Dividing up family chores between husband and wife.
What’s the leading cause of divorce?
Most people would likely cite sexual infidelity or arguments over money as the No. 1 reason. But according to a recent report that would not be the case.
After analyzing 350 divorce cases the British law firm Gateley reports that seven out of 10 divorces occur because of disputes over who does what household chores.
In the Henley household, the chore list has been divided into the categories of “his,” “hers” and “ours.”
My hard-working bride, Nancy, does more than her fair share of household tasks. Although I can make a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I leave the cooking to my spouse. Fortunately for me, cooking is something she not only excels at, but enjoys doing.
Another of my wife’s almost exclusive jobs is bookkeeping. Unlike cooking, it’s not a job she enjoys. However, not only does she have an amazing knack for making sure the lights stay on, she can stretch a limited budget like few others.
Sewing is another task she is more than proficient at, whether it’s sewing a button on one of my shirts, or mending a damaged stuffed animal. The woman could have been a surgeon.
There are any number of chores that we will do together. When it comes time to paint the house, Nancy will be right out there alongside me. Dishes are a tag-team event, with me normally washing and my bride drying. While Nancy frequently does the vacuuming, I do it often enough that I at least remember how to turn it on without consulting the owner’s manual.
On my side of the chore ledger is mowing. Nancy’s reason for not mowing is that she doesn’t have the strength to start the mower. While I’d be happy to start the mower for my wife, it’s an offer I don’t make considering all she does.
Another of my jobs is keeping the gutters clean, although a case could be made that it’s a chore that belongs in the “our” category since Nancy will frequently come out and hold the ladder while I’m scraping out leaves in varying states of decay. (Yuck!)
Another of my jobs around the house is keeping the car’s exterior clean. I’ve been particularly diligent about this task since we got a newer car earlier this year. I do my best to make sure our white car stays, well, white.
My car-cleaning efforts used to be focused on our other car, which is gray. However, since I rarely drive the gray car, I decided to leave the responsibility for keeping it clean to its primary driver, my teen-age daughter, Anna.
Anna has little enthusiasm for this chore. In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of any household chore she performs without some degree of grumbling. My mother, God rest her soul, would probably tell you the same thing was true about me when I was 16.
Frequently after washing “Whitey,” I’ll ask Anna if she would like me to leave the hose out so she can wash the gray car, knowing full well what her answer will be.
Because the gray car sits outside full time, it is subject to everything that combines to make a clean car dirty. It doesn’t help that the gray car is frequently parked beneath a tree.
While Nancy will periodically help by cleaning Whitey’s interior, normally she doesn’t touch a car’s exterior. That pattern changed recently. Nancy confessed that on one spring-like day last week she got a container of water and washed the gray car.
“I just got tired of looking at all the bird crap,” she said.
The only problem was Nancy’s arms weren’t quite long enough for her to reach the middle of the car’s roof, giving it an almost skunk-like appearance.
Maybe that’s how car washing became a “his” chore at our house in the first place.