When your spouse is responsible for the lion’s share of the laundry and cleaning, it’s bound to create resentment and hinder your connection. In fact, a 2015 study from the University of Alberta found that couples who didn’t split chores had less relationship satisfaction and less sex than couples who divvied up their chores.
As Howes has seen firsthand, the question of who’s tidying up may not be a big issue at the start of a relationship but it tends to become a major point of contention later on.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re the clean one or the messy one, what matters is whether or not the clean partner can flex and the messy partner can clean up once in a while,” he said. “Resentments can build over time so it pays to have an honest discussion about your priorities regarding the orderliness of your home.”
Thoughtful, engaging communication ― not just “how was your day, babe?” and “what are our plans this weekend”? ― is essential for love to last, said Liz Higgins, a Dallas, Texas-based couples therapist who works primarily with millennials.
“Having intentional conversations about your relationship means asking deeper, more open-ended questions: ‘What did we do well at as a couple today?’ ‘What is something I did today to contribute to our relationship?’ ‘What is something I can do for you?’ ‘When did you feel the most connected with or loved by me today?’” Higgins explained.
Broaching these kinds of conversations may feel a little awkward at first, but over time, you’ll see the value.