There’s a reason the idiom “working your fingers to the bone” is so widely understood! Sometimes, especially with today’s levels of stress on the job, in society, and on the world stage, it seems like we never really get to rest.

We work our fingers to the bone. We are bone-weary. And when we do finally get a chance to stop for a minute, we usually remember that there is someone with whom we’ve got a bone to pick!

Make no bones about it, there are plenty of skeletal idioms floating around out there. And one of the most common reasons for foisting your phalanges in the face of family members is because you’re sick and tired – bone-tired – of them not doing their share of the chores around here!

According to this Harvard Business School study from 2018, approximately 25% of divorced couples cited arguments about household responsibilities and chores as the reason for their divorce. 25%! That’s a whole lot of destructive bone-picking! The same study suggested that a potential remedy to this frightening statistic may be for couples to purchase time-saving services, like grocery deliveries and house cleaning, so they can spend more quality time together. Not a bad idea. But what if you’re already living on a bare-bones income? Or what if your arguments about the chores spill over into many other areas of your relationship, as is almost always the case? Having the groceries delivered may not do much to help if you can’t talk to each other about how to handle the finances, or raise the kids, or whether to take that new job.

We may be tempted to think arguments over chores are trivial and shouldn’t have such a significant impact on our relationships – but statistics show that they do. Why is that?

The skulking skeleton of bone-chilling chores appears in our lives for much the same reason as our other mischievous apparitions, Money Monster, the Ghosts of Intimacy, and Mummy’s Side of the Family. All of them are the restless spirits of unresolved, unhealed issues from our past. Nearly everything you can think of that triggers your anger or irritation today is associated in some way with a past grievance, trauma, or other emotionally charged experience that continues to haunt you from years ago. Maybe today you’re mad that your wife always expects you to be the one to take out the trash because as a kid you got yelled at for not doing it as soon as your dad told you to. Or you saw your mom do all the chores around the house while your dad seemed to be doing nothing, and watched the resentment grow in her year after year.

Whatever the cause of your chore-focused anger, you can rest easy knowing that there is a simple, elegant solution to the arguing, and it lives right in the middle of your skulky-skeleton skull! You can use your brain, and the skills of Safe Conversations, to have open, authentic, compassionate dialogue about the chore situation – and any other situation that’s creeping around in your relationship right now.

Let those wandering spirits of past pain finally RIP.

And get that garage cleaned up, would ya?

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