I’m Tired of Being the Maid!

In every marriage, there’s an element of drudgery… It doesn’t really have anything to do with the relationship itself, it’s just a simple reality of most of our lives. Laundry has to be done, the lawn needs mowing, dishes need to be done, the floors need sweeping, and the list of chores just goes on and on and on…

It’s a hassle to take care of these things, but it’s even more irritating when you feel like all of the household responsibilities are falling on your shoulders, and your spouse isn’t lifting a finger to help. This unfair “division of labor” can lead to resentment, feeling overworked, undue stress, feeling overwhelmed with things to do, and a sense of nearly constant anger that your spouse is unwilling to help – even when you ask.

Do you feel like the maid?
Do you feel like the maid?

As if this weren’t enough of a problem, there’s even another downside – one person in the marriage feels like they’re doing all the work, and the other person feels like their constantly being nagged to help. Neither member of the relationship is happy in this scenario – though it’s safe to say that the person doing the disproportionate share of labor is “worse off.”

Now, we won’t pretend that some people don’t do this on purpose – specifically take advantage of their spouses so they don’t have to do much of anything around the house (or otherwise) – but this is less likely than the alternative, that they simply never sat down to discuss an effective division of labor. Instead, they’ve let assumptions and habits dictate how they handle household needs, and it has lead to a place of unhappiness and unfair division. This is largely the product of a lack of communication.

There may be some household responsibilities that you would rather do yourself, some that you simply do better than your spouse, and some that you don’t want to mess with at all – and all of that is just fine! Solving this problem involves taking stock of all the daily, weekly, monthly responsibilities that come with maintaining your household and lifestyle, and having an open discussion with your spouse about who’s going to do what.

The goal is to effectively divide things up so you both feel like the other is contributing their fair share, and everything is getting taken care of as needed. This could mean taking turns for some chores, combining efforts to get things done together, divvying up tasks for who’s best suited to handle them… or any combination of those options. You have to sort out what’s going to work best for you, and that starts with having the discussion in the first place.

If nothing else, you should be working together to make sure one of you doesn’t feel overburdened or taken advantage of.

For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!

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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com

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4 comments

rosered 8 years ago

I think of myself as a single mom. My closest friends and family know what's going on and understand why I feel that way and, I think, treat me accordingly (in a good way). It's hard, though, at work, where I feel as though people see me as a typical married parent: yeah, I have some extra responsibilities, but I have a husband to share them. But my husband doesn't share them. So I feel like I have to play a role (of person who is not breaking under the stress).

Lakyn 8 years ago

My husband doesnt do absolutely anything except go to work. And when hes at work hes not constantly busy. He comes home and cant help with anything. I ask him to do little things and it will take him two weeks to do it. Its getting ridiculous.

Mike_Olsen_SMN 8 years ago

Hi Rose - Then you need to sit down with your spouse and figure out a plan of sharing the duties. Even if you are a SAHM, you deserve a break too. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/important-problem/division-of-labor-yt/

Mike_Olsen_SMN 8 years ago

Hi Lakyn - My advice is the same as to Rose below. You need to both set expectations. https://www.strongmarriagenow.com/important-problem/division-of-labor-yt/