297: Mastering Communication in Marriage (or Any Relationship!) | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
Intentional Advantage Podcast with Tanya Dalton and John Dalton The secret to a great marriage
April 16, 2024   |   Episode #:

297: Mastering Communication in Marriage (or Any Relationship!)

In This Episode:

Think equal division of chores guarantees happiness in marriage? Think again. The truth is: it’s not the fighting about chores that’s the problem – it’s the lack of communication. In today’s episode we uncover the myth of 50-50 and explore the real ingredients to a successful marriage. John and I are pulling back the curtain on our own 25+ year relationship as we share our own strategies, including understanding each other’s priorities and embracing diverse work styles leading to deeper, more meaningful connections. I’ll also share our five-step approach to divide and conquer household responsibilities, making sure everyone plays to their strengths.

Show Transcript:

Watch the Podcast

The Big Idea

Communication is the key to happier relationships.

Questions I Answer

  • How can I improve communication in my marriage?
  • What are simple ways to divide household chores with your spouse?
  • What is the best way to delegate household tasks in a marriage?
  • How can I communicate better with my family

Topics Covered

  • Division of household labor
  • Communication in marriage
  • Gender roles and chores
  • Effective delegation in relationships
  • Keys for stronger marriage
  • Family Meetings
  • Intentional Relationship Building

Key Moments in the Show

[02:13] Appreciating the Differences in Your Marriage

[08:37] Turning Frustration into Appreciation

[14:10] Dividing Up Chores and Tasks with Your Spouse

[19:23] Deciding Which Tasks Are Important

[21:41] Who’s in Charge?

[25:17] How To Make Sure Tasks Get Done Right

[33:32] How to Build a Strong Supportive Family

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

Tanya Dalton: Hello, hello, everyone. And welcome to the Intentional Advantage podcast. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton. This is episode 297. We had such a great conversation in our last episode talking about strengths and weaknesses and I wanted to really continue that conversation. We touched a lot on communication, we touched a lot on relationships, and I wanted to go even deeper in this episode today.

So, I have John on the show, again, as we’ve been doing. I’m really enjoying having him on the show, It’s so good to get his perspective. Today we’re going to be talking about marriage, relationships, not just marriage, but all kinds of relationships, but also creating really strong communication.

John and I’ve been married for over two decades, 24 years this year. And truly you’ll hear me say this in the episode. Communication is the secret sauce of why we are so ridiculously happy in our marriage. It really is. And so we’re going to talk about communication. We’re going to talk about the division of chores because that is definitely a point of contention in a lot of relationships.

Because in every relationship, we’re going to talk about this. There is one person who loads the dishwasher like a Swedish architect, and there is another person in the relationship who loads it like a raccoon on meth. You might be surprised to find out which one I am. Let’s dive into that. We’re going to talk about that right now.

Let’s get started with the show.

Does your life spark joy? I’m not asking if your life is good or if life feels okay. Does it spark joy? When was the last time you slipped into bed at night and thought, today felt amazing? Because if it’s been more than two or three days, that’s too long. I’m Tanya Dalton, a best selling author, motivational speaker, seven figure entrepreneur, and oh yeah, wife and mom.

So I get it. I understand the stress of daily life. As a productivity expert, I’m here to help you choose the extraordinary life. This season, we will be exploring how we can create more joy and intention into every single day. And it doesn’t have to be so hard. This is The Intentional Advantage.

Appreciating the Differences in Your Marriage

Tanya Dalton: On our last episode, you and I, John, we were talking about strengths and weaknesses and we didn’t have time to get to all the different parts where we talked about communication. And it was funny because just like 2 or 3 days ago. We were sitting downstairs in the living room and we were having this conversation about how I was struggling with some of my work because I am, I’m 100 percent a self starter.

I don’t need external forces motivating me. I’m very internally motivated and I’ve always thought of myself as being a person who just kind of goes off, does their thing and then moves on. Except I’ve been realizing because you’ve been very busy with some of your consulting work that you’re doing. John does some fractional CMO work for different companies that we have not been meeting and strategizing and communicating.

And I realized I don’t work well in a silo and that fits so completely with the conversation we had on the last podcast. And I said to you, I said, you know what? We probably should just be recording this because it was such a great conversation where we talked about how we work, how different we work.

And the way that we communicate and the way that we lean on each other’s strengths. and weaknesses is part of, that’s part of our secret sauce. Wouldn’t you agree?

John Dalton: Yeah. And I think, understanding what about us is different and that’s, I know we’re going to dive into this more, is really what helps us a lot. We also understand where we’re the same, right? Cause we do have some similarities for sure, in terms of some of our personality traits and everything else.

But. A lot of the core ones are different and understanding that makes a big difference in how we work together.

Tanya Dalton: We get a lot of emails and questions about how do you guys make this work? How does your marriage work? We’ve been together a long time.

We are madly in love with each other. We have a great time together. We have so much fun. How do you do it? And I think it is recognizing those differences. So I felt like today on the show, I wanted to touch a little bit back on those strengths because that ties in with everything, how we communicate, and even how we work together.

Because, you know, I was reading the other day that someone had said, I can’t remember who it was. … They were talking about the fact that in every marriage, there’s a how person and there’s a wow person. And the wow person is a hundred percent me. They’re the person who has these big, fast ideas and I’m thinking big.

And I come to you and I’m like, okay, like you’ll be sitting, you’ll just be sitting there working on something. I’ll be like, okay, I have this idea. I can see you bracing yourself. You’re like, all right, I got to buckle up, put my seatbelt on. Here she goes. I’m in the big wow person because I have all these ideas.

Like anything is possible. And you. are the how person. Like, here I am with this gigantic idea, and your question will be, well, how are we going to do that? How is this going to work? How are we going to, right? Like, you’re the one who keeps me tethered to the earth in a lot of ways, which is Very important because I’m floating off into space with these giant ideas and you have a hold of my ankle and you’re like, okay, let’s bring in a little bit of reality, right?

And you’re more of the logistical person. You’re the person who’s paying attention to like, I mean, this sounds great, but who the hell is going to do these things? And how are we going to do these things?

John Dalton: Yeah. And I think, you know, looking back on it, I can understand why you thought I was just throwing cold water on your ideas and saying, well, how are we going to implement that? Or what’s the process for that? I immediately started thinking of the steps, right?

How are we going to execute this? And. Sometimes if you don’t understand the way my brain works, that comes across as me poo pooing your idea, As opposed to, okay, well, let’s talk about how we can make this work.and now that we understand that it makes those conversations work so much better. And really it’s a great, it’s a great balance, or I guess I should say harmony, not balance, right?

In our relationship and how we work together with those ideas.

Tanya Dalton: I totally agree because you need the person who’s there saying, how are we going to do this? And this is actually part of when we were talking about strengths in our last episode. And when you think about who you want to have at your table and what I mean at your table, I mean, in conversations you don’t want to have all the same people.

You want to have different people, different perspective, different ideas, lots of diversity.

Because the way that we all think really does create a better end product, whether that end product is your kids, right? That’s the product you’re creating your kids or you’re in a business,situation and you’re creating products and services or you’re managing a team.

We want to have lots of different ideas. But the thing is, we have to respect that other people have other ways of operating and working. And that did take us a while, because I would feel like you were the splash of cold water. I’d have this, like, fantastic idea, which probably wasn’t even that fantastic, but I thought it was at the time.

And you would bring me down to earth and say, Okay, okay. How are we going to do this? What about all these other things that we’re working on? How are we going to make this work? And now, instead of getting frustrated, now I see this is the important part of, of the whole process. You know, for those of you who are subscribed to my newsletter, which is at tanyadalton.

com slash connect, you know, I shared just this past week, my leadership guide. And in my leadership guide, it very clearly says, not interested in granular details. I like the big picture. I like for you to come to me with these problems that already, you already have solutions for or ideas of how you want to solve them.

I don’t do granular. And that’s part of what’s great is John is very granular. He likes to look at all the little details. I like to say that a good example of how we operate and work at home is I will have this idea for a gallery wall.

I’ll have this idea for this gallery wall and I’ll have it all mapped out. Like I want to do a big picture here at eight by 10 and 11 by 14 and I’ll have this whole vision of what I want. And then I better not get the hammer and nails because I won’t take the time to measure and make it all hang properly.

I’ll just start like putting holes into the wall. John is the person who then comes in and he’s like, all right, I gotcha. I see the vision. Now I’m going to execute it. And that’s how we work together really well. But it did take a lot of communication to get here.

Turning Frustration into Appreciation

John Dalton: I think in doing a lot of that work and understanding how we think and how we work together, we were able to turn that frustration into appreciation. So now with that example you gave with the gallery wall, I understand that you’re better with the vision,

So if we have that project on the front end, you do that work and you come up with what we’re doing. And then I execute it, I have the patience to sit there with a level to make sure things are lined up perfectly straight, because those kinds of details make my brain happy.

And now that you understand that you appreciate it, it doesn’t frustrate you anymore. It’s it’s now, how we work together and it makes things so much better. And the, the end product of whatever it is we’re working on is much better too.

Tanya Dalton: Absolutely. I completely agree. And I think that’s the thing. It’s not just that we have these differences. It’s that we appreciate them. But that is something that has taken a lot of communication and understanding that we need to talk about these things. And we need to talk about the fact that I find it frustrating that you’re a splash of cold water.

You’re like, well, I’m not a splash of cold water. Right? And so we have this communication back and forth. It reminds me of how, not long after you and I got married. It was within our first year of marriage. We were, doing something and I went out with these other women

and one of the women was saying, Oh, my husband’s coming back from a trip. And I said, Oh, well, you should, you should go and meet with him. And she goes, no, I’m not interested. I’ve been married 10 years. You wait till you’re been married 10 years. You wait till you’ve been married 10 years and we’ll see how excited you are to see your husband.

And I thought, Oh, that’s so sad. And I thought, is this just part of being a newlywed that I am excited to see him when he comes home or when he’s been gone on a trip? And I think that interaction really got me to think about what I did want when we had been married 10 years. What did I want that to look like?

I didn’t want to think, I don’t care if my husband comes home from a five day business trip. I wanted to be excited. And so it is a lot of times making these little compromises and talking. A lot about what you’re interested, what I’m interested in,

So it’s this regular communication and that is truly the secret sauce of our marriage is the communication, because here we are 24 years later and I’ll tell you what, that woman was wrong. When we had been married 10 years, I was still fired up when you came home from a business trip. And now 24 years, I’m still fired up when he comes home.

When he’s gone for two days, I can’t wait for him to come home. I cannot wait for you to walk in the door because I’m excited to see you. Because we’ve, we’ve kept that connection and I think that’s a big part of it.

John Dalton: Yeah, it definitely is. And you know, the, the communication part is key.

I feel like a lot of people, keep their lives separate and they don’t talk about the hunting trip or the girl’s night out and it just creates more distance over time. And that’s why 10 years down the road, you find a lot of people like that woman you were talking about who they just.

They kind of lost their way. They’re on different paths and they didn’t stay connected and they don’t communicate and we made a conscious decision that that’s not what we were going to do. And there’s still plenty of things that I do and that you do that we don’t do together or that I’m not interested in or that you’re not interested in, which is totally fine.

But we, we ask about it. You know, we try to stay connected and understand like you have some friends that I never even met before. I wouldn’t recognize him if I bumped into him in the street, but you go out to have tea with your friend, Maura, and I ask about it and you tell me about the conversation. So I feel like I’m at least a part of it somehow.

And then you feel like I’m interested in what you’re doing, even if it doesn’t involve me. So I think a lot of that really helps us stay connected in such a great way.

Tanya Dalton: I think that really does make a huge difference for us and how our marriage works I think that It’s really easy to only have the kids in common to or only talk about things with your kids So making sure we were always very conscious when we go out and we’d have date nights One of our rules was we couldn’t talk about the kids and we couldn’t talk about, because especially with us working together, that could turn into a work meeting or it could turn into a full conversation about, oh, what do we need to do about this?

Or should we ground this kid or whatever? It was like, we had to find other things to talk about. And I think that’s really been helpful in our marriage. I think too, and this is really one of the things I want to dive into for this next part of the podcast is the division of labor, because I think that’s an area of contention for a lot of marriages and a lot of not just marriages, even if it’s a significant other or even a roommate situation where you’re, you know, living with other people and there’s not a happy division of the chores and the housework.

You and I talk about this a lot because I think the way that we divide up our chores and the way that we divide up household things is very, very different than a lot of people. We do not play into a lot of the gender roles at all. And for a long time, I was the main breadwinner and you were the one who was Running carpool or, you know, doing the laundry and doing some of those tasks that are traditionally a woman’s job, which I hate even saying that, but it’s the truth that a lot of those jobs are seen as women’s work And I’m not saying that. Men are not fantastic allies to us, but there is this pervasive belief.

Dividing Up Chores and Tasks with Your Spouse

Tanya Dalton: I did a lot of research before we dove into this podcast episode, looking at why is it that there’s this struggle a lot of times, especially with men and women, with the household chores and the jobs and why is it, And this is a true fact.

Why is it that women are still doing the lion’s share of the chores at home? And it was fascinating. I know you and I have talked a lot about it preparing for this episode, but what I found interesting is it’s traditionally in heterosexual marriages and relationships that you see this very wide division of taking care of the house is woman’s work and the other things are the men’s men’s work going out and working.

Even though the woman is working, even though she might be even the main breadwinner in a lot of these relationships. I have women I know who are making three times what their husbands are making, and yet they’re still in charge of all the child care and laundry and getting dinner on the table and all of those things.

So it was really interesting to dive into this research because you don’t see that same division between same sex couples. So in this research that I was looking up, they were saying heterosexual couples, they tend to follow along gender lines. Same sex couples relationships, they don’t have that division.

It seems like a more of a 50 50 split, but here’s what’s interesting. Once they have children, all of a sudden that changes. I thought that was fascinating. Like it’s all of a sudden whoever is taking care of the children, they’re then deemed into the household slash women’s work.

John Dalton: It’s almost like it’s not necessarily a men’s role versus a woman’s role. It’s more the provider versus the caretaker, right? And so I think when we read that article about the same sex couples, And when they have children, I was like, Oh, I mean, it makes sense. You fall into those traditional roles.

And traditionally the man was the provider and the woman was the caretaker and somehow we have trouble breaking free of that. but I thought that was interesting that it happened in the same sex marriages too, once they introduced kids into the whole thing. And it kind of makes sense, but at the same time, We can do better than that.

Tanya Dalton: We can do so much better. I mean, in the research that we found, even as recently as 2010, women were doing twice the household chores than the husbands were. Twice the household chores. That’s crazy. And these women are going out and doing amazing things with their own careers. And yet somehow they’re expected to do this.

And there is this pervasive belief. And this is not just in the United States or Western cultures. It’s pervasive around the world that as women start to go into certain areas of industry. And they’re seeing this, for example, in a lot of medical fields, in the healthcare industry. When there starts to be more women in a certain industry, so say, for example, obstetrics, or like a certain genre, we’ll say, of medicine, when women start becoming the majority, or even a larger minority than they, what they used to be, the pay decreases

dramatically as soon as women come on as these experts. And that I think is really interesting. And that says a lot about how society still looks at women and our roles. Our time is not seen as important as it is for men. It has much lower value. And I don’t understand why that is, but I do think

that can be the heart of a lot of issues with a marriage.

John Dalton: I found this research that we were diving into so fascinating because it does explain why there can be this misunderstanding about whose work or whose job it is at home to do these different things,

Tanya Dalton: And one of the things that this study found was it’s not even about a 50 50 division of the labor at home. That’s not what makes couples happy. It’s if you feel each individual feels like they are sharing and that they like the household duties that they’re doing. There’s always going to be duties you don’t like to do.

I said duties.

John Dalton: hmm.

Tanya Dalton: There’s always going to be chores and tasks that you don’t really love to do, but if there’s a division where someone else is taking on some of those chores that you don’t like as much at least, the, the satisfaction in that relationship dramatically increases. So, I think it’s really important that you’re making sure that you’re communicating all of these things.

So, when I was thinking about this and how, you know, going back through the decades that you and I have been together, how we started really dividing up and figuring out, I came up with five steps that really can help you with the division of labor in your relationship. Whether it’s a marriage or a roommate situation or a significant other, someone that you’re living with.

It really does help to do these five things. So I want to go through those with you. John, you and I have talked about this. This is definitely things that we have done.

Deciding Which Tasks Are Important

Tanya Dalton: The first step is setting the priorities. Now, that seems like a strange thing, although it doesn’t. Coming for me, come on. We talk about priorities all the time

on here.

But the truth is, How many people are doing chores that you really don’t give a shit about?

I mean, quite frankly, sometimes we’re doing things because that’s what we think we are supposed to do. So for example, making the bed in the morning. We make the bed in the morning. It makes us very happy when we walk in the room and that feels good.

If you are a person who does not care if the bed is made, why are you doing it? If you genuinely don’t care, whether the bet is made. Don’t do it. Take some of those things off of your task list. So really choosing what do we need to do? What’s essential? What are the tasks that we absolutely have to do?

There are always tasks that we absolutely have to do that are essential. What are the tasks that are important? And this is a great conversation to have with the person you’re living with or with your team.

what are the tasks that are really important? What are the ones that we’re doing that we can just stop? What are the things that we don’t really care about that we’re doing just because we’re supposed to be doing? So it is first really setting those priorities. We need to do these things.

These things are important. These things are essential. These things, oh, let’s stop doing those. Let’s just quit. And that’s okay.

John Dalton: Yeah, and I think it’s important to understand, too, the differences in your priorities versus my priorities, right? And that’s the same in any relationship. Like there’s things that in the house are important for you that aren’t important for me and vice versa, but you need to have that communication.

Like I know for you, you like to walk in the door and not see a bunch of crap, either on the stairs from the garage or in the laundry room, which is the first room that you walk into. Not that important to me, but because I know it’s important to you, I will stop and make sure that I’m going to pick those towels up off the floor in the laundry room, because that’s going to drive Tanya crazy, even though it doesn’t bother me.

So it’s some of those little tiny things. Understanding each other’s priorities makes a big difference.

Tanya Dalton: Absolutely. For me, the garage, I like the garage to be very neat. That to me is my welcome home. This is the first thing I see when I’m coming back home. That’s my greeting is the garage. So that’s a sticking point for me, which I love that you pointed that out because that gets me to the second step. So the first step was setting the priorities.

Who’s in Charge?

Tanya Dalton: And then the second step is setting the assignments. Listen, if this is important to you, then maybe you should be the one in charge of it. So for example, the garage, as I just mentioned, That’s important to me. I feel like I pull the car in. I don’t want to see a bunch of stuff in the garage. I don’t want to see a bunch of junk there.

I don’t want to see the laundry room, which is the room we essentially see right when we walk in the door. I don’t want to see that looking messy. So when we painted the house, I painted the garage. The garage is painted a color. It makes me happy. The garage is neat. That’s my domain that I make sure is nice and neat.

That’s my assignment. And so, you know, Last week on Not Rocket Science, that’s my sub stack, my resource hub of information, I had a four minute video where I walk through a process you can do with your employees to make sure that they’re doing things that they really like and get them ignited and fired up and excited about their jobs.

You can do that same process,

What I think is important is it’s not you assigning people. It’s having a meeting as a team, whether it’s you and your significant other or you, your significant other and your children. Or whoever it is on that team at home and having a conversation about what is it you like to do? What is it you want to do more of?

And as I said in that video that I posted, there’s always going to be tasks you don’t like. We want to make sure that someone is not overloaded with, they’re always doing the tasks that nobody likes. Like nobody likes picking up the dog poop. I mean, I’ll be honest, I’m not sure who in the world enjoy speaking of dog poop, but so we make sure that that’s rotated.

Right? And we like speaking of the dog poop. So, if you haven’t seen that video, definitely go check that out on my Substack. I’ll put a link in the show notes. But check that out because here’s the thing that happens. A lot of times you feel like I’m doing all this work and you’re doing nothing, but we don’t say anything about it.

We don’t say, Hey, I’m noticing that I’m doing all these things. I don’t like them. What can you help me with? It’s like, we’re afraid to have that. difficult conversation with someone to say, I’m not happy with how things are running. I like to say that the first five minutes of those conversations are the most difficult.

Once you get past the first five minutes, so much easier, right? But you have the conversation and talk about who’s going to do what. Take that list that you just talked about when you set your priorities and say, okay, who’s in charge of this? Who’s in charge of that? Who wants to do this? Because there’s going to be some tasks people love.

I love cleaning windows. It’s kind of a random task, but it makes me feel so happy. I feel like when I clean the windows, the house looks clean. So I’m very happy to take on that chore. So there’s certain things that might surprise you that people like. A lot of people like mowing the grass. I also enjoy mowing the grass.

I know you do as well. It’s very satisfying to me seeing those lines of grass getting mowed down. So talk about what do you like? What do you not like? And start figuring out who’s in charge of what.

John Dalton: Those conversations about giving assignments. It’s not giving people orders, right? You’re having a conversation so you can come to an agreement. it’s a team thing. It’s not a drill sergeant kind of you’re going to do this

we can make this a conversation and make it work a lot better And for me vacuuming is kind of like washing the windows like I enjoy that It makes me feel good to walk around the house barefoot and not step on dog food or, flour that we dropped on the floor in the kitchen. I really like the clean floor.

So I do that because it’s important to me, but you can’t, you don’t know that if you don’t have the conversations

Tanya Dalton: Yeah, absolutely. And I like that you like to vacuum. That makes me very happy.

How To Make Sure Tasks Get Done Right

Tanya Dalton: Let’s talk about step three. So we’ve talked about the first two steps. The third step is setting expectations. And I’ll be honest, this is probably the step that most people miss. They say, I want the floor to be cleaned. I want your room to be clean.

Right? And then there’s no parameters. There’s no idea of what success looks like. And the truth is

How can we achieve success if we don’t know what success looks like?

Making sure from the front end, you are setting the expectation of this is what I define. This is what I define as organized.

that’s really important. Back, you know, years ago, with the kids, instead of saying, clean your room, and then we’d come upstairs and we’d be like, your room’s not clean. And they’d say, yeah, it is. I came up with a room inspection where it was like, here’s a little checklist of what my expectations are.

You’re not gonna have things shoved underneath your dresser, right? The closet floor is cleaned. It was just a short little checklist so they understood, oh, this is what mom’s looking for. Because the word clean means a lot of things to a lot of people, and if you have children, you know their definition of clean is not the same as yours.

Right. So I think that’s really important is making sure that you’re setting those expectations. And this is exactly like delegation, quite frankly. And that’s 1 of the big mistakes, a lot of people make in delegation is they delegate some something. They delegate a task to someone and they don’t take the time to define success.

This is what the expectations are. And then we’re disappointed and we’re irritated and we end up taking it back because they haven’t done it the way that we think it should be done. But if you don’t set those expectations on the front end, they don’t know what to do. So essentially what we’re doing in step three is delegating.

So we talk a lot about delegation. Delegation happens at home and actually now that I think about it, I think that the sub stack, the email I’m going to send out today is going to be about delegation. I have a whole delegation blueprint that you can walk through that shows you how you set the expectations, what that meeting looks like.

So I will send that out today and I’ll put a link to that. But if you’ll go to Tanya Dalton dot com slash connect. You’ll make sure that you get that email and you’ll make sure that you get that delegation. Even if you don’t get it this week, I’ll, I’ll send the link as well in the following week. So make sure you’re signed up for my sub stack.

I’m going to go ahead and send you that delegation blueprint just because I think it really does change the game. We all have different expectations. You know, I’ve seen, this meme out there that says in every marriage, there’s a person who loads the dishwasher like a Swedish architect. And there’s a person who loads the dishwasher like a raccoon on meth.

And I think that’s true. I think that’s true. And you know what? I know who that person is in my marriage. That person in my marriage who loads the dishwasher like a raccoon on meth is me. I, I don’t have the patience. for loading the dishwasher in the way that John wants it. So now we know I take the dishes after they’re clean, if I’m cleaning up the dishes, I stack them right where the dishwasher is, and he loads them.

Or he’s trained the kids how to load them. Quite frankly, I have purposely not trained myself how to load it because I can, I can excuse myself from that task. But. I am the raccoon on meth loading the dishwasher. John is the Swedish architect and other and other areas of our world. The junk drawer. I’m the Swedish architect.

You are the raccoon on meth.

But that that’s why too, when we’re having that conversation about the assignments, it’s really important to understand who is going to be better at this job. And then. This third step, which is setting the expectations, right? Because what happens is John has a very specific way.

He wants the dishwasher loaded. All right, whatever. I don’t care. As long as the dishes get clean. But what happens is if you have something very specific that you want to do, then you end up, you know, I’m just unloading the whole dishwasher and I’m reloading it myself. So what happens is eventually that person’s like, all right, I’m not going to do it.

Right? And then we get frustrated because we’re like, they never do this job. Well, if you have a very specific way of doing it, you have to set that expectation and let them know. So John has told me how he likes the dishwasher to be loaded and we have an agreement. I’ll, I will clean the dishes, I’ll stack them right above it and he loads it and that works.

That might not work for you, but that works for us. Those are the expectations.

John Dalton: it’s all about the conversation, And if you’re thinking about this from a work standpoint, it’s, it’s training, right? so for example, if you want your son to mow the yard, And you say, you need to mow the yard. Well, you don’t know what that means to him, right? But if, if that means to you that you mow the yard, you edge with the weed eater, and then you use the blower to clean off the patio, the driveway and the back deck, well, you need to tell them that’s what you mean by mow the yard.

And if you don’t, you can’t get frustrated if they do it wrong because you never taught them how to do it to what your expectation levels are. So if they’re not doing it the way you want that’s your fault because you haven’t told them what those expectations are. So don’t get frustrated with them if they’re not meeting your expectations, if you never told them what your expectations were.

that’s a huge part of it is setting those expectations.

Tanya Dalton: It’s so important to understand the assignment and the expectation.

We do that at work. We do that at home. I like to say that your home is a business. It’s a nonprofit. The product you’re creating are well adjusted children or morals and values for you and your family. All of that is important, whether you have kids or not. Your home is run a lot, a lot of times in very similar ways to what you’re doing at the office.

This is just delegation. and again, I will talk about delegation on the sub stack on not rocket science, because I think it is so important that we understand how to do this. All right, let’s move to step number four, because step number four is meet regularly. So it is having this communication, you know, as I mentioned earlier with the dog poop example, I like that I said dog poop now multiple times on the podcast, but nobody wants that job on a regular basis.

Nobody wants that job. So we make sure that we meet regularly so that we can rotate some of those Not so fun jobs, those dirty jobs or those ones that nobody really wants to do. So we do a family meeting. We always call it a team planning and I actually have a YouTube video. So i’ll i’ll include that as well when i’m sending out emails and all those things.

We have a video where we walk through how we do our team planning on Sundays and that’s part of that meeting. Hey, what’s going on? All right, Jack, you’ve been in charge of, you know, this chore that nobody wants to do for, for 3 weeks. All right, it’s K’s turn to take the chore for the next 3 weeks or for the next month or however you want to rotate it.

That allows everyone to feel like, okay, at least I’m only doing it for a short amount of time. Right? And that’s very similar actually to how you and I split up feeding babies when we had babies. When we had infants, right, we would do at night, we would bottle feed at night, we’d go three days on, three days off.

So I would be on for three days. And then I would, and then John would be on for three days and then I would be on for three days and then John would be on for three days and that really worked because you never got to a point where you were so exhausted and angry and cranky and all of those things where you’re snapping at each other because that first night that you’re off, it’s kind of like how oil rig workers do it, where they do these six weeks on and then six weeks off you go, you get in that mode and you’re like, all right, I’m going to get up for the next three nights.

That’s doable, right? Totally doable to get up for the next three nights. Well, after you’ve done your three nights, your three day tour or three night tour, those first three days where you’re off, you’re like the first day you’re not sleeping great, but you’re okay. Second night, get a little bit better sleep.

Third night you sleep solid. And then you’re back up and running for being back on for baby feeding. And that worked well for us. So it’s really important. You want to have this, this almost like a pattern or a rhythm where it’s like, okay, I can do this. This is short term. It’s not forever. Some chores are really either dirty or they’re just chores nobody likes or they’re chores that are really big.

So making sure that you’re rotating that. The other thing that’s great about meeting regularly is that it allows us to support each other. That’s one of the things in our team meetings that we have on Sundays is, hey, what’s everybody have going on? So let’s say that Kay has a lot going on for, she has her ACT.

Okay. That she’s preparing for this week. She’s taking your ACT this week. Okay, Kay’s got her ACT. What do you need us to take off your plate? Because we’re here to support you. So we’re doing more of her chores while she’s preparing for the ACT. And then the following week, maybe Jack has something and we’re all kind of shoring up and working together so that no one’s feeling overwhelmed.

And there are times where I’m the one who has too much on my plate going on. Like, as I was preparing for launching the sub stack, it was like, okay, I can’t do all the other things. So the kids came in and did more of the chores and you came in and took care of some of my chores.

We work together and that creates that team mentality. I think that’s why. We do have such a close knit family is we have this regular communication, this regular opportunity to, to connect and talk about what’s going on.

and I think also it gives you the opportunity when you have those meetings to make adjustments, right? like you mentioned, Tanya, with you’re having a heavy week. We can pick up some of the slack. That’s part of the adjustment.

John Dalton: Sometimes it’s like, maybe the expectations we set weren’t realistic. To begin with, and we need to change them, you know, with the yard, maybe we can’t edge it anymore because the weed eaters broken. So we need to adjust those, but it allows you with those regular conversations to make sure that we can make those adjustments.

Everybody’s concerns or whatever being heard. and everyone feels supported and like they’re a part of the team. So it’s, it’s extremely important to make sure that you’re meeting regularly.

Tanya Dalton: Well, essentially what you just did was said step number five, which is reassess, make adjustments, which do they happen together. So it is this idea of, hey, what’s working. I like what you said there. Like maybe the weed eater’s not working. What can we let go of? What do we have to get fixed? Are these things really important?

Sometimes we take on a task and then we go, we’re going with it. And then also we’re like, why are we doing this again? This really isn’t that important to me. So having the opportunity to reassess, and it also gives you a chance to check in with each other because what we don’t want is anyone keeping a scorecard.

Hey, I’m doing all these things and you’re doing nothing. Or I feel like I’m doing all this work and you’re just sitting there. But we can let go of that. Feeling like we need to blame letting go of the blame game and letting go of the scorecard when we’re stopping and regularly reassessing.

I actually have that on the calendar where it’s like, let’s reassess our chores like twice a year. We just do a quick check in. How are we feeling about this? What do we need to do? You and I are gearing up to do our summer task list. We were just talking about that this morning. Like, what do we want to accomplish the summer while the weather is nice?

What are the outdoor things we want to tackle? And what are the projects we’re going to enjoy? So those are the five steps. So just to review them with you again, it’s first of all

Setting Your Priorities

what are the things that are important? What do you need to let go of? What’s essential? Setting the assignment.

Who wants these different jobs? What do you like? What do you not like? Use that activity that I shared, you know, on the sub stack, on Not Rocket Science. Use that activity to write out the chores and pop them in those four different categories. Then we have our third step, setting expectations, making sure everyone knows what success looks like.

Fourth step, meeting regularly. And fifth step, reassess and make adjustments as needed. When we do that, do you see how the communication is just built in? It’s baked into the entire process because you’re continually talking about it. And talking about it, that’s the first step of anything.

Building bridges happens when we’re talking and we’re going a little bit deeper. Instead of being angry, it’s taking a step back, taking a deep breath and saying, okay, what do we want to do? And it is also, let’s be honest, letting go of other people’s expectations. The schools, teachers, a lot of people expect mom to be in charge of everything, right?

A lot of times, even though John would drop off the kids at school, they would still email me asking me questions. And I would, and I would very gently say, well, John can talk to you about that when he’s picking up this afternoon, right? That John’s in charge of this. There’s that whole mentality. I’m really happy because I see it changing on TV, but of the dumb dad who doesn’t do anything that drives me crazy because when we treat dads that way, of course they’re just like playing into the persona.

Like I guess I’m not supposed to do these things. So if we really want to change the way that we https: otter. ai

if I would encourage anything, I would say Don’t look at TV and social media and those kinds of things to figure out, you know What should our roles in our relationship be just talk to each other figure out what works for you?

John Dalton: That’s what’s most important and you know if you see resentment coming in, you know to yourself or if your partners has a scorecard like when we were talking about step number four, that’s a huge red flag If someone is keeping score or somebody’s harboring some resentment, have more conversations

it’s never too late to try to fix, whatever is happening.

Tanya Dalton: It really is shifting a lot of those perceptions and choosing to do the things that feel good. And that’s why that first step is really setting your priorities and having the conversations. It is sometimes hard. Especially if you are feeling some resentment to take a deep breath set aside your anger and then go and say, okay, we’re going to stop.

And we’re going to take a look at all of this. We’re going to lay it all out. So, I really want to encourage you, if you are feeling frustrated or irritated. This is a great place to start.

So I want to encourage you to make sure that you look at that delegation blueprint that I’ll be sharing. You can go to tanyadalton. com slash connect to check out my not rocket science resource hub is filled with lots of extras from the podcast to help you dive even deeper.

And this week we’ll have that delegation blueprint that’ll help you not just at work, but also at home.

And to be honest with you, one of the things you could do right now is you could send this podcast episode to that person who you’re maybe feeling a little bit of frustration with.

Or if you know someone who is struggling with this, take a screenshot of the podcast, send them a text message and say, Hey, you got to listen to this episode. All right. As we wrap up today’s show. What I want you to remember is relationships really are the key to happiness. And if you’re having frustration in your relationship, because there’s not a lot of communication, or you’re feeling a lot of resentment, because maybe the job sharing doesn’t feel like it’s even and equal, I want to encourage you to start having the conversations.

Yes, the first five minutes are the most difficult part, but I can promise you it’s absolutely worth it. And truly, that’s how you get the Intentional Advantage.

Ready to take action on what we talked about on today’s episode? The easiest way to get started is my 5 Minute Miracle Mini Course. It’s normally 97, but you get it for free when you join my free sub stack. It’ll boost your productivity and it will double your happiness. Plus, you’ll get access to all kinds of extras from the podcast.

Just go to tanyadalton. com slash connect. And don’t forget to follow The Intentional Advantage on your podcast player so you never miss an episode.

**This transcript is created by AI, so please excuse any typos, misspellings and grammar mistakes.


Tanya Dalton is female productivity expert and motivational keynote speaker.

Image for podcast episode artwork is by Gidon Wessner.