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Division of labor in the family

How do couples get an equitable split right?

A fair partnership wants to be negotiated with each other

Few things influence a partnership as much as starting a family. Living together with children changes roles and shifts priorities. This makes it all the more important to reach new agreements and negotiate important issues with each other. In the following article, you will learn why a fair division of family work is important for a happy partnership and how you can shape it.


Rules provide security

Reliable rules and agreements provide security - not only for children, but also for adults. How should work and family responsibilities be divided? How do we organize the household and childcare? How do we envision life together? When there is clarity about important issues such as raising children, finances, roles in family and work, and household tasks, the partnership can better withstand stress. This requires many conversations about the equitable division of labor.

Tips and food for thought for leading the conversation

The most important thing in a good relationship is to remain in dialogue and to exchange ideas about one's own and common ideas. How couples communicate with each other determines whether arguments strain the relationship or whether a solution is found together. The following communication rules help to treat each other with respect and appreciation.

Good time - good conversation

Even if it is a matter of completely reorganizing family life or setting an important course for the future, you should seek discussion with each other in good time. Take time and space for it. Arrange a date together when you are both relaxed. If necessary, organize childcare during this time. The offspring have lost nothing in such a one-on-one conversation!

The goal: a joint solution

Always keep in mind during the conversation: it's not about being right or defending your position at all costs. Try to take a neutral perspective and eliminate personal sensitivities. After all, you have a common goal: you want to find an amicable solution for your family.

Staying objective

Describe the problem and your position as objectively as possible. A negotiation meeting is not the place for mutual accusations or insults. Are you afraid that you will not be able to control your emotions and remain objective? Then you can also formulate your view and your ideas in writing first.

Let's make excuses

It is a matter of respect to let your counterpart finish. In a negotiation meeting, everyone should have the right to state their position. To ensure that no one is short-changed "in the heat of the moment," you can, for example, set a specific speaking time per person for a statement at the beginning of the conversation (have a stopwatch ready!). Talking is strictly forbidden - only afterwards may the other person respond to the arguments. You can take notes so that you don't forget anything.


Be all ears

It's not just your voice that speaks, your body does too. Signal with your gestures and facial expressions that you are interested in an amicable solution: Maintain eye contact and acknowledge your counterpart by nodding. Make sure that your voice is normal and that the tempo of your speech is calm. Folded arms seem dismissive; an open body posture, on the other hand, emphasizes your approachability.

Keep rules in writing

Have you found solutions together? Then you should definitely record this sense of achievement in writing. Write down together which rules are important for your life together and which agreements you have made. By the way, family rules that are written down together and possibly even signed by everyone are also a good reminder for children: they create commitment and help to stick to them in everyday life.

When two don't get on ...

Despite all efforts, sometimes it is not possible to resolve important issues constructively with each other. Do you feel similarly? Then you should look for professional help. Specially trained mediators can help you find a solution that works for all sides. You can find appropriately trained specialists at municipal and church family counseling centers. The advice there - in contrast to the offers of independent mediators - is free of charge.

Where can I find help and support?

When it comes to solving partnership problems and conflicts, the experienced professionals at the pregnancy conflict and family counseling centers can help. They provide competent and professional advice. The offer is usually free of charge. Via the counseling center finder on the portal of the Federal Center for Health Education, you can find a counseling center near you with just a few clicks.

More informationDownload

The flyer "Let's make it fair! Planning job and family together" of the Federal Employment Agency summarizes how you can reconcile child(ren) and job and why early joint planning is worthwhile



Here you can download the communication rules with tips and food for thought on how to conduct a conversation.