I’ve been thinking a lot about equality in relationships and how it comes in many forms. Nothing is ever 50/50, nor should it be.
My respect/equality meter remains full and has for the entirety of my relationship.
My husband does not not cook, he doesn’t wash dishes, he does not wash-dry-fold-put away laundry, he doesn’t clean the house, he doesn’t take the dogs to the groomer, he doesn’t typically grocery shop. In general he doesn’t do a lot around the house that is considered typical “women’s work”. I know that sounds bad but please continue reading.
My husband never allows me to pay for anything when I’m in his presence. We could be just stopping at the pharmacy for my medication and he will not allow me to pay for it. It can be as simple as stopping to buy a soda and he will not allow me to pay. He also never asks me or even implies that I should go in when we stop for soda or the pharmacy or a quick gift card. He always lets me sit in the car listening to music and he goes to take care of whatever we’re out doing. He always opens my door for me. Be it the car or whatever building we’re entering or leaving. He does all the typical “men’s work” around the house: mowing the lawn, changing light bulbs, oil changes, etc. He brings me surprises every single week, really great surprises. He has always shown me his appreciation for all that I do in small and large ways and I’ve never once had to say to him “I’m feeling unappreciated”. He takes me to every single doctor’s appointment (it’s a lot), he always drives no matter where we go. The most important thing my husband has done to keep my love meter full is he has always encouraged me to work at jobs I truly love and am happy doing. He has always encouraged me to follow my dreams with my writing. He has allowed me something very few people get in this lifetime, I have never had to stay in a job that made me unhappy because of his love and support and that has been invaluable.
I should say here also that I love the fact that we practice “traditional roles” in our relationship. It’s not for everyone, I agree. I’m old school though, all I ever wanted to be was a writer and wife, a great wife. I really do enjoy cooking and doing things to make him happy. I enjoy it even more because I know how deeply he appreciates it.
All of these are things between us keep us equal in our relationship. Too many times I hear others focusing on the things their partner doesn’t do instead of all the great things they do accomplish for them. I’m more than okay with the way my relationship is.
My husband works, a lot. He works usually 7 days a week. He hardly ever takes a day off and although I miss him, I understand the reasoning and I support him. I would say 4 days a week he can get up with his alarm with no help from me, on time, with no problems. There are a few days, roughly three days a week that he’ll maybe stay up a little late watching TV shows with me and get to bed a little late. On those days I’ll help him out a little, if I notice he hasn’t gotten up by a certain time, I’ll of course go in to our bedroom and gently let him know it’s time to get ready for work. This has never ever been a problem for me. I’m retired, it’s not as if I have other shit to do and it gives me a few extra minutes to hang out with him before he has to leave for the night.
I used to have a really hard time explaining this to an old friend. He thought my husband relied too much on me and was just spoiled and lazy. I don’t see it that way at all. Relationships are all about support and confidence. I love being that person who my husband counts on to help him out when he needs it most. I love the fact that he has confidence that he can count on me for that support and he never has to question it.
So why am I writing this? I think we all need to do a better job teaching our youth what a healthy relationship looks like. Is it any wonder our society has fallen into such disrepair when we look at divorce statistics over the last 40 years? What are we really teaching our children about relationships and what’s okay and not okay? What are we showing them is acceptable behavior when engaging with a mate?
Are we teaching them selfishness is okay? Cheating is okay? Open relationships work? On again off again is perfectly acceptable? Abusiveness is okay as long as you attach the word love to it? Walking away from responsibility is widely acceptable? Is this the society we want? It’s repetitive you know, we come from broken homes, we break our homes, and we teach our children that well, that’s the way it is, broken is acceptable. But we can change it. We can teach our youth a better way, a healthier way of dealing with love, respect, honesty, and realistic relationships.
These are just some of the thoughts I’ve been having lately as I have two young adults who are navigating life and love. I give them as much advice as I can but two of the most profound pieces of advice I impart to them on the regular are these: Love don’t pay the rent and Life isn’t fair but it doesn’t have to be a fucking circus either. Maybe I’ll elaborate on another blog later. Just some things to think about today.