7 Tips For Getting Your Sweetheart To Do Chores
– Without Nagging
I spent last year test-driving every piece of advice I could find about how to be happy. I discovered some great strategies for boosting my happiness, and I learned quite a lot about myself, as well. One thing I realized was that a source of unhappiness in my life was my nagging. And my husband wasn’t a big fan of my nagging, either.
In marriage, or any partnership, chores are a huge source of conflict. But how do you get your sweetheart to hold up his or her end, without nagging? Here are seven strategies that worked for me:
• It’s annoying to hear a hectoring voice, so suggest tasks without words. When my husband needs a prescription filled, he puts his empty medicine bottle on the bathroom counter. Then I know to get it re-filled. Also, if you need to voice a reminder, limit yourself to one word. Instead of barking out, “Now remember, I’ve told you a dozen times, stop off at the grocery store, we need milk, if you forget, you’re going right back out!” Instead, call out, “Grocery store!” or “Milk!”
• Don’t insist that a task be done on your schedule. “You’ve got to mow the yard today!” Says who? Try, “When are you planning to trim the hedges?” If possible, show why something needs to be done by a certain time. “Will you be able to mow the yard before our party next week?”
• Remind your partner that it’s better to decline a task than to break a promise. My husband told me that he’d emailed some friends to tell them we had to miss their dinner party to go to a family dinner—but he hadn’t. Then I had to cancel at the last minute. Now I tell him, “You don’t have to do it. But tell me, so I can it.”
• Do it yourself. I used to be annoyed with my husband because we never had cash in the house. Then I realized: why did I get to assign that job? Now I do it, and we always have cash, and I’m not annoyed.
• Settle for a partial victory. Maybe your partner won’t put dishes in the dishwasher, but getting the sticky bowls from the family room into the sink is a big improvement.
• Don’t push for the impossible. My husband knows that there’s no way I’ll do anything relating to our car, so he doesn’t even ask.
• Think about how money might be able to buy some happiness. Could you find a teenager to trim the hedges? Could you hire a weekly cleaning service? Could you buy prepared foods? Eliminating conflict in a relationship is a high happiness priority, so this is a place to spend money if it can help.
Gretchen Rubin is a writer working on THE HAPPINESS PROJECT—an account of the year she spent test-driving every conceivable principle about how to be happy, from the wisdom of the ages to current scientific studies, from Aristotle to Ben Franklin to Martin Seligman.
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