By a show of hands…who likes to do household chores? Anybody? Cooking, grocery shopping, dishes, laundry, vacuuming, bathroom cleaning, folding clothes, kid duties, dusting…anybody? I sure don’t like chores, and I’m guessing most of you don’t either. What is interesting is that in most families, the large majority of this responsibility list above is handled by the wife. Why is that exactly?
If you look back 40-50 years, you’ll see families that were starkly divided in their roles. The husband worked a 9-5 job. The wife stayed at home and took care of the house. It was simply the way it was then. We now live in a different time though. In many, if not most, families BOTH people are employed full time. If the wife is working outside the house, then why is she still expected to take care of everything at home? I believe it is simply tradition that has passed along role expectations, but in reality there is not as much necessity for it as there used to be.
There are still plenty of families though where the wife DOES work at home. When this is the case, sure…it probably makes sense for the wife to take care of the majority of these. But, I feel if a husband leaves all these things to his wife to take care of, he is missing out on a big opportunity to show her love. Just like men don’t like doing these types of chores, for the most part, women probably don’t like it either. A great way to show your wife love would be to surprise her by helping out.
How great would your wife feel if…
- You stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work and got the food you need to make dinner and told her not to worry about dinner because you have it covered.
- While she was out of the house you cleaned all the floors and bathrooms
- After dinner you told her to go do whatever she wants while you take care of the dishes.
Small things like this don’t take a lot of effort. They simply take a little planning and an intentional act to do something for your wife.
It’s Good to Have a Plan:
Every couple of years, Julia and I sit down and discuss responsibilities. I feel it is important to have expectations of who will be the one responsible for certain chores on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean the other person can’t help out sometimes, but we like knowing who the responsibility ultimately falls to. For example, I am responsible for taking out the trash, taking care of the yard, doing the dishes, and cleaning the bathrooms. Julia is responsible for planning the meals, cooking, laundry, and taking care of Eli (when I’m at work). When I’m off work, we split Eli duties. We also vacuum as needing splitting it between who is able to. At least that is our plan. Julia often cleans the bathrooms though, and I often cook dinner. We have a standing rule that whoever cooks, the other person cleans up. It works pretty well, but sometimes I try to sneak in and do both!
If your wife is “falling behind” on her duties, don’t nag her about them, pitch in to help out! A few months back, Julia started working part time outside of the house, and her schedule got a lot busier. As a result some of the things she was always on top of at home fell behind a little. One was laundry. It wasn’t because she was lazy or not motivated, she just didn’t have the same amount of time to keep tabs on the levels of my clothing drawers, which is understandable. I would get to the end of white shirts or socks and not have any more to wear. At first I was a little frustrated. I didn’t want to be the “Woman, clean my clothes!” type of guy, so I just re-wore shirts and waited until she got around to it. After a while, I realized that I wasn’t having a Godly attitude about it. So, I decided that when I ran out of something, I wouldn’t nag her about it, and I wouldn’t stew about it quietly, I just cleaned them myself. Not with an attitude of, “I can’t believe you’re making me do this” but one of, “this is a great way I can show her love!” Of course a simple, “hey Babe, I’m almost out of whites…do you think you would be able to do a load in the next couple days?” would have been fine. But, I wanted to take it one step farther and help out.
My Challenges for You:
- Don’t be a caveman and expect your wife to do it all. Don’t fall back on the old, “laundry isn’t my spiritual gift” excuse. Learn to do EVERYTHING. You may not be the one who has to cook or clean on a regular basis, but I think all men should know HOW to. What if your wife is sick? Are you going to remind her that you are out of clean socks between her trips to the toilet to throw up? What if she’s out of town? Are you going to expect her to pre-cook meals for you before she leaves? If you can learn to do these things, it will make things so much easier on your wife and will be an opportunity to show her love.
- If you don’t already have one, sit down with your wife to discuss a plan of who will be responsible for which chores. Even if she is a stay-at-home mom, don’t assume she should be responsible for everything. Come up with expectations of who will do what. Make sure you’re participating, and as you go along, make it a point to help out with “her” jobs whenever you have the chance.