Have you ever watched the show Everybody Loves Raymond? It’s a hilarious sit-com from the early 2000s about a married sportswriter who is raising a family across the street from his parents in Long Island, New York. I highly recommend it, it’s hilarious! You can likely find re-runs on TV or rent episodes on Prime Video. Part of what makes it so funny is that the writers created each episode based on real-life scenarios that they or someone they knew experienced.

One of my favorite episodes is when a fight ensues between Ray and his wife about a suitcase. Ray comes home from a business trip and leaves his suitcase on the staircase landing, assuming his wife will take it upstairs and unpack it for him.

Several weeks go by and no one moves the suitcase. Ray even goes so far as to put moldy food in it, hoping that the odor will persuade her to do something about it. Instead, they have a long-lasting stand-down and blow-out fight. Unwilling to back down, Ray ends up taking a plastic grocery bag on his next trip instead of the suitcase.

Expectations + chores = potential big issues in marriage.

In the busyness of life, it’s sometimes easy to let expectations, a busy schedule and a never-ending to-do list create problems between each other. It’s so important for us to examine our expectations and have regular conversations about chores with our spouse. Not to mention that seasons and circumstances change and the chore schedule you used in one season may not work well in another. Communication and realignment are crucial to stay ahead of the problems and prevent potential blow-out fights.

Here are some talking points you can use to start the conversation about chores with your spouse:

How are our household chores currently divided? (Don’t forget about grocery shopping, cooking, paying bills, laundry, pet care, lawn care, etc.)

  • Are we happy with that arrangement?
  • What changes do we need to make, if any?
  • What expectations about chores do we each have?
  • Are these healthy or realistic expectations?
  • Where are these expectations coming from?
  • Are there any areas of home-keeping that we can outsource?
  • If applicable, which chores are our children able to help with?
  • How can we better serve each other in love through household chores?

Part of marriage is romantic and fun, but a good portion of it falls to the mundane: who cooks dinner and who takes out the trash. But the good news is that we can grow and strengthen our marriage through these constant tasks. Instead of dreading chores, we can use them as reminders to be joyful and grateful that we have the privilege of building a life together.

Galatians 5:13 reminds us, “For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.”

Let’s put on the attitude of Christ by serving our spouse in love as we do the laundry or mow the lawn. Let’s also develop the habit of regularly expressing appreciation and gratitude to our spouse when he/she does chores, like putting the suitcase away.