When two people live together and have different standards for cleanliness, frustration often ensues. Redbook magazine addresses this subject in this month’s issue in the article “We’re Constantly at War Over Chores.”
The article follows the couple Sally Cumberland and Paul Schmidt as they argue over when and how to do household chores. Expert Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., offers the couple sage advice throughout the article. Most of her advice is based on improving their communication:
“Sally and Paul have to sit down after the kids are put to bed and talk about what needs to get done,” Tessina explains. “For example, Paul should say, ‘Let’s create a solution about the pileup of newspapers in the front hall,’ and Sally needs to add, ‘I need you to appreciate all the things I did while you were at work instead of needling me for the things I didn’t do.’ This will ultimately take the criticism and accusations away and replace on-the-spot reactive fighting with a calm conversation.”
Sally and Paul will never quite see eye-to-eye about housework, but if they can learn to respect each other’s perspective, their marriage — and their house — will keep running smoothly for years to come.
At the end of the article, the couple admits that things have been better since they met with Dr. Tessina. Sally said:
“I feel relieved. We’ve always been too busy to talk to an expert, but it’s nice to hear a third party tell us that our issues aren’t so unusual.”
I agree that talking to a professional who can see the issues from a caring and outside perspective can do wonders for partners who are struggling with clutter issues in the home. Check out our previous articles for even more advice. And be sure to give the whole of the Redbook article a read!
Photo by Greg Ruffing for Redbook.