It is impossible to have a set of guidelines for marriage because there are likely no two marriages that are identical. It stands to reason that if none of us are equivalent then when two of us get together and form a marriage it will be unique. That is why I believe it is next to impossible to imitate another couple. It may even be asking for trouble.
Women turn to other women when they have a problem in the marriage. Of course the first things friends do is to state what works in their own relationship. This is helpful to a point but useless as a tool of measurement. No two marriages are identical and therefore each relationship, like kids, needs to be dealt with differently.
I think some young marriages begin by assuming the man should do this and the woman that. Reality steps in and the turmoil begins. Each partner feels they know how to divvy up the tasks. They discover that the attitude of you do this and I’ll do that and everything will be fine doesn’t work. Once each spouse stops attempting to delegate the jobs the bickering comes to a conclusion.
Marriages that work are based on less controlling expectations. Whenever we expect, we will perhaps always be disappointed. Soundly studying our prospects provides us with the realistic notions that are within reason. The plans must take into account the attitudes and moods of the day. They also must consider any stressful issues at work or in the extended families that may influence the thoughts and behaviors of our spouses.
None of us like having someone hanging the gauntlet over our heads and demanding we do our work. Many of us experience enough of that at our jobs so that the last thing we want to experience is this happening at home. Let’s face it, it is a total turn off. I understand like anyone else that there are tasks I want accomplished and maybe even waited on them for a long time. I also am aware that my timing is poor sometimes, and those tasks may appear to be discouraging to my spouse when I begin command with an ultimatum, that they get finished.
If one likes to cook, then man or woman they should be the chef. If one keeps the clothes washed and refrains from putting everything into the dryer then that is solidly their job. If you don’t like to do certain jobs and your spouse is willing to do them then stop checking on the time the job takes to do. It isn’t always about the time it takes to do the job, but whether or not you want it on your list.
Going shopping may be interesting for some spouses because they enjoy the foods and creativity. It may take more time but they have the benefit of choosing the meal plan and ideas. Picking up the house may be quicker but a bit more boring. Attempting to keep the division of labor fair and within reason helps to save some disagreements down the road. However it is never a perfect way to settle division of chores.
I believe many women sense their stronger connection to the home. Perhaps they are only looking at it from their perspective. The husband may see the crack in the cement that needs to be sealed. Likewise women may enjoy creating the ambiance within the home which the husband recognizes as a waste of time. Having respect for the intricate differences of what we profess to be a worthy job is vital.
I think that at times we may have to wait for some of the tasks we want completed. It may take time for either spouse to get to the job. Patience within a marriage solves wasted time and energy exerted in fighting which actually costs us possibly more days of lost serenity. Fights are usually detrimental to marriages and to accomplishing any kind of job.
Understanding is important along with patience because if we comprehend where our spouse is coming from even if we don’t agree we can accept the viewpoint. Perhaps our acceptance of a task that is put off will drive our spouse into completing it a lot faster on a better day. Because we grasped their need to wait, they may appreciate our desire to have it finished.
Empathy is so necessary in a marriage. Without empathy we never acquire an “I get you” kind of attitude. I think of empathy as walking in another s’ shoes and looking at the world through their eyes. For instance we may want that yard cultivated so we can plant a garden but our spouse sees only the work because they don’t enjoy gardening. The empathy also brings into account the moods, feelings stresses and health issues.
Sometimes we can be on a vendetta and become totally unreasonable and self-absorbed. I have done that many times and have witnessed others doing it. We hate to believe we act this way but in reality we do. If we make up our minds about the way we presume things ought to be, we control our spouse. We don’t care what their agenda is because we have our own plans and it includes their consent to go along. Likely we enslave them in a way, as far as what we envision they will accomplish.
Of course when we become more reasonable we release our hold. If we do not learn how to play fair and hopefully compromise, I would venture to say the marriage will be strained. How could it not be tense? Just because we believe this is the way it should be does not mean we have the truth. We are ignoring the others viewpoint and understanding of the situation. Wanting what is best for us makes us overlook the views health wants needs and stresses of another.
Marriage takes time and effort and there are no easy rules or guidelines. I believe that the best we can do is to always include empathy, understanding, compromise, patience, tolerance and a respect for what is good for both partners. That is why placing the other spouse’s needs before our own at times helps us to achieve a more equitable division of labor because fairness is reciprocated. None of us respond well to demands and criticism. We all respond to love.
“All married couples should learn the art of battle as they should learn the art of making love. Good battle is objective and honest – never vicious or cruel. Good battle is healthy and constructive, and brings to a marriage the principles of equal partnership.” Ann Landers