Honey Do or Honey Don't - How Cleaning Affects a Marriage

Honey Do or Honey Don't - How Cleaning Affects a Marriage

Ken Arnswald |

Cleaning the house is one of the tedious adult tasks that most just don’t enjoy. In marriage, the task can cause more stress than most other things. Often a person will marry someone who is not as disciplined about cleaning or has different definitions about what clean looks like. This can quickly become more stressful than it needs to be. The good news is you don’t have to let cleaning ruin your marriage with these tips to make cleaning in marriage work for both people! 

Make Cleaning in Marriage Work for Both People

Have an Honest Conversation About Expectations

One of the biggest roadblocks to keeping both parties happy is an unmet expectation. As two different people, you probably come from two very different cleaning backgrounds. One may not be able to go to bed without the dishes done while the other may not be able to feel the house is clean until the floors are mopped. These expectations can quickly lead to frustration if the other partner does not see things the same way. Here are a few tips for talking about cleaning expectations with your spouse.

  • What item is your must? - Everyone has their one item that is a must for the house to be clean. It might be that the laundry needs to be washed and put away. It could be that the tub needs to be washed well. Maybe it’s that the trash goes out at a certain time. Take the time to talk about what your “must” is in regards to cleaning. When you know your partner’s “must” it can help to start by cleaning that and work your way towards other tasks.

  • What is the definition of clean? - When looking at tasks together, it can help to have an honest conversation about how you define “clean”. For some, cleaning the toilet bowl and top are sufficient, while others see clean as washing the floors, the base of the toilet, and removing the seat to give it a deep clean. Spend some time discussing what the definition of clean is for the tasks you have to complete. It will save you time and stress.

  • What are the negotiables? - When looking at cleaning tasks it can help to know where the negotiable chores are. Maybe you loathe doing laundry but you’ll happily do dishes and wipe down counters. Maybe your spouse cringes at the thought of tackling the floors, but will happily organize and put away clutter. Determine which tasks are negotiable and volunteer to take on the tasks that don’t bother you but bother your spouse.

Simplify Where Possible

When looking at cleaning tasks as a couple, it can become overwhelming quickly. With dishes, laundry, floors, clutter, and deep cleaning all on the agenda, it can become easy to let things slide. One of the best things you can do when looking at cleaning is to find areas where you can simplify. Spending some time simplifying will help you to consistently get things done. Here are a few ways to simplify cleaning to take some of the stress out of your marriage.

  • Don’t underestimate the power of quality cleaning tools! - Items such as the 5 minute clean walls bundle, bathroom magic hard water cleaner, and the world’s best carpet cleaner take time consuming jobs and make them quick and easy! And when you can buy them in concentrate to make them last longer, everyone is happy. Using the right tools when cleaning can save you a great deal of time. When a task is quick and simple, it is more likely to get done consistently which means both partners feel good about it. You might even find that some tools are fun to use and will leave your partner asking to take over that task!

  • Decluttering is a gift! - One of the best ways to simplify cleaning is to remove clutter. Clutter takes an easier job and makes it considerably more involved. Even the cleanest house can look messy if it is cluttered. Spend some time together cutting down on clutter to give you less areas to have to focus on cleaning. This could include having a plan for paperwork that comes in, going through clothes you don’t wear, and removing items you won’t use anymore and donating them.

  • Be an expert at the small stuff. - Another incredible way to simplify cleaning is becoming an expert at the small stuff. This means taking the extra two seconds to move clothes to the hamper, wash a dish instead of putting in the sink, or clean a spill when it happens. By being disciplined with the small stuff you will find that there is less to clean and both partners will have less reasons to stress about the cleanliness of the home.

Be Flexible!

When making a cleaning plan in marriage it can be so helpful to be flexible. This can apply to guidelines, expectations, or standards of cleanliness. When you are flexible with your partner on cleaning tasks, you will find less conflict while getting the job done. This might mean that you have to be willing to let certain things go or rework who cleans what as life grows and changes. Here are a few tips for being flexible with cleaning.

  • Keep an eye on seasons of life. - Some seasons of life will cause one partner to have to pick up more of the slack. Maybe one partner is working more, dealing with a health issue, or handling a personal conflict that is taking more of their time. Be willing to pick up a bit of the slack during these seasons of life.

  • Be open to change. - You or your spouse may start a cleaning task and absolutely hate it. It may be the one thing that they dread when cleaning. Be open with one another. It may be that this is a shared task or that one partner deplores it less than the other. Be open to changing the expectation to fit the situation.

  • Write it in pencil. - This isn’t a literal statement. If you are assigning chores to yourself and your spouse, don’t write them in pen. Write them in pencil. This gives you the understanding that things can and do change in different seasons of your marriage. This will help you to both not be too committed to a task and stay focused on your partner instead.


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