How to Invite your Partner to the Fair Play Conversation

Family challenge often provokes interest in The Fair Play Method. There are often feelings of anger, resentment and frustration present, which creates the need to implement a change to help make things better. When we invite our partner into the Fair Play conversation rooted in this type of energy, it’s hard to get the results we’re looking for. This article dissects the lessons and best practices I’ve learned around how to invite your partner into the Fair Play conversations successfully.
If you haven’t read my article, How to Split Household Tasks More Fairly Using Fair Play, I suggest you start there, before exploring how to successfully invite your partner into the Fair Play conversation. 

Explore Yourself First

Before inviting your partnering into a conversation around implementing the Fair Play method, it’s important to understand why your current home structure functions the way it does. For some, this will be a very deep and emotional process.

The environment you need to invite a partner into the conversation must be free of judgment and blame. 

Below are a few helpful questions to ask yourself.
  • How do traditional gender roles play out in our partnership? Why are roles structured this way and are they serving us?
  • How fair do I feel household tasks and childcare responsibilities are distributed? What role am I playing in structuring things this way?
  • Is there opportunity for me to better communicate my needs with my partner? For example, are we discussing important topics when emotions are high or when we’re both tired?

Take Ownership For Your Growth Opportunity

When inviting our partners into a conversation around the Fair Play Method it’s very helpful to outline to them where we see room for growth in ourselves. This creates an environment of openness and vulnerability.
Sample situation: I realize that I have not been as open with you about the mental load I carry. There is a never ending to-do list that runs through my head. This list reminds me of the tasks and responsibilities I need to take care of in order to keep our household functioning. It never ends and that leaves me feeling stressed all of the time.

There is a huge opportunity for me to share more of these thoughts with you and also to give up control I’ve been holding around getting them done. I’ve come across a method that can help us do that, are you open to learning more about it?

Establish Family Values

A critical part of the Fair Play Method is establishing a minimum standard of care (MSC) for each household task. It’s challenging to establish the MSC if both partners aren’t clear and aligned on their family values.
To do this, my husband and I started with Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead list of values and looked at them separately. We then scheduled time together (over wine and pizza) to go through our individual list together. We talked through similarities and differences and why we felt attached to each. This presented the opportunity for us to decide if this was the way in which we want our family to function. In some cases, the answer was yes, while in others we felt it would be more beneficial to create a new path forward rooted in values that felt more aligned to both of us.

Getting really clear on how we want to show up as partners and parents created a deep feeling of connection. This presented a safe and inviting environment to introduce the Fair Play Method.

Watch the Documentary Together

Reading or listening to a book requires a large time commitment. The Fair Play book is 7hrs and 53 minutes on audible. Not everyone has time nor do they retain information in this way.
The Fair Play Documentary is 1hr and 35 minutes! It’s an awesome introduction to the method and shares perspectives from heterosexual and same sex partnerships. It’s a much quicker way to introduce the method and then create conversation and connection from there.
It personally took me two to three months of prep work before inviting my husband into the conversation. This is going to be different for everyone. It takes time, intention and a willingness to be kind to yourself. A shift like this is a process and will require understanding and iteration.