March 22, 2023

Want to have a better sex life?
The key may lie outside of the bedroom… perhaps in the bins, or inside the dishwasher.
Tara Blair Ball, 38, is a relationship coach who lives with her husband Brian, a 46-year-old marketing manager, in Memphis, Tennessee, US.
After the birth of the couple’s youngest daughter in October 2020, Tara had the idea to work up a colour-coded chore-splitting spreadsheet, so she and her partner could assign each other tasks.
The couple had always had a verbal agreement regarding who did what around the house but wanted to be organised to make the chores more manageable for each of them.
Now they use a spreadsheet split up by the chores, who is doing it, how often and the standard it should be done to – and colour-code to illustrate whether it’s something that needs to be done daily or weekly.
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Tara says the spreadsheet doesn’t just ensure their house is in good shape and admin is taken care of – having it has also improved their sex life.
Tasks such as food shopping, vacuuming, taking out the bins, organising plans with friends, and picking up the kids, are all divvied up.
Tara and Brian each do the jobs they prefer, and say that sitting down and going through everything that they do has made them more appreciative of each other.
Each week they have a relationship ‘check-in’, and can also use this time to make tweaks to the spreadsheet if they need.
‘The spreadsheet really helps us split up the chores and it’s left us each with more energy and improved our sex life,’ said Tara.
‘I’ve never liked the laundry, so Brian does that and I’m on dishwasher duty.
‘We have a weekly check-in on a Sunday evening about our relationship.
‘We share what’s bothering us, what’s gone well and what we’ve appreciated that week.
‘It also gives us opportunity to tweak the spreadsheet for that list depending on what’s going on that week.’
The couple chose to organise their jobs around their house when their youngest daughter, Brienne, now one, was born and Brian wasn’t happy with the state of the floors.
‘I can live in a degree of filth,’ Tara explained. ‘But Brian hated having the floors cluttered and mucky.
‘I was struggling with more of the mental tasks – like setting appointments.
‘So we sat down and went through everything we each do and how we can split it up or make it more manageable between us.
‘It made me so much more appreciative of the stuff he does.
‘It was important to lay out the standard we need each chore to be completed to, so everyone was satisfied.
‘For example, doing the dishwasher involves scraping the plates, rinsing them and putting them in.
‘If your partner isn’t doing a task to the right standard, I always advise consequences.
‘After a couple of warnings of them not scraping the plates before putting them in the dishwasher, I would then serve their dinner on one of those plates.’
Tara recommends a similar system for other couples, noting that a fair breakdown of tasks helps to avoid resentment.
‘It’s important to remember that you deserve a break if you are the one at home often doing all the housework,” she said.
‘Sitting down and dividing up the tasks for what works for you helps a lot of couples I work with.
‘It’s important to keep coming back to it each week and checking it’s still working for you both.
‘A lot of my clients say it’s made their sex lives better as it gives them more energy as they are not so tired after being bogged down my tasks.
‘Dividing labour between partners is crucial for a healthy relationship.’
Don’t worry – Brian backs this too. He’s not secretly hating taking the bins out.
He said: ‘We each have daily, weekly, monthly, and annual tasks we are responsible for.
‘This way we feel like equal partners and are accountable for completing our tasks so neither of us feel undervalue or unappreciated.
‘I love my wife’s friend and think of her during sex: Should I risk it all for her?’
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‘For me I work best off a list until something becomes a habit. It lets me know what is expected of me in our relationship.
‘I know every Thursday night the trash needs to be take out to the curb. I set a reminder but 95% of the time I have the task completed before my reminder goes off.
‘This way Tara does not have to worry about them not getting finished and she does not feel like she has to manage me to do my part.
‘Every couple should be doing a weekly check in. Set a standing time for 30 to 60 minutes once a week to review a set of questions that are important to your relationship.’
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