Chores: from duty to partnership
It’s easy as men to get comfortable when we have women around us that make our lives easier. Their nurturing attitude has this way of soothing and relaxing us unlike anything else. What makes this even more of a welcomed thing is especially when we have to face the world to provide a better life for us and our family.
This isn’t a bad thing.
What is a bad thing is when we men allow ourselves to get comfortable in not having to do much at home along WITH our women—and trust me—we are ALL susceptible to doing this.
For years we’ve sexualized our roles in relationships and we are only now experiencing its negative effects. As a therapist, I often hear disgruntled men, but more so women, talk about how they feel the effort in the relationship is one sided. How can we combat this challenge that seems to be inevitable in long term commitments to someone? Here’s how I approach this in 3 different ways.
Stage A Coup on Duties.
I’ve been blessed with a wife that does an amazing job with keeping our house in tip top shape. She’s so good at this, I often times have nothing to do when it comes to meaningful contribution around the house (but tbh there’s always something to do in a house right?) So I had two options available.
Either I could request that she leaves some things for me to do—which never happens—or I can intervene before she has a chance to.
I chose the latter.
Sometimes being in a relationship is more than waiting to be told that something needs to be done. Yes communication is critical, but it must also at times be intuitive. If you notice that something could use a little cleaning, tightening up, or maybe even replacing before your spouse does then take the initiative upon yourself to do so.
You’ll be surprised to know just how many things in our life gets put into the, “oh I know they’ll do that” category without us thinking twice about it. Sensitize yourself to those things.
Do Things Because You’ll Also Benefit
I’ve found that when we assume the mindset in doing things because it’s mutually beneficial, it becomes much easier to avoid that lopsided feeling regarding equal relationship effort.
When we label things as a “you” thing or an “I” thing instead of a “we” thing, we may develop a toxic sense of entitlement that can slowly create bitterness in our spouse.
So the next time you’re home, remember not to do things because you have to do them but instead do them because you would also benefit from having that thing done.
Remember Your Spouse is Not Your Parent
This last one should be a given, but a lot of times it isn’t and that’s for the simple fact that we are products of our family environments.
I won’t get overwhelming support from men when I say this, but a lot of us were coddled when we were younger. We were given privileges by our parents before we truly earned them and in this new era of relationship dynamics, that won’t sit well with the women (and in some cases men) of today.
In most relationships, both spouses work and come home equally tired. We can’t think that it’s fair for one person to absorb all of the house duties when each person had a demanding day. For some men and women this may mean unlearning what was ok in your family and learning something new that doesn’t come quite naturally to you. However, change is never easy when it’s true change.
In fact, we may often time find ourselves clinging on to what we were used to, but we have to resist this urge if you want a healthy relationship.
This is helped me greatly from falling into dysfunctional cycle. Do you agree with these sentiments? If you don’t or if you do, I’d like to hear your comments.
Thanks for reading!
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