It's a dirty job but someone has to do it
According to the Domestic Drudgery Report compiled by Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance, 86 per cent of couples argue about household chores. Further to this, over a quarter of those surveyed (27 per cent) admitted that if their partner refused to pull their weight with housework, this alone could act as a trigger for separation or worse still, divorce.
The report indicates that over 2.5 million people who co-habit with their partner (32 per cent) have even considered employing hired help in a bid to save their relationship. However, as the credit crunch rolls on, outsourcing domestic chores will become less of an option for many.
To help stop housework doing the dirty on your relationship, Sheilas’ Wheels has teamed up with relationship psychotherapist, Paula Hall, to provide some top tips on how to manage those chores:
- Think of the bigger picture. Are you actually arguing about the housework, or does the problem stem from something else? Housework can be used as the battleground for relationship squabbles and more often than not, it’s used as a distraction from the real issue at hand. Put time aside to ascertain where the actual problem lies and how you can work through it as a couple.
- We all have different tolerance levels when it comes to what is an acceptable mess and what’s not. Make sure you sit down with your partner and agree on a standard that suits you both.
- Evaluate how the current household chores are divvied up. Bearing in mind your individual strengths and skills and the time you each have available, is it fair and evenly distributed? If not, rearrange them so you don’t feel that it’s too one-sided.
- Try starting up a housework lottery. Stick all the chores on separate pieces of paper, put them in a hat and randomly select a pre-agreed number of tasks to do. Some weeks you’ll get lucky, others you won’t!
- Transform housework from being an arduous chore into a game and award yourself prizes. Perhaps a long lie-in, a massage or having a meal cooked for you!
- Clean proof your house to reduce the housework load. Buy some storage boxes to de-clutter, put in laminate flooring, crazy pave the garden, drop the washing off at the laundrette. If all else fails, buy lots of candles - dust is far less visible by romantic candlelight!
- If you’re putting together a rota, make sure it’s drawn up co-operatively and not being dictated by one person only. Sit down with a glass of wine and talk over what needs to be done, when and who has the time to do it. Try and alternative tasks and responsibilities as much as possible.
Read the full Domestic Drudgery report 
- Sheilas’ Wheels used the independent online research company Fly Research which interviewed a random sample of 1,045 people in the UK who live with their partner aged 18+ between 3rd October and 6th October 2008. Interviews were conducted across the UK via an online questionnaire. Fly Research is an online market research company. Its researchers are members of the MRS and Esomar, and abide by their guidelines. Further information at www.flyresearch.com
- 2,536,572: based on 32 per cent of people in the UK who live with their partner (total: 7,926,789).
- The report was carried out by the Future Foundation (An Experian Company) who interviewed a random sample of 1005 adults aged 16+ by telephone in 2007. Interviews were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults.
Further information at www.futurefoundation.net