How to Divide Responsibilities in a Marriage - Babywise Mom (2023)

How to Divide Responsibilities in a Marriage. How to find a solution you are both happy with and how to keep it that way! Seven steps to take to get on the same page.

How to Divide Responsibilities in a Marriage - Babywise Mom (1)

Chances are high that when you came into your marriage, you and your spouse had different views of exactly how to divide labor in the home. Who is in charge of cooking? Cleaning? Dishes? Diapers? Laundry? Garbages? The list of household chores is extensive, and once you add children to the mix, there are even more responsibilities to be added to the daily list.

The question is, how will you divide responsibilities? Someone needs to be in charge of each thing. Even if you are both all on board with an idea of “everything is both of our jobs,” you need someone to take point.

That’s nice if you are both willing to cook, but there needs to be order or else you will both be planning meals (and possibly even taking steps to prep) or you will both be waiting around for the other one to get started on dinner. Maybe you both cook each meal? Maybe it varies from day to day depending on what is going on? You just don’t want to end up with resentment because expectations are not expressed.

Oftentimes, our expectations for who will do what is shaped by what our parents did as we grew up. We might want to emulate what they did, or we might want to radically change what they did. Sometimes we are raised differently than how our parents did things.

My husband is an example of this. His father was raised in a home where traditional roles were kept. His father continued that on as my husband grew up (though that has changed by today). His mother, however, was raised in a home where her father contributed extensively to household duties, which was rare for the era. She raised my husband to be an equal contributor at home, and he always has been.

People can have strong opinions about how responsibilities should be divided. Some couples are happy in a fully traditional setup. Some are equal. Others do some sort of hybrid and even an ebb and flow where things can shift as circumstances change.

While you might think there is only one right way, there really isn’t one right way for everyone. What is important is that both people in the marriage are on the same page and willing to compromise to come to a consensus so that both people feel satisfied with the arrangement.

Post Contents

  • 7 Steps to Find a Solution You Will Both Love
  • 1-Communicate
  • 2-Be More Concerned for Each Other Than Yourselves
  • 3-Don’t Keep Score
  • 4-Step Up When Your Spouse is Overburdened
  • 5-Take Back Over When Things Calm Down
  • 6-Always Contribute
  • 7-Don’t Be Afraid to Change Things
  • Conclusion

7 Steps to Find a Solution You Will Both Love


You must communicate about the division of responsibilities. You may have grown up in a home where your father emptied every garbage in the home and you feel fully offended that your husband leaves garbages for your hands to touch at times, but he doesn’t know that if you don’t share that.

You both need to talk about what you prefer as you divide responsibilities. Write down what needs to be done and talk about who will be the main person in charge of those things.

Be frank about if/thens, also. My husband knows that if he does the dishes after dinner, I am going to make more elaborate meals. If I am making dinner and then cleaning dinner up, what we eat will be heavily influenced by how many dishes I have to dirty. My husband loves food, so he is happy to take on the dishes.

How to Divide Responsibilities in a Marriage - Babywise Mom (2)

2-Be More Concerned for Each Other Than Yourselves

If you spend your time more concerned for your spouse than yourself, you will find yourself much happier. Rather than grumbling because your life is so hard, think of how you can make your spouses life easier. When you see a need, fill a need. Don’t think, “Not my job! Not my problem!” If you are more concerned for your spouse than yourself, then you will see a need and do what you can to fill it.

3-Don’t Keep Score

Life isn’t going to be 50/50. It just won’t. If you keep track of how much more you do around the house than your spouse, you will live very miserably.

4-Step Up When Your Spouse is Overburdened

When your husband is working longer hours than usual, step up and help cover things he usually does. When your wife just delivered a baby, step up and cover some of her usual responsibilities. Also, as your children get older, use them! With my husband building an addition on our home for almost the last year, my children have had to step up and take on more household responsibilities. It has been great for them to contribute to the home more.

5-Take Back Over When Things Calm Down

If your spouse is a rockstar and takes on some of your jobs while you are stressed, step back in to those jobs when things calm down, or take on some of his jobs. Don’t leave him overburdened, or he will likely be hesitant to step in and help next time. A cute older woman in my church once warned me, “Don’t take on anything that he does unless you want to do it forever.” Sage advice! Advice based on observation and real-life experience. We do that, right? Someone does something nice for us and we step back, dust our hands off, and think, “Whew! Got that one off my plate!” Remember, see a need, fill a need.

6-Always Contribute

Look, working outside the home is rough. Sure. That doesn’t mean when you get home, you get to be “off.” Being a stay at home parent is never-endingly exhausting. Yes. That doesn’t mean when your spouse gets home from work that you are now off duty. You both need to help when you are both around. Sometimes one of you will need a break. You will need a night out every so often or even just someone to box out when the kids try to talk to you in the bathroom. We all have our days when we just need a moment. We don’t need every day, though. We might want every day, but we don’t need it.

Many hands make light work, so help each other out. See a need, fill a need.

How to Divide Responsibilities in a Marriage - Babywise Mom (3)

7-Don’t Be Afraid to Change Things

When my husband and I first got married, I had total control over the finances. I did the budget, I paid the bills, and I knew where our money was. This was a great thing at the time. While we are both frugal, I am even more so than he is. By a lot, really. He lives life more spontaneously while I am always planning and preparing for the future. We were both going to school full time and working part time, so we didn’t have a lot of money. It was good for me to be over the finances.

When Kaitlyn came along, I had two children under the age of two, and keeping on top of the bills got overwhelming for me. So my husband took over.

This was a great move at that point in our marriage. It helped him be more aware of the state of our finances, so he was more conscientious about what we spent where. I was not always the “no, we shouldn’t spend money on that” person. He got more frugal. It helped me relax some on spending money. By that time, he had a real job so it was a good time for me to relax. It also helped bills be paid on time, which is a plus!

My point is, as life changes and circumstances change, mix up who is responsible for what. As you get to know each other and yourselves better, mix up who is over what. Play to your strengths to make a strong team. Nothing needs to be set in stone.

I will give you another example.

When we have a nursing baby, I am the one who puts the baby to bed at night. As soon as the baby turns one and is weaned, my husband takes over bedtime for that little one. We do this so that he can get some good, quality time with that child each day. He works full time, so while I spend all day every day with the little one, he has only hours. I have a couple of naptimes to do, so I get plenty of opportunity for the cuddling and reading stories. Being in charge of bedtime for that child helps my husband form a bond with that little one.


One of the best tools you will have as you divide up responsibilities in marriage is to communicate. Talk. Share your expectations, hopes, likes, and dislikes. Listen to his. Find something that works for both of you. Keep those lines of communication open and talk about changes that might need to be made as they arise.

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The ladies of the BFBN are all talking about marriage today. Check them out:


How do I split my baby duties with my husband? ›

Parenting Duties List: 8 Ways To Split The Load
  1. Work together. The aim of creating a parenting duties list is to be able to work together more efficiently. ...
  2. Communication is key. ...
  3. Use technology for your benefit. ...
  4. Let go of perfection. ...
  5. Consider hiring help. ...
  6. Make a schedule. ...
  7. Plan your baby's feeding time. ...
  8. Divide the house chores.

How do you divide parenting responsibilities? ›

Use the tips below to begin figuring out who should do what.
  1. Work together. Everybody in the family benefits when parents work together to maintain home and hearth. ...
  2. Rethink your goals. ...
  3. List your responsibilities. ...
  4. List your baby's needs. ...
  5. Anticipate and communicate. ...
  6. Make a schedule. ...
  7. Shed traditional expectations. ...
  8. Share baby time.

How do you split responsibilities with a new baby? ›

Split up nighttime duties.

For example: Take turns feeding your baby. Take turns being the one to handle all nighttime duties, from feeding to changing to soothing your baby. Sleep in separate rooms, leaving one room free for the partner who isn't on baby duty that night.

How do you split duties? ›

How to Split Responsibilities with Your Partner
  1. Start the conversation when you're both calm and collected. ...
  2. Take an inventory of every responsibility that needs to be accounted for. ...
  3. Decide how you will split responsibilities. ...
  4. Make sure it works for both of you. ...
  5. Hire help when possible.

How do you share duties in a marriage? ›

How to balance responsibilities in your relationship
  1. Be clear about when you need help. ...
  2. Allow your partner to do things their way, not yours. ...
  3. Don't try to split everything up evenly. ...
  4. Talk about improving your relationship when you aren't fighting.

Should dads help with night feeds? ›

Even if you breastfeed and stay home with the baby while your husband works, dad should still wake up for nighttime feedings. For one thing, you develop a deeper sense of teamwork, knowing that you're in this together.

Should both parents take equal responsibility? ›

More equality in parenting

Whereas one partner may have been the disciplinarian while the other was providing emotional comfort, now both parents will have to fill every parenting role when spending time with their kids. This can help to encourage stronger bonds between children and each of their parents individually.

What are 4 responsibilities of a parent? ›

Parental responsibilities include:
  • Providing a safe living environment.
  • Protecting the children from abuse and other dangers.
  • Paying child support as ordered.
  • Fulfilling the children's basic needs (food, water, shelter)
  • Disciplining the children.
  • Investing in the children's education.
  • Knowing the children's interests.

How do you balance parenting responsibilities? ›

Seven Strategies for Sharing Parenting Responsibilities
  1. Take Paternity Leave. ...
  2. Divide Days Off. ...
  3. Try A Balancing Act. ...
  4. Revisit Your Priorities. ...
  5. Confidence is Key. ...
  6. Express Yourself. ...
  7. Tackle it With Technology.
May 30, 2018

What is the one baby rule? ›

The one-child policy was a program in China that limited most Chinese families to one child each. It was implemented nationwide by the Chinese government in 1980, and it ended in 2016. The policy was enacted to address the growth rate of the country's population, which the government viewed as being too rapid.

Whose responsibility is to take care of baby? ›

Parents have the duty to protect their children's rights until they are old enough to make their own way in the world. The authority to make decisions concerning and affecting the care, welfare and proper development of the child is known as 'parental responsibility'.

How do you balance a child and a new partner? ›

Here are five ways to balance your time as a couple and time as a family.
  1. Schedule alone time with your partner. ...
  2. Build your connection in small moments. ...
  3. Spend quality time together as a family. ...
  4. Let your kids know that you value your role as a partner AND parent.

How do you divide tasks between husband and wife? ›

The Relationship-Saving Way to Split Chores With Your Partner
  1. Discuss your frustrations when you and your partner are calm. ...
  2. Be understanding of each of your histories. ...
  3. Account for every chore that needs to be done. ...
  4. Pick specific days to complete household chores. ...
  5. Don't criticize how they choose to accomplish their chores.
Jul 30, 2019

Should a husband help with housework? ›

Asking for help implies that the responsibility for the chores belongs to just you. In actuality, chores are shared responsibilities, and doing a good job dividing up the housework is essential to ensure a happy marriage.

How do couples split household chores? ›

Couples who share every task, rather than having their own separate to-do lists, tend to be more satisfied with their relationship. In theory, coming up with a fair division of housework should be simple: Take all the tasks and divide them in two.

What are the 3 duties of both husband and wife? ›

The husband and wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support.

What is the walkaway wife syndrome? ›

What Is a Walkaway Wife? Also referred to as the "neglected wife syndrome" and "sudden divorce syndrome," walkaway wife syndrome is "nothing more than a term used to characterize a person who has decided they cannot stay in the marriage any longer," says Joshua Klapow, Ph.

Should husband and wife share responsibilities? ›

As a married couple you are on the same team. Therefore, make decisions and divide household responsibilities in a way that honors both people. “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Sharing responsibility means being on the same team.

How many hours should a feeding mother sleep? ›

Sleep experts agree that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to function properly. Newborns, however, sleep about 16-20 hours in a 24-hour cycle, but this sleep is disrupted with waking every 20 minutes to few hours - making it virtually impossible for a new mother to get those 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

What age should you stop night feeding? ›

From a developmental perspective, babies are able to sleep through the night — defined as a six- to eight-hour stretch — without eating when they're between 4 and 6 months old. In this age range, most babies reach the 12- to 13-pound mark, the weight where they no longer metabolically need nighttime feedings.

Do moms need more sleep than dads? ›

And at the end of the day, moms sleep at least 20% less than dads and are more prone to feeling tired during the day than women without children. So how does parenting affect the sleep of mothers? Moms would have more sleep disruptions at night considering that they play the role of the primary caregiver to the baby.

Is parenting only mothers responsibility? ›

Raising children isn't a duty to be fulfilled solely by a mother, but a responsibility that is to be equally shared by both the parents. A mother and a father play different roles in the upbringing of a child.

What are the two most important responsibilities of being a parent? ›

A parent in the United States must meet their child's basic needs. This means that they give their child medical care, housing, education, and food. In addition, parents are expected to meet a child's emotional and physical needs. They are responsible for protecting their child from harm and abuse.

Should both parents discipline at the same time? ›

Both you and your spouse should be willing to discipline, and consistent with each other when you do. Consistency is the root of good discipline. This is even more important in the case of divorce—clear ground rules should be set and followed no matter whom your child is with.

What are the 7 roles of a father? ›

Stephen Kendrick outlines seven roles that a father plays in the life of his family: provider, protector, leader, teacher, helper, encourager, and friend.

What are the 5 responsibilities of a mother? ›

To care as a mother is to cook good food, create a clean home, provide clean clothing, read to your children, teach them, include them in family life, encourage, teach and play.

How do I balance my kids and husband? ›

Here are some ways to make your marriage a higher priority while you're raising kids:
  1. Send Them to Bed. Set regular bedtimes for the kids. ...
  2. Daily Check-in. ...
  3. Be Affectionate. ...
  4. Take Time to Be Physically Intimate. ...
  5. Go on Dates. ...
  6. Pray Together. ...
  7. Set Boundaries with the Kids. ...
  8. Make Decisions Together.
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What is a balanced parenting style? ›

Balanced parenting is a parenting style first described by scientists in the 1960s. It includes high warmth and support for your child along with appropriate monitoring and discipline. We sometimes use the words “authoritative” or “lighthouse” parenting instead of “balanced,” but they mean the same thing.

What is the golden rule for babies? ›

"Do unto others"… One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. When teaching The Golden Rule, look for opportunities to praise and encourage your child when they exhibit the rule's behaviour.

What is the most kids born to one parent? ›

The most fertile woman in history is alleged to be an 18th-century Russian peasant called Valentina Vassilyev. Between 1725 and 1765, she is recorded as giving birth to a total of 69 children – 67 of whom survived infancy. This included 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets.

Are babies exactly 50 of each parent? ›

You receive 50% of your genes from each of your parents, but the percentages of DNA you received from ancestors at the grandparent level and further back are not necessarily neatly divided in two with each generation.

Who is the primary caregiver of a child mother or father? ›

The study also mentions that American mothers have served as the primary caregivers of infants and young children. Mothers are more likely to engage in caregiving practices than fathers. In high-income countries, the study mentions that fathers are more involved with child care compared to mothers.

Is it an obligation to take care of your child? ›

Parents are legally required to support their minor children. Supporting your children includes providing food, clothing, shelter, and basic care. Failing to provide for your children can lead to neglect or abuse charges in most states.

What to do when your wife runs away with your child? ›

If you just learned that your spouse plans to leave with your children, reach out to a divorce and child custody lawyer right away. You will likely want to file a request for custody with the court.

How many couples split after a baby? ›

New research shows that a fifth of couples break up in the first year after the baby is born and the most common reason is a diminishing sex life, constant arguing and lack of communication.

How do you balance parenting and marriage? ›

Scheduling one-on-one time, making time for intimacy, and expressing gratitude can help you balance your family and your marriage. If you're still feeling overwhelmed by parenthood, a licensed therapist can be a good resource.

How do I leave an unhappy marriage with my kids? ›

Here are some tips for anyone ending a marriage with kids who don't wish to end their family.
  1. Really understand your marriage (and divorce) before you pull the trigger.
  2. Explore what your new family structure should look like.
  3. Be thoughtful about your new homes.
  4. Create and maintain clear, consistent boundaries.

How do I make space between my husband and me? ›

How to Maintain Space in Your Relationship
  1. Communicate With Your Partner. In order to create space in your relationship, you will need to openly communicate with your partner. ...
  2. Schedule Time for Self-Care. ...
  3. Set Boundaries. ...
  4. Find Small Ways to Create Space. ...
  5. Broaden Your Support System.
Dec 24, 2020

How is a husband and wife supposed to treat each other? ›

The Bible also says, “Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body” (Ephesians 5:28-30).

Who does more housework in marriage? ›

Couples in these marriages spend roughly the same amount of time on leisure per week, but women do considerably more caregiving and housework. Wives spend an average of 9.4 hours per week on caregiving (compared with 4.4 hours for husbands), and they spend 7.3 hours on housework (vs. 1.4 hours for husbands).

How do I get my husband to do chores without nagging? ›

According to marriage consultant, Sheri Stritof, there are several steps couples can take to divide up household chores:
  1. Learn about priorities. As a couple discuss what is truly important to each of you. ...
  2. Anticipate roadblocks. ...
  3. Agree on a timetable. ...
  4. Touch base on a plan each week. ...
  5. Keep reevaluating. ...
  6. Hire help.

Should the housework be divided equally? ›

Women are happiest with a household arrangement that lets them share most or all tasks equally, the research showed. Sharing even one task makes women “significantly more satisfied” with their relationship than women who do most or nearly all the housework.

How do you share responsibilities in a marriage? ›

How to balance responsibilities in your relationship
  1. Be clear about when you need help. ...
  2. Allow your partner to do things their way, not yours. ...
  3. Don't try to split everything up evenly. ...
  4. Talk about improving your relationship when you aren't fighting.

How couples should split expenses? ›

Split bills by income

Consequently, many couples opt to split bills proportionally according to each partner's income. For example, if Partner A makes $6,000 per month, and Partner B makes $4,000 per month, their total income is $10,000. Partner A earns 60% of that, while Partner B brings in 40%.

Who comes first your child or your husband? ›

The vows make it clear that the relationship comes first. It's one of the biggest reasons why your spouse should come first. Putting the children first diminishes the commitment and dishonors your wife. Putting each other first creates the kind of confidence that causes love to thrive and children to feel secure.

How many couples split up after having a baby? ›

New research shows that a fifth of couples break up in the first year after the baby is born and the most common reason is a diminishing sex life, constant arguing and lack of communication.

How do I involve my husband with my newborn? ›

Here are a few ways I try to foster the dad-child bond at our house:
  1. Get Your Partner Involved at Feeding Times. ...
  2. Let Your Partner and Baby Cuddle Up. ...
  3. Make Bath Time a Family Event. ...
  4. Have Your Partner Become Part of Your Morning Routine. ...
  5. Have Your Partner Read a Bedtime Story. ...
  6. Let Your Partner and Baby Develop Their Own Thing.
Jul 1, 2019

How to do equal parenting? ›

Equal Parenting: 11 Ways to Create an Equal Household
  1. Be a Team. ...
  2. Shed the 'Breadwinner' Mentality. ...
  3. Schedule Alone Time. ...
  4. Schedule Couple Time. ...
  5. Make Sure That You Both Spend Time Alone With Your Newborn. ...
  6. Meld Your Parenting Styles. ...
  7. Create a Chore Chart. ...
  8. Switch Things Up.
Dec 1, 2015

Does a child need their mother or father more? ›

Father and mother – children need both of them for healthy development. It is less about gender-specific role models and more about biological sex itself. When mom and dad are equally available, babies prefer... both, Swedish family therapist Jesper Juul says.

Should I put my wife or mother first? ›

Your wife should always come first. Before you get married, it is okay to take your mother's side and follow her advice and opinions. However, once you get hitched, your wife automatically becomes your first priority. Your wife's opinions and input should take precedence.

Do males take after mom or dad? ›

#3 Y-Linked Inheritance (for Sons)

All men inherit a Y chromosome from their father, which means all traits that are only found on the Y chromosome come from dad, not mom. The Supporting Evidence: Y-linked traits follow a clear paternal lineage.

What priority should your spouse be? ›

Putting your partner first means his or her needs, feelings, and wellbeing take priority over other people or things. A “sense of we” forms as you maintain this priority on purpose each day. You protect your relationship from being destroyed or damaged. You tend to your connection so it feels good to you both.

Should a couple stay together for a baby? ›

The short-term answer is usually yes. Children thrive in predictable, secure families with two parents who love them and love each other. Separation is unsettling, stressful, and destabilizing unless there is parental abuse or conflict. In the long term, however, divorce can lead to happier outcomes for children.

What is the divorce rate after first child? ›

Couples who had a baby first and married later in the earlier period were 60% more likely to divorce than couples who married before they had a child.

Do couples grow apart after baby? ›

Researchers have found that about 67 percent of couples experience a decline in relationship satisfaction in the first three years of a baby's life (Gottman, 2015) and this deterioration often persists into subsequent years (Doss et al., 2009).

How long should mom stay home with baby? ›

While six weeks has long been the traditional timeline for rest and recuperation after a birth, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends ongoing postpartum care from birth to 12 weeks. Six weeks is also the standard recovery time allotted for childbirth-related short-term disability leave.

How long should the father stay at home with a newborn? ›

Most dads I know took one or two weeks off after the birth, and then when it came time to go back, wished they'd taken more. So, my advice to any first time dads-to-be out there is this: take as much time as you can hustle from your boss, factoring in what you can financially afford.

How long should my husband stay home after baby? ›

The Family & Medical Leave Act (FMLA), gives eligible workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off after the birth or placement of a child. FMLA applies to fathers and non-birthing parents in addition to mothers, and in 2015, the law was amended to include same-sex couples too.


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