This Habit is one of the 10 Habits of Happy Couples Tina and Michael LeBlanc write about in their blog and in their book that will be released in the Fall of 2022. To check out the other Habits as they’re released weekly, check out the index below. To really use these Habits to work on your relationship, you can access their book – The 10 Habits of Happy Couples – which gives you complete examples of each Habit and exercises that you can do with your partner to develop these Habits in your relationship.
The 10 Habits of Happy Couples
Habit #5: Respect Each Other
Habit #4: Prioritize Your Relationship
Habit #3: Understand Your Fights
Habit #2: Always Repair
Habit #1: Talk Openly and Tune In
Habit #8: Have Clear Relationship Rules and Organize Your Daily Lives
Life with a partner will be filled with messiness, stress and miscommunication!
We need to expect this as there is so much to juggle in the course of a day, and you are dealing with two human beings that are not perfect. However, the amount of confusion, chaos and upset can be limited the more couples come together to identify clear rules and get on the same page with certain values around key topics.
So this is probably the most practical tip of all our Habits, but so many couples don’t do this part thoroughly enough.
The more you take time to talk about the day-to-day life at your house and organize yourselves, the more this will prevent fights and help you and your partner feel more like a team.
Three of the most important topics to be clear on and organize are:
- Household Chores, and
Tips on How to Have Clear Rules and Organize Your Daily Lives
Take some time with your partner to get practical here. Start from scratch if you need to, but sit together and really take a look at your daily life and how things are going in each of the three categories. What’s going well, and what can be improved?
Try to stay away from a 50/50 mentality. We have to be pragmatic if we are going to make progress, so neither partner feels like they are forced into agreeing to something that they don’t want. At times one partner does take on more than the other in one of the areas. It’s part of going with the flow that life offers. But resentment can build up if they get stuck doing something they feel is unfair or too much.
Start by making a list of what needs to get done and organized in each of the three areas. Discuss who would be interested and better at doing each task. There will be tasks that neither of you likes or are good at doing. So you might want to get help on those. These can include things like hiring a house cleaner, working with a financial planner, or hiring a tutor for one of your kids.
Where is your energy, time and dollars best spent so things can run as smoothly as possible and where each partner feels like things are fair?
Whatever you decide together, you now need to organize yourselves. Again, if this is not your strong suit, find a friend or family member with strong organizational skills and get help. Fridge calendars or syncing Google Calendars or iCal is a great way for both of you to be aware of what’s happening. But this doesn’t replace talking about your schedule and plans daily or weekly. Get in line with each other, so both of you know what is happening.
The longer you wait to do this pragmatic step, the more likely that conflicts will arise and resentment will take hold. Get help if you can’t have these conversations alone – it might indicate a bigger problem (see Habit #3 when published).
About the Authors
Tina and Michael LeBlanc have been happily married since 2003, are parents to two teenage boys, and have over 20 years of combined experience as Licensed Counselling Therapists. Being experts in the Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) model and using it to help couples in their work, Tina and Michael drew from the EFT model to create a list of 10 Habits of Happy Couples. In this series of articles, they take you on a comprehensive walk through the 10 Habits, and with each, they give you an overview followed by specific tips you and your partner can use in your daily life.