Posted: Jun 25, 2014 8:00 AM
Couples fight about sex, money and chores. We're leaving the first two alone — for today — with an ode to the end of the chore wars. Check out these guys who pull their weight at home and what their wives say about their secrets to dividing household chores — the right way.
Photo credit: shironosov / iStock / 360 / Getty Images

In 2011, couples across America confessed that some of their biggest arguments happened in the kitchen. And the living room. And the laundry room. Couples were fighting the who-does-what battle, and this was dubbed The Chore Wars. Since then, couples are choosing to cease fire and create a balanced household chore flow that meets everyone's needs — and that doesn't require armor!

Psychotherapist and relationship coach Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, has her own opinions about how to defuse this common marriage point of contention. She says, "Sharing household chores is a common problem for couples. Their participation is often lopsided because they have no discussion upfront, assumptions happen and patterns emerge, with one partner often carrying a heavier weight and/or ending up in the role of enforcer. The solution is to begin with a frank talk about how to share responsibilities, come up with a written and posted schedule that both agree on and one that rotates any chores that neither enjoys doing. If one partner is resistant, they can pay to have someone come in and handle their load or part of it."

Seven women share why The Chore Wars were so 2011 as far as their household is concerned.

Chore wars- Melissa Nielsen
Photo credit: Melissa Nielsen

Melissa Nielsen is a lover of chocolate, music and Sharpie markers, and shares her stories of navigating life with four kids and autism on her blog, Mama Mubba.

About defusing the chore wars, Nielsen says, "After nine years of marriage and four kids, we've figured out that the best way to handle a household is not by dividing things up, but by adding to each other's efforts. We have our responsibilities loosely categorized — I take care of dishes, he puts away laundry. He takes out the trash, I clean the bathroom. But our goal isn't to make sure that the other person does their work and we do ours. Our goal is to do what we can to keep the household running smoothly. And we recognize that sometimes this means we fill in where the other person falls short. For example, a few weeks ago, Matt was working full workdays and then working all night to finish some work for private clients. I did the laundry that week. And there are some weeks where our crazy schedule with the kids leaves me so tired by the end of the day that the dishes are the last thing I want to do. So he steps in and does them. If you approach chores with a desire to lessen the burden of your spouse, you will come out ahead. So, figure out what it is that your spouse absolutely hates to do, and do it for them. And hopefully your spouse will do the same thing for you."

Defusing the chore wars tip^ Add to each other's efforts!

Chore wars- Angie Lee

Angie Lee works in PR, editing and social media advertising. She's also the crafter and clever writer behind Seven Clown Circus and a mother of five.

About defusing the chore wars, Lee says, "My husband and I have a fabulous chore division system. It's worked wonders for years and keeps us both happy. I take care of the inside of the house, he takes care of the outside. Of course, we both pitch in if the other needs help with something in a pinch, but basically he's the king of his domain, and I'm queen of mine. He's smarter than me, though. He has a gardener. I'm the house cleaner. I might need to rethink this scenario!"

Photo credit: Angie Lee

Defusing the chore wars tip^ Divide and conquer!

Chore wars- Shell Roush
Photo credit: Shell Roush

When she's not breaking up wrestling matches, ducking Legos or running her boys to soccer practice, Shell Roush spills her thoughts on parenting, marriage and all things mom on her blog, Things I Can't Say.

About defusing the chore wars, Roush says, "My husband and I both work from home, so both of us are constantly trying to balance work and home. There aren't any chores (aside from the lawn — that's all my husband!) that we look at as belonging to one or the other of us. We've both become good at seeing what needs to be done and doing it when we get the chance. The most important thing I've learned is that my husband isn't a mind reader. I can't silently seethe because he isn't helping clean up the family room when we have company due over soon. I need to actually speak up and ask for his help. Slamming the dishes around and muttering under my breath won't get his help cleaning up the kitchen, but asking him to help out (or do it on his own) will work.

Defusing the chore wars tip^ Ask for help!

Chore wars- Kari Wagner Hoban
credit: Kari Wagner Hoban

Kari Wagner Hoban writes at A Grace Full Life, which is a mix of DIY on the cheap and life with children and a husband, all written with sarcasm and humor.

About defusing the chore wars, Hoban says, "Mike has worked long hours for most of our married life. Since having a second child six years ago, he noticed that I needed more help with chores around the house. It wasn't even a conversation. He just stepped up and started helping. Over the course of that time, there began this unspoken routine. On his day off, he asks me what needs to get done around the house before going and doing any of his projects. It works completely, and I wouldn't be able to be the mom I am to my girls without his support."

Defusing the chore wars tip^ Make helping each other a given!

Chore wars- Avital Norman Nathman

Avital Norman Nathman is a freelance writer, blogs at The Mamafesto and is the editor of The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality.

About defusing the chore wars, Nathman says, "There's no trick or secret that we use other than just talking. My husband and I have been together 15 years now, and we made sure to communicate and let each other know how the other felt about household chores. Leaving resentment to fester only makes things worse. Thankfully our cleaning styles complement each other. I love cooking, and he gets a kick out of doing dishes. We chip in and split deep cleans and outside chores. Whoever remembers takes out the trash. We each do our own laundry, though, however, so there's nobody to pester me when I leave it clean but unfolded for a week!"

Photo credit: Avital Norman Nathman

Defusing the chore wars tip^ Keep the dialogue open!

Chore wars- Sarah Geurts Millar
credit: Sarah Geurts Millar

Sarah Geurts Millar is the managing editor at Mamalode — a magazine, website and movement that creates connections through authentic, gutsy stories about parenthood.

About defusing the chore wars, Millar says, "My husband and I discovered early on in our relationship that cooking is not my strong suit. Don't get me wrong, I can make a mean batch of scrambled eggs, although I'll burn the toast while tending to the stove. Spices are a foreign language to me, and I'm not sure how people cook without a recipe. Because of this, my husband has become the primary chef in our house. He knows how to whip up an amazing meal with just a few ingredients and an idea. I’ve learned to give him space in the kitchen, and I've picked up chores that make our house feel tidy and sane: organizing, vacuuming, food shopping. It’s a give-and-take, and we've found that if you're doing chores that you like, it doesn’t feel like a chore."

Defusing the chore wars tip^ Play to your strengths and — willingly — pick up the chores that suit you!

Chore wars- Mandy BrasherPhoto credit: Mandy Brasher

Mandy Brasher's blog is a collection of irreverent and somewhat useless rants on being a writer and living as a human.

About defusing the chore wars, Brasher says, "The secret to dividing household chores took us a few years to uncover. Back when I was a stay-at-home mom and the hubs was bringing in the bacon, we assumed the roles of Mr. and Mrs. Cleaver. Then I became tired and a little bitter. After a few fights about why my husband couldn't smell the garbage and take the initiative to carry it outside, he enlightened me: 'I don't notice when chores need to be done, so just make me a list.' Hence, the Saturday chore list was born, and we split chores the way we split a ham sandwich — equally and in half. Or in cute little quarters."

Defusing the chore wars tip^ Assume the best!

More on marriage

Should you separate or combine finances?
Expert: Wedding cake predicts marriage longevity
40 Beads and a jump start to your marriage