Sharing Responsibilities

Our values and attitudes are often influenced by our own upbringing. However the world is a constantly changing place and what may have worked 30 years ago may no longer work as life becomes increasingly complex. The days of the male going out to work and the female staying home to run the house and manage the children is no longer the most common division of labour.

All relationships have to find a balance of roles and responsibilities that work for both partners. When both partners work, getting the balance right between earning money, managing the running of the house and bringing up children is extremely important.

What may appear to be day to day niggles in a relationships are often caused by issues of responsibility and fairness of workload. It is important to work together to keep the balance right.

Unfortunately in many cases, discussion about this issue usually takes place when things have become critical, when one of you is at the end of your tether and is more likely to be physically or emotionally exhausted.

But how do you get the balance right?
Take the time to sit down with your partner and express how you feel about your current roles. This is the easiest way to bring about change.

Chose a time when you are calm and not tired or angry.

Start by answering these questions independently, then as a couple discuss what you have written.

  • Do you have a main responsibility in the relationship? What is it?
  • What is your partner's main responsibility in the relationship?
  • What are your additional responsibilities?
  • What are your partner's additional responsibilities?
  • Are you happy with the allocation of those responsibilities?
  • Do you think you are both fulfilling your responsibilities?
  • Is one of you doing part of someone else's responsibilities?
  • What changes do you think should be made to get the balance right?

The key to keeping the balance is to regularly revisit the sharing of responsibilities, particularly as things change and preferably before one partner feels their load is becoming unfair.