A Yelp poll found that four out of five couples fight over household chores. This adds strain to a romantic relationship, necessitating the acts of de-stressing and finding more stamina for your day. Energy and relationships are intimately intertwined.
According to the Yelp poll, the most frequent sources of disagreement over chores between partners in a relationship stem from when to do housework, how to do it, and who should do it. In addition, the majority of people surveyed admitted to either faking sick to get out of chores in-the-moment or intentionally doing a poor job to get out of future chores. Grievances over household duties cause stress in relationships, which can lead to fights and a lack of energy to get through the day. Fortunately, learning about the link between energy and our social circles can help us discover how to live healthier and more amicable lives.
Two Keys to Strengthening Existing Bonds
Whether you’re in a long-term relationship suffering from stresses like chores or you just want to reconnect with old friends, keeping a relationship lively is important and beneficial. Fitness and wellness consultant Dr. Kimberlee Bethany Bonura said there are two key factors to this.
“First, remember to have fun; there’s power in play and power in laughter,” Dr. Bonura said. “This is due to the spillover effect—when we share a laugh with and have fun with someone, we connect that person with feeling good about ourselves and we assume we will continue to feel good around that person. Laughter may be one of the best ways to keep an existing relationship positive and to rebuild a relationship that has a struggling connection.”
Being yourself can also boost the quality of your relationship’s interactions. “When people believe they are behaving authentically, they have higher self-esteem and they experience less distress,” Dr. Bonura said. “Authenticity matters in personal relationships, in particular, and feeling inauthentic in how you relate to others is correlated with depression.”
Improving Relationship Energy
“The complicated picture of how our social relationships affect our lives is that our most significant relationships are vitally important to the big picture of our sense of meaning and purpose, but they simultaneously drain our energy through the day-to-day maintenance work that they require,” Dr. Bonura said. “One key strategy for improving our energy in relationships is to focus on the big positive picture instead of the difficult details. When we are stressed about our relationships with our kids or our spouses or our parents, for whom we are caring, is the stress based on what is going on right now, or is it based on residuals from the past or anxiety about the future?”
Actively practicing in enjoying the moment, living in the here-and-now, and reminding ourselves of the goodness of the overall big picture can put us in a better state of mind and keep us in better spirits.
Dr. Bonura also recommended setting boundaries, or learning to say no to things that people ask of us. Otherwise, she said, we’ll find ourselves pulled in every direction at once and run out of energy. “Cutting back on a few obligations and getting some rest and self-care may make a difference in how the world feels and in how you react to the world. Sometimes, by saying no to the obligations, you are more able to authentically say yes to loved ones and really engage with them in a loving and meaningful way.”
If you find yourself dissatisfied with your spouse’s performance of household chores—or their expectations of you regarding them—do your best to see the big picture and set agreed-upon boundaries to splitting up the housework. In other times that don’t involve the dishes or the vacuum cleaner, remember to laugh and be yourself.
Dr. Kimberlee Bethany Bonura contributed to this article. Dr. Bonura is a fitness and wellness consultant with decades of experience teaching the benefits of physical and mental health to elite athletes, higher education institutions, nonprofit community organizations, and corporations. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Florida State University.