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How To Ask Your Partner For Help Around The House

This is a partnership.

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Nobody likes chores. And when it feels like you’re carrying the load of all the household chores for your family, including that of your significant other, it can become overwhelming. Before you get to the point of burnout and breakdown, it’s time to have a conversation and ask your husband or partner to help around the house.

I know what you’re thinking: Why should I even have to ask?

There’s a basic reason women are commonly put in the position of asking for help: roles and expectations. “Traditional gender roles have assigned household chores to women as women are expected to take care of the home while the man is expected to be the financial provider,” says marriage counselor Dr. Leslie Davis, Ph.D. However, home and family dynamics aren’t like they used to be, but for some, this mindset subconsciously lingers, leaving little relief for moms.

“This is actually a big issue in a lot of marriages,” relationship coach, Shay Levister, tells Romper.

Research shows that married mothers in the United States spend twice as much time on housework than married fathers. A 2019 study among heterosexual married couples showed that out of 12 household duties, including caring for the children and cleaning the house, women performed 30-50% more in seven of those categories: caring for the children, cleaning the house, preparing meals, washing dishes, grocery shopping, paying bills, and planning family activities.


For many, coming home is like entering their second job of the day.

Still, while some people crave help, they can also be a stickler for how things should get done. “It’s not unusual to see men avoid household chores because they know they won’t get it done the way their partner would want to get it done,” Davis tells Romper. The tug between wanting housework to be equally divided, but also micromanaging the process can make it harder for everyone. It’s a delicate balance.

Every family has different dynamics of who is expected to do what, but if you are constantly frustrated because your significant other isn’t sharing the load, there are a few different ways you can bring the lack of contribution to their attention while centering your common goal of teamwork and partnership.

The experts recommend a few things to help you get to the other side of the frustration.

How to ask your husband for help around the house

Discuss roles and expectations

Davis suggests this discussion happen before moving in together. But if you’re past that, it’s not too late to have that conversation. It’s an opportunity to consider the ideals that individually shaped you and if they were a product of what you saw growing up, what society taught you is proper, or what you truly want from your partner. “Understanding this foundation can help you identify why you may be feeling disappointed or frustrated when your partner is not helping in the way you expect them to help,” Davis says.

Create a plan and be specific

Dividing up responsibilities in a clear way relieves your burden and removes the ambiguity of who should be doing what and when.

One example is whoever isn’t cooking that night will clean the kitchen. Or, one parent walks the dog and feeds it while the other gets the kids ready. You should even talk about who does the laundry, who folds, who gets the groceries, and even what days you both agree to deep clean the house. Setting specific responsibilities allows you both to work together and minimizes stress. Whatever you come up with should be unique to your family dynamic.

Communicate outside of the chaos

Asking for help in the middle of your frustration can easily become a fight with your partner. “When you have two people dealing with their own frustrations that really can’t hear or see each other, then each person’s concerns become minimized,” Levister says. The best thing in a frustrating moment is to take a breather and revisit the issue when your emotions are less riled up. It allows you to focus on resolving the situation and not attacking your partner.

Don’t micromanage

“Be mindful that if you ask for help, don’t expect the chore to be completed the way you would do it.” Plainly put, Davis’ advice is to let go. If you want help, try not to pick apart how it gets done.

Be flexible

Some days are more chaotic than others, meaning you might need more help, or your significant other might just need to rest. In these moments give each other grace. There may be a time when he has to take on a bulk of the housework because you need a mental health day.

Also, be open to trading tasks. “Consider who completes a certain chore more efficiently or with less stress,” says Davis.

Once you both get into the healthy habit of asking each other for help when needed, and determining who is responsible for the day-to-day chores unique to your family, there should be more harmony and less tension.

Sources Interviewed:

Dr. Leslie Davis, Ph.D., LCPC, marriage counselor

Shay Levister, relationship coach, NLP, RTT

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