Before I get lots of comments about treating your partner like a donkey and dangling a chicken drumstick in front of them, although culinary empowerment can motivate a lazy partner, this is not intended to be a throwback to Treat Your Partner Like A Puppy – which initiated discussion in over 15 countries, it’s just a picture to pattern interrupt and who knows maybe even made you smile! Because us experts can have a sense of humour too you know, we just like to hide it under our brains!
Seriously though… enough jesting… for those of you who have written in asking whether culinary empowerment can help motivate a lazy partner into pulling their weight at home, thank you for your questions. I can feel your frustration but there are answers with no carrot dangling necessary!
As some of you already know, I never advocate attempting to change someone else. It is better to change your reaction to the situation and watch a chain of favourable events unfold. The short answer to the question above however is YES you can use food to empower your situation as part of the answer – the key is to aim for culinary connection between you and your partner and remind you both how to work as a team.
Apart from the odd few, most of us face situations where our partner falls into a routine where they do not always pull their weight at home and the majority of family commitments and household task can falls unfairly on the shoulders of one person. Worse still with our current economic climate both partners often work and take their eye off the ball resulting in the jobs not getting done at all or conflict over whether you should both splash out on a cleaner. The only thing you can agree on is that order has gone out of the window and chaos and clutter have replaced it.
There are several ways to deal with this to avoid the situation escalating into conflict but first you may find it useful to understand why this is happening before working on how to address the balance.
Your partner’s fundamental needs (and yours)
For some people, societal conditioning might lead them to make the assumption that gender roles dictate that housework is a female responsibility or that the person who works longer hours should get a free ride when it comes to housework. Although you may see this as unfair, it is an easy presumption for people to fall into if they are not been told (politely that is) that this behaviour is in your opinion falls somewhere on a scale between slightly annoying to totally unacceptable.
Significance through work: A common reason why people can be lazy at home is because the criteria they judge themselves on is different to that of someone who wants a tidy home environment. One of the six fundamental needs of every human being is significance and for a many significance is often defined by their career, leading them to focus more on work than the home or spending more of their time building relationships with work colleagues over family commitments and or a tidy house.
Connection: Another possible reason for the difference is that people tend to gain significance from their connection with friends so would prioritise socialising above helping out at home. Both these reasons result in the culprit in question feeling too exhausted at the end of the working day, feeling they have more important things to do at home than household tasks or even spending less time at home because of other perceived responsibilities.
Comfort: Of the other six fundamental needs we all share, in addition to satisfying this need for significance outside of the home, a family member (husband, wife, or even child) may also prioritise their need for comfort above that of contributing and helping out. Comfort is a base instinct and as such manifests itself in self-centered behaviour that you will naturally consider as selfish or thoughtless.
All this can lead to frustration and resentment. Don’t let your feelings label the other person. It is easy to strike out but it rarely solves a situation long term. Rather than allowing these negative feelings to unintentionally reinforce the pattern of those getting away with their bad behaviour just because you want to avoid conflict or think things can’t get any better… Take action and Be Kind.
Solution: Culinary Empowerment & An Upfront Conversation
One of the most effective ways to begin to reach a solution is to first accept that at some point you have allowed behaviour you find unacceptable to continue without clear communication to your partner that it is severely compromising your happiness, and therefore your connection to them. Communication is key to increasing and maintaining a positive connection with your partner.
Culinary Empowerment: The great news is all those fundamental needs can be satisfied through culinary empowerment in conjunction with a successful upfront conversation. Be it gaining comfort if it is time to warm up your hearts rather than your frustration levels from a comforting recipe. Or perhaps significance from a showstopping recipe where you and your partner can work together to wow others or connection from throwing a dinner party for your favourite friends or to impress a boss who may just give you that promotion you deserve or colleagues that you want to get to know better to improve your working environment.
Upfront conversations: Upfront conversations are the foundation of good communication. If you want to gain the support of your other half without alienating them, you need to have clear and concise upfront conversations that are based on logic not emotions. Work together to find out which human need is not being satisfied and choose a recipe and plan of action of how to move forward. Perhaps you need one date night at home where you both switch your phones off, or you choose to entertain friends or peers so you both feel included. A quick tidy up of the house beforehand and a well-chosen recipe from our selection and you are part way to a solution. It is also important to agree to make changes in both your behaviours and hold each other accountable.
The key take home message is that you understand the need that is pulling your partner away from doing that which you need help with, communicate to them that you require help, decide how to work together to satisfy the need through one of our culinary empowerment strategies or one of your own and then put all new patterns in place.
Photo by Internet Archive Book Images