Merging Homes: How to Divide Chores Once You Say "I Do"

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Marriage isn't all lovey-dovey fun. There's a good dose of that, sure, but there's also the part where you have to take care of life's often mundane tasks like paying the bills, keeping up the house, and grocery shopping. Couples usually choose to divide and conquer, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. To help you avoid this, here are some ways you and your new husband can set up a foolproof system of responsibilities as you establish your new household.

Lay it all out
There are so many details involved in running a household that it's easy for some of them to get overlooked. Make a comprehensive list of everything it takes to keep the house up, from essential bills to budgets to cleaning and bigger maintenance jobs. You can sit down and do it together or set up a shared spreadsheet, such as Google Docs.

Divide duties according to your strengths
One of you is great with numbers and the other can't get enough time outside. It seems obvious who should be in charge of bills and who should take the helm on yard upkeep says Margot Brown, PsyD, licensed marriage family therapist and author of The 72 Hour Rule: A Do-It-Yourself Couples Therapy Book!.

See More: Tough Talks: Tactics for Communicating About Difficult Topics

Check in regularly
One of the secrets to smoothly operating systems is that there are checks built in, scheduled maintenance. You can't assume the responsibilities and schedules you and your partner set up going to function smoothly just because you set them up to do so. Keep on top of things by setting up a regular check-in with your spouse.

Hold each other accountable, gently
Having weekly check-ins creates a neutral space for you both to hold each other accountable for your responsibilities. It's not either of you nagging; it's just part of the system.

Help each other out
Sometimes, one of you will be swamped at work or someone will be sick. When that happens, step up and take on your spouse's responsibilities. It may feel like an extra burden (because it likely is), but remember that it's temporary and ultimately benefits you both.

Give yourselves a break
Don't forget to schedule in some fun! If you have to, hold your weekly check ins at brunch or over a glass of wine at your favorite neighborhood restaurant. Just because taking care of household responsibilities are necessary, it doesn't have to be boring or deadly serious. Reward yourselves (and each other) for a job well done.