“Life has taught me that it is not for our faults that we are disliked and even hated, but for our qualities.” Bernard Berenson
It is a quote worth digesting. There is more truth to these words than we would like to believe. Whenever one tries to act with humility and thought, it makes others question the motives. It also fosters a conscience, which produces an uncomfortable feeling. It’s time to recognize our own uniqueness. If we are in the presence of a kind person, it shouldn’t demean us, but instead it should encourage us. Each of us has the capacity to educate another. We can’t always be in top form. Those times when we need help, let us lean on another. Likewise when the other person needs help, it is our turn to do the inspiring. We are not in any competition. We don’t ever have to be in a contest. It really is okay to support each other, be happy for another person’s achievement, and exhibit empathy for another person’s sorrows. As they say, we’re all in the soup together.At times, mothers-in-law (MILs) and daughters-in-law (DILs) need each other. If they remember they have more in common, it will allow them to recognize a similar spirit. Every one of us wakes up with less sleep than we wanted, more aches and pains and burdens, that are almost beyond carrying. All this may warrant little attention from family. It is those moments we need strength. If it is not in us at that time, then the strength of another is required.
If we met a stranger on the street, who poured out their heart to us about their loads, and pressures, we would sympathize and come to the person’s aid. Many people offer volunteer work. Nobody counts the ways we can accommodate, those within our comunity. Somehow when it comes to people we know, who are close in proximity, we forget to offer support. By attempting to overcome our jealousy, or competitiveness, we gain a closer picture of the burdens of others. Look hard and find something good in your MIL or DIL. Focus on that only. Skip dwelling on what you don’t like.
The same goes for your marriage. I have never viewed two similar marriages. How or why couples work out their own dynamics, is important to them only. A wife who criticizes her husband for not doing the chores, she perceives other husbands are doing, is in for a downfall. She would have to take into consideration, all of the chores her husband is responsible for, and weigh them against all of the jobs another husband is accountable to do. It isn’t easy to compare. Maybe we forgot to count the numerous minutes, a husband spends reading to his children at night.
Husbands can’t compare what one wife does, in relation to another person’s spouse. One woman may cook, especially if she likes to cook. More wives do take-out dinners, because they hold down jobs. Maybe the wife entertains her in-laws for dinner. How does anyone begin or end in their assessments of culpability and fairness. The solution is, if it works for us and things run smoothly, then go with it.
I think fairness in these matters must be overridden by comprehension. Knowing what our spouse is engaged in matters. If they are caring for a sick child, preparing meals, setting up lunches, and seeing kids off on the school bus, then maybe we should go and pick up the food, and vacuum the house.
I would not attempt to divide up tasks. To gain meaning of the senselessness of doing this, is my goal. By working on the details of some set tasks, we might be able to appreciate all of the responsibilities each spouse performs. I believe most of the time we worry, when we listen to others state their job division. Why this thinking is so prevalent is amazing.
It kind of follows society’s attitude, regarding the problem of being taken advantage of. Surprisingly, we bring it into the marriage, and child care arena. Nobody wants to be taken advantage of. It is sad that our trust in each other is waning. Is it not possible to commiserate with our spouses, in regard to our burdens, when we are concerned with our own load? By attempting to fairly divide the work, it allows cooperation to reign.. Our alternative is to fight about doing only our share of the work. We have lost empathy for our spouse, when we argue over who is doing more or less work.
There are those times when it is unfairly divided. However, acknowledge the reasons which may be legitimate. Possibly it will be a short -term occurrence. Restrictions placed on each other, is devoid of love. Nasty retorts and criticisms is lacking understanding. Anger and harsh words results in a barren relationship. That is not what we want to bestow on our spouse, in-laws, friends or kids.
I find it hurtful to quarrel with someone I love over fairness. That is not to say I have never been guilty of unfairness. I am simply trying to be, more aware of my need to chill. At times, I pitch in wherever the need arises. Behaving decently should happen naturally, when their is love between the parties. We can all recognize the plight of someone who is perhaps on overdrive. Likewise the spouse with the lighter load, should recognize the need for gratitude. Just because we are married does not mean it alleviates the necessity of appreciation. We all like to receive thanks as well as compliments. Thankfulness towards in-laws, is also appreciated. There is no contract stating we must be a doormat.
When there is little gratitude dispensed, throughout all areas of our lives, there is little love, empathy, and understanding. I wonder sometimes if that might be the reason for the many divorces, and the breakdowns of the family, and relationships in general. This of course leads to the corroding of society. When we trust those we love, it is like saying, “I know we share in our love, and therefore care about each other. So, it goes without saying we won’t want to deliberately hurt each other.” We can have downtime without repercussion, or judgmental words. If we are stressed, we can refrain from transferring the anxiety to a loved one, and instead request some help.
“Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life? The Master said is not Reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” Confucius