AGP MARRIAGE SERIES WEEK 3 {Duty Calls: You Wash, I’ll Dry}

I wanted to do a post on a bit of a lighter note this week! In this AGP Marriage Series post we will be talking about house duties and how to talk about dividing up responsibilities around the house. This sounds like a silly topic, but for Kevin and I, it was one of the hardest things our first year of marriage! Kevin and I didn't live together before we got married so not only were we trying to figure out how to be married our first year, we were also figuring out how to live together. So let's dive in! 

Our friends and photography mentors Justin & Mary Marantz in the past have used the phrase, "you wash, I'll dry." I know they didn't come up with it, but I think it is great. I love this phrase because it is a gracious way of talking about something that no one wants to talk about. House chores! You wash, I'll dry signifies splitting up the work and doing it together. Over the past 2 years of being married, Kevin and I have figured out what we don't mind doing in terms of house duties and what we would definitely rather not do. For us, that means that normally I will cook dinner and Kevin will do the dishes after we eat. This doesn't always happen because sometimes he has small group, or I have a networking dinner, but generally that is the rhythm we have fallen into.

As far as cleaning the other parts of the house, I absolutely hate cleaning the bathroom. It makes me nauseous and I can't handle it! Therefore, Kevin takes care of that wonderful duty and I clean the kitchen, dust around the house, vacuum, and do all the laundry. Our first year of marriage, we didn't talk about any of that so each of us assumed that the other person would take care of the house duties. This is the most common mistake!! You need to COMMUNICATE with your spouse about these things, even though they are small and seem silly. Your spouse probably had a different routine of cleaning, cooking, etc before you got married. It caused conflict for us our first year which could have been avoided if we had discussed what we would not mind doing/what we hated cleaning more than anything. 

 You can buy these cute towels on   Tulle La La   if you need a reminder to work together as a team!

You can buy these cute towels on Tulle La La if you need a reminder to work together as a team!

One thing I wanted to mention in this post is picking your battles. There are some habits that your spouse has potentially had for the past 5-15 years that will be hard to break. And they might not ever break from these habits. For Kevin, it is taking off his clothes and leaving them on the floor, on the dresser, or leaving his shoes by the front door instead of in the closet. These things drive me crazy!! It took me many months to realize that nagging is the furthest way to a person's heart, especially a mans heart. Repeatedly telling Kevin to put his shoes away and put his clothes away wasn't worth the battle. Kevin isn't trying to hurt me or annoy me by leaving these things out, it is just his first instinct. This means two things. One, SHOW GRACE! Sometimes this means I will put the shoes or clothes away for him, or only remind him when it starts to pile up. That way, I am not nagging him everyday and causing silly fights. I have learned to be okay with the small amounts of clutter knowing I would rather spend time cuddling with Kevin watching Netflix then getting in a fight over putting things away. I know this may seem like a long crazy rant, BUT I have learned that letting it go and picking your battles is one step to a stronger, healthier marriage. 

I know one thing that is frustrating for Kevin that I do in regards to cleaning is the way I load the dishwasher. Again, doesn't seem like a big deal, but since he is the one doing the dishes most of the time he cares about it being efficient. I have learned that since Kevin cares about how it is loaded, that is a reason for me to do it differently. We both want to have a clean house and kitchen and to make this happen you have to talk through the way things get done. Even if your spouse's Love Language isn't acts of service, your spouse will still feel loved if you go above and beyond in this area. And don't forget to say THANK YOU to your spouse whenever they do something around the house that you are thankful for. This goes a long way!

Now let's hear from a few other married couples about how they divey up the house duties!  I asked each couple what they do for a living because this can affect who does what around the house as well. I love reading these because everyone does things so differently! We can all learn from each other.


KEVIN & BETHANY

What do you do for a living? What does your spouse do for a living?
I am a RN and Kevin is a project manager. 

If you lived together before you were married how long did you live together before the wedding?
We never lived together before we got married. When people say, "you really know who someone is when you live with them," thing is totally true! 

Who is the chef in the house? What is one of your favorite dishes to share together?
Kevin is the chef; he is so talented in the kitchen. Becoming a chef is his backup plan if his full times job doesn't work out. I cook about three dishes, so anything he cooks is amazing and usually creative. I'm really jealous but also thankful for his kitchen skills! 

How do you divide up chores around the house? Who cleans what? Who does the laundry?
Kevin: Bethany does the laundry because I hate doing laundry. She is the best wife in the world. Bethany: We travel A LOT so sometimes it is just who is home. We try to keep everything neat and put away so its not a stressor, but I am super OCD about a clean house. I'm trying to let that go.

Do you have a pet? If so, how do you decide who walks the dog?
We have a black lab that is 8 months old named Meara. We both walk her equally. Again, it depends on who is home at the moment but we like to do walks together in the evening if we can. 

What is one thing your spouse does around the house that makes you feel loved?
Kevin: She does my laundry. The house always looks perfect when I come home from a trip. Bethany: I think a neat house gives you a clean slate and helps eliminate stress. I like the house to be clean for both of us so we are more productive. I work at the hospital two days a week but the other days, I am a nurse educator and have to work from home at times. Kevin works from home when he is not on the road. Clean house=productive employees and happy spouses. 

What is one of your favorite things about living together?
Bethany: I like hanging out with him and enjoy doing the mundane with him. I didn't realize how funny he was until we were married and living together. He makes everything fun, even house chores. Kevin: I love that i always have a friend to come home to. 

What is a tip or piece of advice you would give to newly married couples on the best ways to decide who does what around the house?
Bethany: I say choose to do the chores you can tolerate or what you're best at. I wish we had more traditional roles but I can't cook; unless you want a sandwich or pad thai, I got nothing. I actually like laundry and we both empty the dishwasher (because that is the worst chore ever) and whoever cooks (Kevin) doesn't have to clean the dishes. Kevin: Compromise, that's really the only thing. Have the self-awareness to know if you're the messy one and make the effort to tidy up. Bethany and I had to learn to communicate about what bothers us in living together; she hates clutter and I live in it so, communicate.  


DOUG & KATE

What do you do for a living? What does your spouse do for a living?
I am a Student/Administrative Assistant and Doug is a teacher.

If you lived together before you were married how long did you live together before the wedding?
1.5 years

Who is the chef in the house? What is one of your favorite dishes to share together?
Doug is the chef and my favorite dish he makes is sweet potato stir fry.

How do you divide up chores around the house? Who cleans what? Who does the laundry?
Doug cooks, I clean, we do our own laundry, but obviously we each help the other when needed.

Do you have a pet? If so, how do you decide who walks the dog?
Yes, our dog Maggie. We both walk her every day.

What is one thing your spouse does around the house that makes you feel loved?
When Doug cooks & brings home flowers!

What is one of your favorite things about living together?
Feeling constantly supported and knowing that I have someone to lean on. 

What is a tip or piece of advice you would give to newly married couples on the best ways to decide who does what around the house?
Talk honestly about what you like and dislike in terms of chores, figure out what works best for each of you individually and as a couple, and divide accordingly. Remember to factor in work/school schedules and help one another as needed. If he's had a hard day and it's his turn to walk the dog, do it for him. Small acts of compassion go a long way. 


MICHAEL & KATRYNA

What do you do for a living? What does your spouse do for a living?
I am a School based Administrator (Instructional Coach)/Michael is a 6th grade social studies teacher.

If you lived together before you were married how long did you live together before the wedding?
2 years

Who is the chef in the house? What is one of your favorite dishes to share together?
Neither! 

How do you divide up chores around the house? Who cleans what? Who does the laundry?
Michael cleans the house (vacuum, dust); we iron/clean/wash our own clothes; we share grocery shopping, pet walking; I pay the bills. 

Do you have a pet? If so, how do you decide who walks the dog?
Two dogs! Pet walker midday, Michael walks them at dinner time, and we walk them together at night. Family walk! 

What is one thing your spouse does around the house that makes you feel loved?
Randomly makes me dinner or picks up something I love for dinner. 

What is one of your favorite things about living together?
When we dance and sing in the kitchen together. 


NICK & MARY

What do you do for a living? What does your spouse do for a living?
I am a project manager and Nick is a store team leader at whole foods market.

If you lived together before you were married how long did you live together before the wedding?
1.5 years

Who is the chef in the house? What is one of your favorite dishes to share together?
Mary! We both love this sausage, bean, and kale soup with cheesy bread that I make a lot in the winter months.

How do you divide up chores around the house? Who cleans what? Who does the laundry?
We both do our own laundry. Nick takes out the trash and takes care of all the handy projects and is usually the vacuumed. Mary Is usually in charge of the kitchen and bathrooms.

Do you have a pet? If so, how do you decide who walks the dog?
Yes! Mary does the morning shift and Nick usually does the evening shifts. When we are home during the day together we like to take her on family walks.

What is one thing your spouse does around the house that makes you feel loved?
He's so handy! I never have to worry about changing a light bulb or fixing a running toilet. I'm horrible at that stuff so it's great to know nick can take care of it.

What is one of your favorite things about living together?
I love always having someone to talk to about a good day, a bad day, anything really. I can remember now lonely I felt at times when I was single and I never have to feel like that again! It's also great knowing he's there to help take care of thing s around the house. It's a lot of work keeping up a household!

What is a tip or piece of advice you would give to newly married couples on the best ways to decide who does what around the house?
I think it's definitely something to talk about. And it's really important to make sure both have a big hand in helping out or it could cause someone to resent the other. It's important to let him or her do things a little different than you would. I struggled with that and had to learn to let it go and learn that not everything has to be the exact way I'd do it. 


CHUCK & LEAH

What do you do for a living? What does your spouse do for a living?
I am a Product and Graphic Designer at M-Edge International where we design accessories for consumer electronics. My husband is a Financial Advisor.

If you lived together before you were married how long did you live together before the wedding?
About 3 years

Who is the chef in the house? What is one of your favorite dishes to share together?
We both take turns cooking, but I would say Leah does a majority of the cooking since Chuck tends to work later in the evening. One of our favorite meals to make together is chili since it requires so much team work with the chopping!

How do you divide up chores around the house? Who cleans what? Who does the laundry?
The chores in our household are divided pretty evenly. Specific chores aren't designated to a specific person, we just do them whenever we can, or need to. When we need to tidy up the entire house, for example guests visit or spring cleaning, we usually divide and conquer. Chuck typically vacuums and does the bathrooms, while Leah cleans the kitchen and living areas. Our least favorite is cleaning the litter box so we battle that one out ;)

Do you have a pet? If so, how do you decide who walks the dog?
Yes, we have pets but no dogs, we have two cats! They don't need walking, but they do need their litter box cleaned (which we take turns cleaning). We plan to get a dog when we have a larger house with a yard, so we will be able to just let him/her outside.

What is one thing your spouse does around the house that makes you feel loved?
Empty the sink to clean the dishes and kitchen! It feels so good to have a clean kitchen or clean the litter box, because that's the worst!

What is one of your favorite things about living together?
We love getting to be together when we aren't at work. You spend all day missing your loved one, then you get to go home and spend the rest of your time with them. Going to sleep and waking up together is a refreshing feeling. Starting your day and ending your day with your loved one feels great! 

What is a tip or piece of advice you would give to newly married couples on the best ways to decide who does what around the house?
Rock, paper, scissors, best of 3... Just kidding. (But really, sometimes that does help). My serious advice would be to be selfless and do it because it's your home as much as it is your spouse's home. Don't be lazy. If you're lazy about the little things, like chores, then the laziness transfers over to other aspects of life. In my house, we don't have a who-does-what, it's just what needs to be done and we are a team. I would say, most importantly, though, don't keep count of who does what how many times! If it becomes an issue, then have a conversation about how you would like some help.  


Thanks for reading! Now go do the dishes. Just kidding! But talk to your spouse about things you do that make them tick around the house and ways you could better serve each other.