My pinterest homepage is full of the usual mix of crafts (especially note cards), gardening, recipes, funny animals, and “helpful” blog posts about making your marriage stronger.
I’m a curious soul, so I generally read these latter posts, figuring that somewhere in them there must be something helpful.
Yeah…not really. All of the ones that propagate my pinterest are those that at face value seem great, but when you really start thinking about them, they’re really sexist and misogynistic, even though they’re all written by loving wives.
Here’s the problem: they all are written with women in mind and generally that woman is actually seeking help for a problem in her marriage. Most of the “solutions” offered are ones that the wife can implement without her husband even really understanding that there is a problem. When I picture my own marriage trying to do some of these tips (“Have a weekly husband/wife meeting” for example), I can only snicker. I mean, the idea is that you pencil each other into your busy schedules so that you can discuss the upcoming week, which is pretty ridiculous when this is your spouse we’re talking about. “Honey, I want to schedule a meeting with you so that we can discuss scheduling future meetings…”
This is as bad as scheduling sex! Or really scheduling anything in your marriage!
I guess life is different when you have kids, but honestly, if your husband in involved with the kids (like he should be!), he doesn’t need to have a weekly meeting for you to tell him that Timmy has baseball practice on Thursday and it’d be nice for him to be there. Because, you know, he should already be planning to attend like he does every week.
If Suzie has a tonsillectomy scheduled for next Monday, Dad shouldn’t need a meeting to tell him that Suzie will need him to help hold her hand.
The tips that piss me off the most are those which tell women that they should “love their spouse more”. You have to remember the type of women these posts are going to affect most–those who feel like their marriage is on the rocks. Most of these bloggers are very anti-divorce. For them, it is a woman’s responsibility to keep the household together, regardless of her personal feelings.
It’s really easy for a desperate woman to forgive her husband for everything, but it’s not emotionally healthy. She can decide to be submissive to his will and smile to the world while inside she’s dying. This is abuse. And telling a woman that if she just loves her husband more he’ll change is flat wrong.
Yes, it is imperative that you love your husband! BUT, loving him should not mean sacrificing any aspect of your own well being! If you find yourself wondering why you married him, you need to identify the actual problems with your marriage (are you working too hard so that he can play?) and address them. Trying to remember the good times of your relationship won’t help if your husband is no longer the man you married. People do change and that’s both a good and a bad thing in a marriage (depending on if you are growing and changing together).
Anyway, enough of my rant. Here’s my 4 tips for a happy and healthy egalitarian marriage (because you two are partners in life).
- SPEAK. AND LISTEN. Seriously, your husband should be your best friend. Treat him as such. Talk to him about what’s going on in your life. Your likes, your dislikes. Vent to him. Listen to him when he needs to vent. If you ever feel like you can’t say something, anything, to your husband for whatever reason, run, don’t walk away from this relationship. That isn’t what a marriage should be!
- SPLIT THE CHORES. You both live in the house, you both have equal responsibility to keep it clean. Of course, your family situation is probably different than mine and that’s cool! Dividing the chores equally doesn’t really mean that the chores are divided perfectly in half. A lot of tasks make up all that goes into running a household and you should split them up in such a way that makes the most sense to you and your family (children should also be put to work maintaining the household).
When splitting chores, be mindful of the time you and/or your spouse spend working and commuting (seriously, give each other extra credit for that commute!). Since I work full time and my husband works part time, it is more fair for him to do more of the housework. Plus, he’s the real mess maker of the two of us.
- SPLIT THE BILLS. I realize that this is difficult in families with only one income earner…
Actually, I’m scared to picture my life if I were dependent on other people for money. I’m one of the odd people who in high school was loaning my parent’s money. Even though I wasn’t earning all that much to start with (just mowing/raking my grandma’s yard), but I didn’t spend it, either.
But, if you’re cool about getting an allowance from your spouse, that’s fine. That’s your life. I wouldn’t want it, but that’s me.
- HAVE TIME FOR YOURSELF. You and your husband are two individual people. You are not joined at the hip. You have separate interests. So, enjoy them! Apart! Do not be afraid of your independence.
You and your husband should spend lots of time together. I recommend eating together 99% of the time, but you know what, sometimes your husband is going to get a police call in the middle of you cooking dinner and if you don’t eat you will literally tear him a new asshole because low blood sugar affects you that way (true story).
But, if your husband enjoys working on cars, you don’t have to be involved with this. I quite enjoy shooing him out the door to play with his friends so that I can watch what I want on TV instead of having to share with him. This actually makes the time we do spend together that much sweeter!
I imagine that the author’s of those blogs I mentioned earlier would have a conniption if they read that last bit of advice (about spending time apart). I guess they feel like a marriage on the rocks is one in which the individuals of the couple are “growing apart” and the only way to combat this is to spend more time together.
I think it’s important to identify why your relationship is “growing apart”, because honestly, you can spend every waking moment physically together, but not be connecting emotionally. It’s funny that they’ll recommend remembering the “good old days”, but would be afraid for people to reconnect with being independent.
I just finished a book where the main character thought that she wasn’t ready for marriage because she didn’t want to give up her independence. What had instigated this thought was her sister’s husband clarifying with the sister her plans to going to the main character’s house for a late evening. It is not losing independence to tell your husband that you are going out. But, you have lost your independence if your husband tells you that you aren’t allowed to go out (this is an abusive relationship: RUN!).