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Getting your partner to help around the house

To be in a healthy relationship means to participate in an equal partnership; this equality must encompass all aspects of the relationship. This includes housework.

It is unfair when all of the household chores fall to one person. It can be especially frustrating when you ask for help with the housework, and your partner is unwilling or won’t do their equal share.

Some couples may feel that they need to seek the expertise of a relationship therapist to help guide them through issues like this. Remainly specialises in providing guided videos with expert advice on how you can improve your relationship.

Communicating how you want to move forward is essential. Here, we discuss the best ways to get your partner to help you with the housework.

Encourage collaboration

Try to avoid being accusatory as this will only distance your partner and may make them feel more irritated at having to participate in household chores.

Instead, use language that inspires collaboration; ask questions about how you can both do housework more efficiently.

Don’t be too critical

If your partner is reluctant to help out, they may be sensitive to any feedback or criticisms you have about how they do things. Some people will weaponise feedback and use your criticisms as an excuse to get out of doing work.

They may have the mindset that if they cannot do it to your standards, then their help is not really welcome and they should just leave it up to you instead.

To combat this kind of thinking, limit your criticisms and try to recognise that your standards are your personal preferences; everyone will go about a task in slightly different ways.

Don’t impose your exact method of doing things, but instead suggest how things could be done to make tasks easier for both of you in the future. It is better to make suggestions rather than demands.

A couple hugging

Make a plan

Sit down together and draw up a plan of who does what and when. Make sure that this reflects an amount of work that you both agree is appropriate for the other to be doing.

Your strategy and plan must be tailored to you as a couple. It will depend on the amount of time each person has and should be flexible in case things change during the week.

Flexibility does not mean that one person is always picking up the slack, but rather, chores be spread evenly and redistributed when someone cannot keep to the schedule.

Setting up a routine can also be helpful in this respect. If your partner knows they are meant to be doing a task at a certain time, they will expect it and not feel irritated when you ask them to do it for the first time.

Set expectations together

If you both set your expectations for how clean you want your house or how often you need to vacuum, this will help get you on the same page.

If you both understand what the expectations are, then they are more likely to be met. If your partner does less housework than you, it may be that they just do not feel things need to be done as regularly as you do; they may not be totally unwilling.

Be specific in your requests and expectations as they are more likely to be met if you ask for specific things rather than asserting that your partner never does anything.

A couple holding hands

Express your feelings

Instead of getting angry at your partner, communicate that you have been hurt. Anger will bring out defensiveness, while your expression of hurt can inspire change because you are not assigning blame.

Try telling your partner why you feel like they aren’t doing enough and how that affects you.

Appreciate your partner

Appreciate the things your partner does do and let them know when you feel like their actions show you have been listened to. Being positive and complimenting your partner on a job well done can help encourage this kind of behaviour to become a regular pattern.  

It is also okay to ask for that same appreciation back; make sure your partner knows that you want to be acknowledged for all the work you have done and continue to do.

If this has resonated with you, then Remainly can help you further improve your relationship. Our library of pre-recorded videos from expert couples therapist Andreas L Narum guides you through the solutions to the problems you are facing. For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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