Conflict arises when two people see things differently and/or have differing expectations about the process of getting things done. Consequently, to minimize fights about chores:
1. Talk about the process before there is an issue. Who will do what chore, when and what does that chore look like? For example, in my own relationship, my husband signed on for doing the laundry. However, in my mind that meant getting it washed, dried AND put away. In his mind it meant washed, dried, and put on the living room chair to be picked through as needed. Clarifying all details of the process is key.
2. Remember to use humor when the process fails for one of you. In the example above, we did not determine the process of laundry upon which we both agreed. Instead of fighting about the laundry on the chair, I joked about having discovered a new type of furniture—a chesser! (a cross between a chair and dresser). With my new invention, we could lightheartedly joke about the issue, and over time, my chesser is mostly now just a chair.
3. Voice a complaint rather than criticize. Constructive criticism is still just plain ol’ criticism in disguised form. Instead, talk about the matter (i.e., the issue that you are having about chores) and discuss how this is impacting you. As partners this will help in negotiating a better way of handling it going forward. In other words, keep your partner on your team and put your noggins together to tackle the problem.