No matter how in love two people may be, every relationship comes with its fair share of fighting. While the cause of these arguments is obviously different for everyone, there are some general topics that many couples fight about on a fairly regular basis. One of those topics is cleaning — and when it comes to that, there’s one unexpected trick that could be the key to a happier relationship.
A recent survey of 75,000 married couples by Lasting, a marriage health app, found that the five topics married couples fight about the most are how cleaning gets done, what “clean” looks like, how often they should have sex, how much time is spent on their cell phones, and what to spend money on.
It makes sense that two of the topics are related to cleaning, considering chores aren’t something people are necessarily excited to do — not to mention the fact that women still do the bulk of this work.
If cleaning is such a big issue for so many couples and an obstacle to a happier relationship, then doesn’t it make sense that getting rid of it completely might be a huge step toward more joy?
“Sure,” you might think. “But how does one ‘get rid of’ cleaning?” The answer? They hire someone to do their cleaning for them. In other words, the unexpected trick to a happier relationship could be hiring a cleaning person to do your chores for you.
This theory is backed up by a recent working paper from Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia. The paper’s authors surveyed more than 3,000 people who were in committed relationships to find out if spending money on “timesaving services,” like chores, really made a difference.
The survey found that it did, and researchers discovered that couples who spent money on cleaning services also reported being more satisfied with their relationships. Again, it makes sense: not having to worry about the chores means less arguments about the chores, and it also means that couples get to spend more time together — instead of cleaning their place.
Not convinced? Relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW told Bustle, “I absolutely think that throwing money at the chores is good for relationships. Nowadays we are so overworked and spread so thin that couples often find themselves at war over ‘who is doing more.’…Even if you end up having to have a few more dinners home in order to afford it, couples are often happier to gain a little free time and stop the bickering over whose turn it is to clean the toilet!”
Now, this sounds great in theory: pay someone to clean for you, eliminate chores, feel happier with your significant other. Amazing! Unfortunately, it’s not possible for everyone. Paying for a cleaning person can get very expensive very quickly. Not everyone has the money to afford a luxury like this one.
If you don’t, there’s no need to stress, because your relationship isn’t doomed. You just need to come up with a better way to communicate with your partner about chores. Set up some sort of schedule, do cleaning together when you can, and be honest about how you’re both feeling about it. The right communication can work wonders here.
If you can afford it, make sure you’re only trying this out if you guys are actually fighting about cleaning. If you and your significant other are having serious problems that have nothing to do with chores, then throwing your money at something like this isn’t going to fix the relationship.