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My Spouse Won’t Do Their Share of the Housework! Part Two

Housewife working while her husband reading newspaper

Previously we examined the assumption that housework is drudgery and no one wants to do it. I left you with the thought that housework is powerful and has the capacity to make our lives miserable or enjoyable. Let’s take a look at the second assumption – Whoever has to do the housework is “low on the totem pole”, and the “slave” of the rest of the family.

In our culture we do not afford housework much status at all. Status is connected to our ability to survive. Lower status individuals are usually either disposed of first in a tough situation, or do not receive as much provision as individuals with higher status. These two scenarios show us that status is a life or death issue. I am not defending our cultural behavior, but I would like to point out that the importance of status is already in operation on a very basic level. Historically, housework has been a low status job, and beneath the dignity of “important” people to trifle with. The person who does the least amount of housework is the most important. Take a field trip to any frat house to observe this in operation. Or maybe you don’t need to go on a field trip because you and your spouse are playing “hot potato” with housework and spending a lot of time and energy fighting about keeping it fair. If this is what you are dealing with, what do you do to change it? Have you tried praising, using sex as a reward, withholding sex as punishment, demanding, threatening, not paying the bills, leaving food encrusted plates in the kitchen and smelly socks on the floor for weeks, and even filing for divorce? Well, if you’re ready to try something different, read on…

Jesus washed the feet of his disciples—something slaves typically did. Ghandi performed tasks that belonged to the lowest caste, like cleaning the latrines. Neither Jesus nor Ghandi became less important by serving others. They became unstoppable. Be the leader in your family by deciding to take care of your house. This is an act of love, not humiliation. The frightening specter of mountains of never-ending housework can change into a peaceful, enjoyable home that comforts you. The first step is deciding to take care of the housework, instead of letting it scare and overwhelm you. You can learn whatever you need to. You are stronger and more capable than you think. And you are not alone. I’m holding on to a better life for you. I know you can do this!