Sharing a space with another person is difficult, and roommate issues can cause relationship issues. If you and your significant other are struggling to get along because of trivial disagreements over chores and responsibilities, the easiest way to solve the issue is to outsource the work. Keep your relationship healthy and thriving by eliminating the underlying conflict long enough to arrive at a constructive solution.
Death by a thousand paper cuts
Researchers say that a significant portion of relationship issues stem from trivial matters like chores and social media. According to research, the division of household chores is one of the top three most important factors for a successful marriage.
Solve one issue at a time
Unhappy couples tend to drag out multiple offenses during an argument, complaining about everything and resolving nothing. Relationship expert John Gottman recommends that couples discuss one issue at a time, identifying problems or topics that come up over and over again and separating them into common threads. Once the issues are isolated, it’s easier to propose reasonable solutions.
Address any underlying values
It’s harder to solve an argument about laundry when the bedrock issue is a basic philosophical concept. Each partner comes into the marriage with preconceived notions about power and control as well as what the concept of family or home means to them. Delve into the issue to discover if there is an underlying value that will preclude the couple from agreeing without one or both parties resenting the outcome.
Agree on reasonable solutions
Once you’ve identified perpetual issues, you can present non-judgmental solutions. For example, you discover that a recurring relationship issue is caused by one partner bearing the brunt of house cleaning tasks. The key is to keep the argument compartmentalized to the task, not placing blame or declaring victory. Removing the task from your chore list is an effective way to resolve the conflict without solving the problem, but beware allowing the unresolved anger to leak over to the money involved. Both parties must agree that they’re willing to invest to solve the problem.
Solutions could include outsourcing
Agreeing to fix the problem without placing blame can prevent future arguments on the same subject. For example, if one partner feels that they don’t have enough free time, or wants more time as a couple, then the solution might be to hire a laundry service, lawn maintenance, or automated bill paying to free up weekends. Investing in a maintenance service allows both parties more hours of leisure time to pursue a hobby or spend more time together. The key is that both partners must agree that the monetary investment is in their relationship rather than harboring resentment about the need to outsource the task.
Living with a spouse or partner is challenging. When two people share a home and split responsibility for chores, there are bound to be disagreements. Every marriage is worth an investment to keep both parties content. Find the chore that feels lopsided and discuss outsourcing it to level the playing field.
Outsourcing the task might not be the right long-term solution for every couple, but it could allow those in therapy enough of a breather to set aside blame and reset expectations.