Divide and Conquer the Household
You both work full-time. You're both too exhausted to take on the added headache of keeping house. What's a married couple to do? Get everything out in the open, for starters. Listen to what she expects from you; tell her what you're expecting from her. If you both end up rolling on the floor laughing (because you've just told her that you expect
There are bound to be some things that are either difficult (you wouldn't expect your five-foot wife to clean the shelves in the garage that are at your arm's reach) or distasteful to one or both of you. Say, for example, that you absolutely cannot mop the kitchen floor without making a huge mess. At the same time, your wife has the whole mopping thing down to a science, but she despises cleaning the bathroom — a chore that you actually don't mind tackling. The solution is obvious, but only if you open the lines of communication, which neither of you may do if you're trying to keep the peace or the status quo.
If it's really important to one (or each) of you to keep the house running like clockwork, make a schedule of which chores are done and when. Maybe you don't want to spend your Saturday scrubbing the toilet bowl — but you wouldn't mind doing it during the week. Knowing that it's going to be done on a regular basis (whether it's Wednesday or the weekend) should be enough for a partner who's a little obsessive about scheduling.
Know when obsession is crossing the line, though. You're newlyweds and you only have a short time to be newlyweds. If fun presents itself, let the floors go one more day without a scrubbing.Maintenance
Once you buy a home, the issue of maintenance pops up — every weekend for the rest of your lives, until you realize the wisdom of your parents' generation, living in maintenance-free neighborhoods. But that's decades down the road. Right now, you and your bride are the cleanup and repair crew dedicated to keeping your home in ship-shape condition.
Everyone has to do some chores that are distasteful or dull or monotonous — but make sure that one of you isn't stuck doing the worst jobs all the time, especially if you're both working an equal amount of time outside of the home. If your wife wants to mow the lawn one gorgeous weekend while
You may be surprised to realize what you're capable of. Many home-improvement stores have free how-to clinics for the most common household problems and projects, as well.
Another issue that may pop up is whether you're a home-repair expert — and/or whether your new wife expects you to be one. Girls who grow up in households headed by handymen expect an awful lot from their new husbands. Your wife may think you know how to rewire a circuit and lay tile — because that's what husbands do on the weekend, as far as she's concerned. If you find yourself on the losing end of a long list of household projects she has laid out for you and you wouldn't even know where to begin with any of them, don't explode.
Here's a perfect opportunity for you, if you're of the mind-set to accept it. You can either ask your new father-in-law for help (and really get to know him in the process), or you can dig in to some do-it-yourself books.
Of course, no one is saying that you have to learn these things — and no one's saying you have to tackle these projects on your own. If you and/or your wife can learn a thing or two about repairs, though, you'll save yourselves a bundle in the long run.
Calling a plumber for a leaky sink is like taking your car to the mechanic: There are some honest guys out there, and some guys who'll rob you blind — and if you don't know the first thing about the problem at hand, you're setting yourself up for a big loss.