that he would never expect for me to do. So now instead of always thinking that “I work too, I shouldn’t always have to be the one to clean the house” I now have an attitude of gratitude. I am so thankful that God gave me a husband who not only takes care of stuff that I would dread doing but also helps out with the household stuff too.
We share the chores by who doesn’t mind or enjoys doing them. My husband doesn’t mind making the bed every morning, and I enjoy working in the yard. I tend to do all the yard needs such as mowing, edging, pruning, weeding, gardening, and even the plumbing (such as when a sprinkler pipe breaks or needs a new sprinkler head etc.). But he will trim the trees. We both don’t mind doing the dishes, so if that needs to be done, whoever just does it. My husband usually tends to electrical and car issues, since I do not know much about them and he never minded changing diapers. I do the vacuuming, dusting, and laundry which he generally will help to fold and/or put the clean laundry away (or at least his own). We both take care of the swimming pool, but he doesn’t mind doing the heavy stuff like lifting out the filter to clean it, so he mostly does that. But I have done it a few times myself or he will help to get it out for me. We each take care of cleaning our own cars. He doesn’t mind cooking sometimes; he makes a great veggie dish that we both love. Or when I cook, he doesn’t mind help to clean up the dishes. It all seems to work out and has never really been an issue in our marriage. Guess I got lucky!
As a little girl growing up, my brother and I didn’t so much share chores. But we were given chores according to what the male normally does and what the female normally does. My brother took out the trash, kept his room cleaned and maybe helped with some spring cleaning and that was maybe just raking some leaves. As for me, I washed the dishes, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned my room, etc. Now as an adult I do clean, and will cook sometimes but I’m not the greatest nor was I the little girl who Mom had standing by the stove whenever she cooked our meals so that I could learn.
I am glad to say that I, too, was fortunate enough to be blessed with a husband who cleans, cooks, and washes clothes along with a whole bunch of other things because he wants to. I never get the chance to do it because he beats me to it every time and I am so, so thankful. So I believe that yes, what you are taught or accustomed to growing up is what you will most likely portray as an adult when you get married.
Our situation is a little unique, I guess.
My wife, Rainbow, is the provider for now. I have a seizure disorder that prevents me from being the provider. In some ways, I’m more of a “help-meet” for her these days. I do a majority of the housework, both inside and outside and she brings home the paycheck.
We both know this isn’t God’s ideal, and we both desire to strive for His best, but He never allows things into our lives that He will not give us grace to walk through, amen?
The best-working solution we have is that whoever sees a job that needs to be done should do it. When we actually practice it, it works very well. Dishes, dishwasher, trash, toys to put away. It seems not to work so well with laundry (that is the wife’s responsibility) or mowing grass (that is the husband’s responsibility). And somehow cooking meals never goes into the “whoever sees it does it” category!!
This is such a big issue in my marriage. My husband grew up in a home where he was not made to do chores or really anything for that matter. His mother picked up after him even after he was married to me. I found this very disturbing and confusing.
I was raised in a home with very strict parents that did not allow for messes. Our rooms had to be cleaned, we picked up after ourselves and even had to make sure our laundry and dishes were washed. We were also assigned chores at home as well as my mother’s part time job cleaning the church we attended. My husband and I have been married for about four years and he has yet to help out around the house, even when I worked full-time, went to school full-time, and had a baby … whew! I don’t know if there is a way to “rehabilitate” my husband, but I have tried my hardest.
We used to share chores when we both worked full-time, but now that I am a stay at home mom I feel like I do everything! I have simply just tried to be thankful for our home and thankful for my husband as I work around the house. I know he is working hard at work to provide so I feel I need to be thankful and just get it all done. It’s such a catch-22 though, because I feel like my job as a mom/house cleaner is 24/7 and my husband gets to come home each night and leave work. That’s when I struggle sometimes is when I don’t feel like I get a break. Overall, when I’m in the Word and staying focused on the Lord, I’m usually fine. It’s when I haven’t spent time with HIM that I get irritated. Funny how that works, huh?
For us, I as the wife do as much as possible throughout the week while he works and the baby naps. If something is left over, like folding laundry—which he likes to do instead of me anyway—he will do it, if he is not too tired after work. On the weekend he might do some things that I may not be able to do with our little one running around and wanting to help me. So we do split it, but without some help from him with a child (and now visitors) I would be exhausted by the time he got home each day and not want to talk or stay up with him after our little one goes to sleep. Oh, and he always takes the trash out because I can’t leave the baby inside alone.
My husband works as a general surgeon and has very demanding and long hours. He maintains our garden area and fish pond. They require hard work but it is therapeutic for him and he enjoys it. I don’t have an outside job so I handle most of the housework, cleaning, cooking (I consider nutrition very important to helping him), finances, yard mowing. He does the heavy cleaning as in the garage (I help a little because of my allergies to dust). So we work together.
He says his most important job is loving on me to make me feel treasured and adored. We really enjoyed your conference. My sister and husband went a couple of weeks ago. They enjoyed it so much. They want to send their son and daughter-in-law who were recently married. At that conference I felt
the presence of the Holy Spirit, very wonderful indeed. Thanks for the work that you do.
Our household chores have always been divided by inside chores vs. outside chores. I’m basically responsible for the inside of the house (bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming, laundry) while my husband is responsible for the outside (weeding, landscaping, mowing, and the dreaded garage). As our family has grown and the children have gotten older, things have changed a bit. My husband still manages the outside, but now he has our son to help him mow and our daughters to help him weed. I still manage the inside, but likewise, the kids are now responsible for the entire upstairs. While it seems that this may give us a “break,” what it really does is give us the time to take the kids to all their various activities, which is more than fair, in my opinion.
The only out of balance, from my viewpoint, is during the winter. The grass goes dormant and the flowers hibernate. So my husband gets a whole season “off.” In the meantime, the dirtiness inside the house is never dormant. That’s when I usually try to get him to tackle inside projects, like steam cleaning the carpets or painting a room. Or maybe he does a lot more of the chauffeuring of the children, because he’s lousy at most of the inside chores and he knows it!
All in all, this works for us and we are extremely fortunate. We could not successfully run our household without both of us sharing the load.
I help out with the chores but I work two jobs and my wife is a stay at home mom. I feel that she has most of the responsibility at home since I’m out working two jobs. I would like to see your suggestion on this topic when a husband works and a wife says at home.
To be honest, when I saw the first email in my inbox, I didn’t even read it. I read Gary Smalley’s book, If Only He Knew and had tried to apply it to my second marriage—it was a disaster. When I saw the second email come in, my response was, “I am so frustrated with some of the things that y’all espouse.” I see now that Mr. Boehi hasn’t given his recommendations yet … Here’s the rest of my original response:
Even for women who work, my ex-wife had a job where she had nothing to do much of the day and could sit around reading a book or whatever else (even just having time to collect her thoughts). In my job, I always had more to do than I could, and had to pick the most important tasks to do and let the rest go. Since she was non-exempt, she HAD to leave after eight hours, where I am expected to work up to 10 hours a day with no extra compensation. Most of the time, when I get off work, I need some time just to get my mind turned around from all the worries of the day. It’s no surprise that I made more than twice what she did, but she gave no allowance to the mental stress that accompanied that.
You talk about how men should be doing all these extra chores at home, but how many women have picked up anything that has been a traditionally male task?!? How many of them assume any responsibility for things like yard care or vehicle/home maintenance? All she wanted to do was have fun, and I guess thought that things just took care of themselves. It’s no wonder everything she had when I met her was broken and not working.
She gave no mind to our debt or retirement. She spent whatever she wanted and threw a fit any time I tried to suggest moderation or responsibility. Then, when she decided she didn’t want to married anymore, she tried to use the legal system to take all the assets and leave me with all the debt!
I think the root of the problem is that people are trying to do too much, so that they can have all the luxuries and keep up with the Joneses … no keep ahead of them! As a result, the unrealistic expectation of being able to have it all and do it all ends up being a constant source of frustration and discontent.
I know it’s not universal, but I believe it’s a number of social forces that have developed in the last 30 years that has convinced women that they deserve everything and owe nothing, and when they decide to end the marriage, our society often rewards them. Am I bitter? You bet! But I’ve heard too many other stories from friends where his money is their money and her money is for whatever she wants to spend it on (clothing, shoes, eating out etc.) I turned myself inside out trying to please her and gave her everything trying to make her happy, but nothing was ever enough. Get this: I got so tired and frustrated, I was the one who didn’t want to have sex anymore. Even though I held on and continued to save the marriage long after she gave up, I finally realized I was better off without her and her abusive degrading criticisms of everything that I tried to do.
This response might be too late to use, but I will share what we generally do in our marriage. I am 60 and my husband is 70. He is more physically fit than I am, so he typically does the more physical work, i.e. mopping, vacuuming, cleaning windows, most yard work, etc. I am a designer and notice detail more than he does. He needs cataract surgery so he can’t see clearly. I like to have a glass or mirror cleaned without streaks, etc. so I typically try to do things that need more attention that might stand out to me if they were not to my standard.
That is our rule of thumb, but at times it is necessary for me to do weeding and for him to unload the dishwasher. His attitude is very good at being flexible, but it is probably because his dad was a good role model and helped his mother in whatever way that was needed.
I found that men will assist you more with house work when you are not treating them like they are your child. When I start doing house work and I do not ask my husband to help, he just gets up and starts helping. Sometimes, ladies, when we are not so outspoken we can get much more from a man.
I wonder if the lines got blurred here (with household chores) when the women’s liberation movement went forward and women hit the work force.
I am a keeper at home. I am home all day. I am responsible for all of the housework unless it requires a man’s muscles. I am not bitter nor am I unhappy. It has never been a source of contention in our marriage. I feel happy to keep our home because I am so happy that he is willing to get up early and slave away all day making money so that we can eat, have new clothes, pay bills and have a few extras. I am so happy that I do not have to be responsible to be our breadwinner. What I mean when I say I am responsible for all of the housework is that when he gets home from a long, hard day of work he does not walk in the door and worry about the dusting that needs done, or the supper that needs made, or trash cans that need emptied. That doesn’t mean that if he sees something that needs to be done he doesn’t do it. I simply mean that it is not on his mental “to do” list.
Have I ever wished to be impacting the kingdom of Christ in other ways than just my home? Of course. Sometimes I get weary of being at home all of the time, but that is my problem not his. It’s usually because I have lost focus on how great my calling is to raise our four young children in a way that will make them good servants of Jesus. Sometimes it’s because I need a chance to be with some girlfriends for a good chat.
I am in the thick of teaching our children to work now that school is out. Our 8-year-old mows the yard, hangs up wash outside, folds some laundry, burns trash and many other things, our 6-year-old daughter hangs up laundry, washes dishes, brings the dirty laundry down, vacuums and dusts, our 4-year-old is responsible to empty the slop bucket, bring down dirty laundry, help fix his bed, and keep his clothes off the floor and into the wash hamper. Our 2-year-old thinks he’s so cool if he gets to help bring dirty laundry downstairs. But at this point he is only expected to help pick up toys at bed time. I hope that this teaches them to learn how to be responsible, do their work with cheerful attitudes, and it’s also raising a lot of relationship issues that we work on.
Maybe you think I am a door mat or that I have a really dead-beat husband. That is not the case. My husband is not totally uninvolved in what goes on here at home. He finds out how the children have behaved and he is involved in their training. Last week when I had a migraine headache because our 8-year-old had given me so much trouble with not wanting to help with the work, he took him aside when he got home and had a long talk with him about respecting Mom, and teaching him how Scripture says that if a man does not work he shall not eat. He set some consequences in place should our son give me that kind of trouble again. Thank the Lord his talk with him took care of the attitudes and behavior. He takes over for child discipline when he gets home. He listens to how I am feeling if I had a rough day and he will gladly pitch in and help with dishes, cleaning and vacuuming, helping the children do their chores and whatever needs done. Last week he was even on the floor beside our son helping potty train him while I made supper. He gladly sent me shopping alone this week while he trimmed bushes and mowed the yard and took care of our four children. He gladly helps, me but the area of housework is not his responsibility to see it gets done.
I try to make home a haven for him to come to after a long, hard day earning money for us. However, when I collapse he’s right there to pitch in. I have his support, I have his heart, and I know that I am well cared for in time of need.
I have watched some men who expect to come home and flop on the couch and sleep until supper is served. And then they only help with the children and the house if they are asked to. I hear their wives speak of being so tired all the time. That makes me sad. That would make me feel like I am solely in charge. Yes, I do need to make him aware sometimes of what needs done. Last week I was in tears because there was so much to do and I felt overwhelmed. I mournfully said, “I just can’t do it all around here.” He said, “I’m sorry, Honey, I think I’ve been oblivious to what you are talking about. You don’t have to do it all. Make up a list and I will help you.” I was so comforted. I made up a list of 27 things that I was feeling pressure to get done. On his day off he helped me tackle some of the things around this place.
I think we need to extend a lot of grace to each other and raising a family is a lot of sacrifice. I don’t have any hobbies that I am able to indulge in. He doesn’t either. We are involved in our church and he serves our Christian day school and we try to spend time with his family and mine. We are each a part of a small group—he has men’s group every other week and I have a women’s group. Here and there we do enjoy pleasures of a date, or going out for ice cream and pick-up team ball games every week with our church. At times I hope that there will come a day when I can do more things for myself, but then how selfish is that? I wonder is that what I’m really here for? What will I do with my time when our children are gone? Will I spend it in sacrifice?
As a young married couple, we see several of our married friends who are at a disagreement on this. Some of the husbands tell their wives that they’ll take care of the outside if the wife takes care of the inside. This is a huge problem where the wives are concerned. It seems as though the husbands take the more traditional views of cleaning and cooking, while the wives LONG for the more modern view. They both work full time jobs, but the wives have full time jobs doing chores and maintaining the household as well, while the husbands have a few hours of chores only on the weekends. Another husband who are friends of ours sees everything as “his” and “hers” messes, and their baby’s messes fall into the “hers” category. While I agree that people should pick up after themselves, if she makes dinner for everyone, he should help clear the dishes. Nope, it’s her mess—she needs to clean it up. And clean the baby, and highchair, and then give her a bath and clean all that up, then put her to bed—all while he watches TV. I’ve seen this create problems! I’m sure you can just imagine what kind of state their marriage is in. It just shows that you APPRECIATE the other person when you both pitch in.
I have to tell you though, my husband—completely irreplaceable. He has ALWAYS been amazing when it comes to chores, and during both of my pregnancies—he won’t even LET me lift a hand! I really couldn’t ask for a better husband—he completely serves our household in this capacity. It really does make our marriage better because it takes stress/pressure off of me, and at the same time shows me how committed he is to our family. Acts of service is first on my love language list—and I don’t know if he knows that—but he completely masters it. I’m SOOOO grateful!
I think this is great for wives who have husbands who help. However, for wives who have husbands who do not help, it can leave a bitter stench. I am blessed to have a husband who helps also; however, please include something next time for the wife that is over-burdened, feeling unloved, unappreciated!! I once felt that way and can empathize with them, but with prayer constant trust on God I can now say I am so proud that my husband does help. But to the woman that have husbands that do not and they are expected to do it all and teach their children how to do it, my heart aches for them.
The men are the leaders, role models and examples of the home and society. They should be the ones to start it first! It is not a woman’s job. Those wives who have husbands who help have no idea what these poor women go through!! This Marriage Memo can hurt and cause bitterness and envy in those women who do not have husbands who help. Please, please I ask that you be more sensitive!!!
I have been blessed with a wonderful husband. Of course, the total opposite of my first husband. The difference? The second is saved! He just does whatever he sees needs to be done. I don’t have to ask him to do anything. And now that I am home again, I am not behind so he doesn’t have to pick up the slack like he did when I worked for the past year! He doesn’t complain or hold it over my head! We are a team! We don’t undermine each other when it comes to the kids! He is in real estate and has an office at home and we work together on that as well. There are aspects that he doesn’t like to do, such as maintaining the website, writing remarks on the houses, etc., so I do those things.
He is a very loving, nurturing husband. And just because I am home, if he fixes something to eat, he cleans it up. He doesn’t leave a mess. If he sees me folding clothes and he walks by, even if I am not finished, he will take our things to the bedroom and put them up. Especially the things that need to be hung up so that they don’t wrinkle. He can iron his own shirt and does many times. But, I have been trying to keep several ironed at a time since I am home now so that he doesn’t have to worry about getting one ready every day. He wipes his bathroom counter and sink everyday when he gets finished getting dressed.
I did not grow up with this kind of teamwork, but I am so grateful that God has blessed me with it in my marriage and for my kids to see modeled. I try to get the kids to rinse out their dishes when they get finished eating. Of course, we are still working on that. My oldest one, who is turning 12 on the 27 of June does all the yardwork. He will initiate cleaning projects inside and out. He is not afraid to work and he is a perfectionist when he does any kind of work. The other day, he cleaned the back door and the storage room door in the garage with scouring pads and scrubbed the thresholds with a toothbrush. One day I took a nap on the couch and when I woke up he was cleaning out one of the kitchen cabinets. The first couple of weeks of summer, since I had worked for the past year, my house had gone to pot, but my oldest one and I cleaned the whole house, blinds, ceiling fans, baseboards, moved all the furniture in the house, flipped and vacuumed mattresses, etc. He hung right in there with me. He enjoys taking pride in the results and is not afraid to work and sweat to get the results.
I am very blessed with the husband and two boys that I have. I don’t know what to do when you don’t have this, I married wrong the first time (compromised) and all the prayer in the world did not change him. But, I know lots of people have seen change from prayer. It just didn’t break his will. But, I have been blessed with a wonderful second chance with the right husband for the past eight years. He treats my kids like they are his own. So, we both say in conversation OUR kids. He takes them to play golf and takes them to the park. He is intentional about getting that time in with them. He is awesome! He could teach marriage classes. We both made mistakes, so we don’t take each other for granted! I always dreamed of having the marriage that I have now. I went to church by myself in my first marriage of 11 years and used to just ache watching all these couples in church together. Never thought I would have it.
I was just reading some of the emails from families and thought I would send one as well. My husband is great with helping out. He owns a furniture delivery business (in which he and his business partner are the only employees) which he delivers very heavy furniture all over our state Monday through Friday. I stay home with our four young children and homeschool. He helps any way he can. Yard work, dishes, folding laundry, baths for the kids … God has worked this throughout our marriage. He says that his goal is to make my life easier since I have so much to do already. I am thankful that I have a husband who helps. I am truly blessed to have a helpful husband who sets a good example for our children.
I would first like to tell you how much your articles mean to me and my husband. FamilyLife came into my life during a particularly difficult time in our young marriage of three years (now four years) and completely “by accident.”
I was driving on the way to a conference one Monday morning and was running late. I had completely forgotten about the conference that morning until I got to work (hence the running late). I was wearing the wrong clothes, so I had to stop and buy something more appropriate on the way. It was a terrible morning, and I was sitting there thinking to myself why I had done something so out of character (i.e. forget something so important). But God had his plans.
As I flipped hopelessly through radio stations on my somewhat long drive, I came across the FamilyLife half hour on some station that I don’t even get in my city. Gary Chapman was a guest that day, and I remember my mind jumping into hyperdrive as he discussed the five love languages. When I got back from the conference, I introduced myself to FamilyLife.com, and I LISTENED to so many past radio episodes, and I brought things home for my husband to read. I bought For Men Only, and my husband and I liked it so much, I bought For Women Only. I signed myself and my husband up for all the weekly email articles. IT CHANGED OUR LIVES…and our marriage! I just want to thank all of you for everything you do. I’ll tell you what, I sure figured out why God had “helped” me to forget that conference.
Your article on the roles of wife and husband in household chores really struck a chord with me. It’s something my husband and I have been working on for a while. I read a lot of the responses people sent in, and I noticed that most of them are from couples with children and couples that have been together for many years.
We are in our late 20s and have been married four years. Both of us work and are, in fact, still in training, doing our residencies in veterinary medicine. It’s been a tough road getting this far in our training (and in our relationship), but I’m certainly so thankful to have my husband there as someone to brace myself on during the hard times as well as the good.
My husband and I both come from traditional families. Our mothers took care of the kids and did all of the inside stuff, while our fathers helped us learn sports and did the outside work. My dad didn’t even know how to operate a washing machine until a few years ago. My husband’s mother is a saint. She is the picture of what a wife and mother should be, as far as I can tell. She takes care of EVERYTHING and asks for nothing in return. Although my husband learned how to do his own laundry and take care of his house before I met him, I don’t think he ever had to worry about a thing so long as his mother was around. I, on the other hand, learned how to do all the inside work, but I was also my father’s shadow as a child. He taught me everything about working a farm and fixing cars and playing sports. No gender biases there.
Consequently, I LOVE to do outside stuff. But I also can’t stand a dirty house. So for a couple years when my husband and I first got married, I did many of the household chores as well as the outside stuff as well as keeping up with my education, balancing the budget, and paying the bills. After a while, I was so exhausted, I couldn’t take it anymore. I was forced to do something very unusual for me … ask for help. I think this was a blessing in disguise (a REALLY good disguise). The past couple years have been difficult as my husband and I have collided with each other on many issues, but I thank God that my husband has listened to my cries for help. I don’t think he realized before that how much I needed help … because I didn’t realize it myself. He has stepped up and started to help around the house, cleaning dishes, washing and folding laundry, vacuuming, paying the bills. In exchange, he has realized that he gets a happier wife … with more energy at night. On my end of the deal, I get more time outside, and I pay more attention to chores that I am best at, like balancing the budget. I am sure we will have to re-vamp things again when we start having kids, but at least we have laid the groundwork for working together and COMMUNICATING about what we need and how we can help each other.
One suggestion I have for couples struggling with these issues (that has really worked for us in the past year) is to write down the chores that need to be done and how much time it takes to do each one. These can be daily, weekly, monthly, or one-time chores. Post the list somewhere easily visualized (such as the refrigerator). Now everyone is “on the same page” about what needs to be done.
Then sit down together and make a plan for the week or month of when these chores will get done and who will do them. This may be something that can be done once or routinely. In our case, we routinely switch things up since we always have something different going on, and also I personally like variety in my day. I hate to do the same chores all the time, with few exceptions (like balancing the budget, which I consider a necessary evil). I find that if we stick to the plan which we mutually created, we both can pick some things we WANT to do and things that just NEED to be done (like cleaning the bathroom). The most difficult part of all this for me was explaining to my husband that SOMEONE has to do these things that no one really WANTS to do. If he decides that he won’t clean the bathroom just because he doesn’t want to, then he’s telling me that I have to do it whether I like it or not.
On my part, I had to relax my expectations and realize that it is not the end of the world if something is laid down and not put away by that evening. We established a three-day rule … if there are things which either one of us has left lying around for more than three days, then the other one can request that it be tended to. It took some effort for me to stop cleaning up after him, but after a week or two, I realized that my husband had really started paying attention to where he placed things, and there really wasn’t much out of place anymore. After we established what an “acceptable level of cleanliness” for our house is and got on the same page about it, we were both happier … and working TOGETHER.
It has been a bit of a struggle to reach some agreement on the subject of household chores, but finally I feel like we are making progress. Of course, it has taken many prayers and lots of encouragement from friends and family, but we are getting there. I can now see the light of being in it together, and what a beautiful light it is! I can’t even think about what it would be like to go through these spousal negotiations at the same time as balancing taking care of children. I am glad God has given us this time to be a family of two before we become a family of three or four. I think we are in the process of building a good foundation on which our children can grow.
After 43 years of marriage, I think a few lifelong experiences give me a little insight on the subject. The Bible starts off by stating the woman was created for a “helpmeet.” What are all the responsibilities for a helpmeet? Spiritual and physical existence that would be pleasing and acceptable to God.
Our marriage began with equal sharing of duties: who got home first started dinner and the other cleaned the kitchen. One dropped off for little league, the other picked up. One did the laundry, the other folded and put away (or supervised the kids). One purchased groceries, the other carried the packages inside and helped store in its proper place.
In these ever-changing times, I believe any true Christian (male or female) will not in good conscience expect their mate to do it all: all the cleaning, all the cooking, all the laundry, the child training and rearing. As a matter of fact, the Scripture says “train a child” (not Mother, train a child). The implication is on parents.
My wife and I make clear to each other what we will do to contribute to household chores. Being clear about what I will do takes away most of the potential for conflict. We are also flexible with each other; if I notice that she won’t have time to do something I will do it for her. She also does the same for me.
Here’s how I look at it. If I truly love my wife, I will have a desire to lighten her burden, whenever possible. So whenever I can I help her. I enjoy seeing her able to relax when she comes home. When I can I like to prepare supper for her. True love for my wife equals always her above me.
As the head of the family, I sat down with my wife and asked how I could help. My wife works 30+ hours a week outside of the home plus the full time work of the home plus two kids, 10 and 12. After all is said and done, we share duties on an as-needed basis. If she cooks, I clean and vice versa. We both wash and fold clothes, but that only occurs if we are really backed up because I don’t fold them right. Mopping, dusting, and vacuuming usually gets done by the family on Saturday mornings as a group effort. My son does the trash and he and I together do the outside chores. It seems to work pretty well. One note: I’m finding that more of my counterparts are doing more around the house as well if their wives work outside the home. Those households where the wife stays at home is naturally different.