If you are like me, you have had recurring arguments about day to day life more than you would like. Maybe this has taken form through arguing about how laundry is managed in the home, the unkept yard, the cleanliness of the house, the way money is spent, or the division of household and parental tasks. Nonetheless, you are not alone.
The amount of day to day responsibilities a typical family has in the U.S. is beyond unhealthy. Families have to focus on managing work, children, cooking, cleaning, errands, household tasks, school, extracurriculars…and the list goes on and on. Previously, when we lived in villages, the tasks were divided among the people making the responsibilities more manageable. Though, that is not the state we live in now. Furthermore, we do not have the cultural set up that many other countries experience where extended family is present in day to day life, which can provide much more support for everyone throughout the lifespan. In the U.S., we live in an over-scheduled, overly responsible and highly individualized society. This leaves many families feeling as though they never have enough support. Take our current state with COVID-19 where external support is nearly out the window and you will see many families and marriages struggling immensely.
One thing we can do to combat the problem of lack of support is to adopt the mentality that delegation is a necessity rather than a luxury. If couples invested in 1-2 areas of delegation, we would see a dramatic change in the day to day stress of families. Rather than viewing these items as another unnecessary expense, what would happen if we could shift into the mindset that delegation is a way to invest in our marriages and families? When responsibilities are delegated, we are less likely to argue about the mundane tasks of living. With less to worry about, we free up space to be more present. With less to manage, we are better lovers, parents and friends. Are there changes that could occur within your budget right now that could make 1-2 of the items listed below possible? Take a look at the following list and see if you can determine some areas where arguments arise in your relationship. If 1-2 of these items brings up consistent issues, it may be a good time to consider the investment of delegating these things out.
10 Things to Delegate for a Happier Marriage
1. House cleaning
I would consider this the single best investment a family can make when delegating personal tasks. Whether it is 1x a week, bi-weekly or even monthly, many couples swear by hiring a house cleaner. Having someone come in and do a deep clean removes the stress of “getting around to it another time” and keeps our homes in good working condition. Many people note this single investment as being a reason they are still married today!
2. Laundry support
Yes this is a thing, who knew?! You can find a company or a private person to help with laundry on a schedule that works for you.
3. Yard maintenance
Is managing the yard a consistent annoyance for you? Consider handing that task over.
4. Food and meals
Designating even 1 night a week that is takeout night is a great way to have a consistent evening off. If meal planning and cooking are stressors for you, this may be a great way to manage it effectively.
5. Bring on a babysitter
It saddens me each time I have a couple sit in my office and tell me they have no childcare options outside of school and themselves. Unfortunately, it is more common that many people realize. Spending the time and money needed to have a babysitter can be one of the best ways couples can invest in their relationship. If you can focus on finding a babysitter for your family, you can make date night a priority and focus once again on your connection. One excellent way to find a babysitter is to ask friends or use social media to find out who other trusted families are using.
6. The unfinished project
Are you someone who has an unfinished project that you “have been working on” but it never seems to get done? It may be time to pass this on to someone else so you can have your peace of mind back.
You do not need to be an expert in everything. Let a financial advisor support you and your family in money management. When you have a set plan to reach your goals, the right money vehicles in place and a trusted advisor guiding you along, you can rest assured that you are on the right track and reduce arguments over money.
8. Pet care
Do you love your pet but struggle to get them on consistent walks or bathing routines? Delegate it. Find a groomer who has experience in your animal’s breed and bring on a dog walker if this is a task you cannot find time or energy for.
9. Misc errands
Oil changes, grocery shopping, dry cleaning. If errands take up a lot of your time, consider starting to delegate them out.
10. Child tasks
Tutoring, summer camps, childcare pick up/drop off, PTA projects and so on.
Delegating is truly an art form. When we delegate, we have to relinquish some control over our routines and train somebody to do things the way we like, though once this initial training is complete the positive impact is substantial. Nothing is off the table when it comes to delegation, what matters is that we delegate areas in our lives that cause us the most stress in our relationships. The more support couples have in their lives, the more they thrive and deepen in their loving connection.
For more on investing in your marriage, check out Marriage Counseling Outside of Crisis; The Key to Success
-Written by Emily De La Torre, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Vancouver, WA