I am fortunate enough to be married to a great guy. My husband is hard-working, wise, and fun to be with. He also happens to be a civil engineer with very neat and precise tendencies. I, on the other hand, am not quite as neat and precise. After we were newly married, I discovered that I was not folding his socks and underwear with the military precision he expected. I was happy to do our laundry, but I put my foot down at spending my precious time laboring over the folds in my husband's underwear.

It is important for newly married couples to cut each other some slack. A wife is not going to perform her new household duties in exactly the way her husband is used to. Certainly his mom did some things (fold his laundry, prepare his favorite meal) "better" than his new wife will. But those days are over, and Mom isn't part of your new relationship. The same goes for a wife's expectations of her husband.

Creating a new household is an adventure. Planning your life together is a fun first chapter in your marriage. But, there is also the nitty gritty of real life to address. The daily, mundane chores of a household have to be dealt with.

Don't neglect discussing who will tackle each household chore. Your lives will be better organized and smoother if an understanding of who does what is clear.

When dividing household responsibilities, keep these things in mind.

Be practical

If you're better with finances, you should be paying the bills. If your spouse enjoys creating marvelous dishes, let him or her play the chef. Support each other in your individual tasks and offer your help as needed. Tackle the big projects together - it's more fun that way, anyway.

Consider your individual schedules

Maybe your spouse's workload is hefty, but you have a bit more free time to tackle home maintenance. Maybe you're both working your way through college and have little time for chores, period. Marriage is all about give and take, so be generous and do as much as you can to lighten your spouse's load. Hopefully, you'll find that he or she will do the same for you.

Don't take on more than you can handle

As a young couple starting out, be realistic about your situation in life. If you don't have children, you probably don't need a lot of living space. A larger home means more to clean and more square footage to pay for, including heating and cooling. If you and your spouse have little free time, consider carefully before committing to owning and caring for a pet. Maybe you're scraping by on limited funds; don't splurge for extra furniture or "toys" that you don't really need. More stuff means more maintenance, cost and time.

Be gracious

Always acknowledge the things your spouse does to help out. Whether he has just spent the entire day painting the kitchen or she has organized a closet, thank your spouse profusely for the effort he or she makes in your home. Everyone loves a compliment.

Decide to live simply and practically as you begin your new relationship together. Get to know each other. Be unselfish and serve your spouse, and you'll set the tone for a happy, united, and long-lasting marriage.

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