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The No. 1 thing couples with children fight about
It may surprise you, but you'll probably agree. - photo by Wendy Jessen
What do you think couples with children fight about most? Finances, how to raise your kids, putting your socks in the hamper?

According to a study of families with a kindergarten-aged child, "The most common area of contention is chores and responsibilities. Nearly half of couples with kindergarten-aged children (49 percent) said they argued about chores and responsibilities 'often' or 'sometimes.'"

Within that same study, it found the percentage of arguments about chores and responsibilities was highest among families where the mother worked full time while the dad worked part time or not at all, followed by parents who both worked full time. Next were couples where the dad worked full time and mom worked part time. The least arguing occurred in homes where the father worked full time and the mother was a homemaker/stay-at-home mom.

Other notable arguments were about money (43 percent), children (41 percent) and being too tired for sex (38 percent).

So how can couples solve the problem of balancing chores and other household responsibilities and reduce arguments?

Assess the needs of your household

What needs to be done? Laundry, dishes, yard work, earning money, paying bills, childcare, home repairs, etc. are all things that have to be done on a regular basis. It's not feasible for one person to do it all, even if he or she is a stay-at-home parent. Make a list of all the household responsibilities that have to be done daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

Take into account each other's schedules

Do one or both of you work? Is it the same hours each day? When do you leave and come home? What other responsibilities do you have outside of the home (think volunteer work, church responsibilities, etc.)? Do you take time to exercise or do things with friends? Are any of these activities excessive and need to be scaled back?

Hold a family council to divide up responsibilities

The best way to solve problems in a marriage or family is to talk about them and discuss possible solutions respectfully. Appropriate household chores are a great way to involve children. Kids need to learn how to clean and help out around the house. You can create a rotating chore chart between children. Have everyone discuss together which things need to be done and how best to divide up the work. Rotate chores daily, weekly or monthly.

For other matters, you may need to have a family council between husband and wife only. Talk about what's not working and what is. Decide how to best resolve the issue. Depending on schedules, some responsibilities may be different on certain days. Work together and come to an agreement. If you both have a clear understanding of the other's expectations and who needs to do what, this will naturally reduce arguments.

Though disagreements naturally arise in marriage, you can easily work through them together. Whether it's a simple misunderstanding or something that will take more work, hold a family council as a couple or with the kids and figure out a solution. And because life happens, and things don't always go according to plan, create a balance in your family that allows for some nights off and understanding.
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