Decide together what is "clean enough." I know, I know; don't smack your forehead. This will take some time to negotiate, but you have to try. Opening up a conversation about how you want your home to be provides an opportunity for you and your partner to see where you both may want the same thing as well as what needs to shift or change in order to achieve it.Take it a room at a time, if necessary. "I think our bedroom is clean enough when the bed is made and there's nothing on the floor," for example. You can start with broad ideas: "I want to do a little bit every day, so the house is never really a mess" — or your feelings: "If someone stops by unexpectedly, I want to feel happy rather than panicked and ashamed." It may be simplest to go straight for your triggers: "The living room feels clean enough when there are no dirty dishes and empty bottles on the coffee table" and work your way up from there. This will be an ongoing conversation and could be an emotional one. Depending on your perspective, you may be tempted to say something like, "I don't know why it's so hard for you to do these simple things!" or, from the other side, "I don't know why you're making such a big deal out of these simple things!" Whatever side of the neatness spectrum you're on, it's important to listen to and try to understand what your partner is saying. If you're anything like me, that could be a challenge, but it's more than worth it.Divide the work. This doesn't have to be 50-50 or set in stone forever, but it's a start. One friend and his wife took over on the other's least favorite chore; she did the laundry, and he did the dishes. With another couple I know, she does the cooking and he cleans up. This is where making requests will serve you. If you already do the bulk of the cleaning, ask for help and be specific: "Would you please be responsible for __?" Schedule a check-in to assess how things are going. In our family if we don't do what we say we're going to do, we apologize and ask for forgiveness. This may seem a bit much if we're talking about something as banal as taking out the garbage, but our character is revealed in everything, big and small. It's ultimately freeing to eschew excuses and take responsibility: "I'm sorry. I said I would empty the trash and completely forgot. Will you forgive me?"