Tag Archives: responsibilities

A well balanced marriage


Something I always challenge myself in is finding ways to show Julia I love her.  Often, this results in some method of serving her…doing something so she doesn’t have to: unloading the dishwasher, putting Eli to bed when it’s “her turn”, cleaning the bathrooms, etc.  She does the same for me too.  When I come back from a business trip, she goes out of her way to have a nice home-cooked meal and family time.  She also takes care of me in ways I don’t think about or sometimes even realize (changing sheets & towels, grocery shopping, changing out my toothbrush…I’d probably be using a 4 year old brush if she didn’t do that).

All these things are great, but I think an important aspect of this is to keep balance in it.  I don’t mean being able to stand on one foot.  I mean…sharing the load, helping each other, and never doing too much of any one thing.  I wrote a post a while ago here about the importance of sitting down to discuss who is responsible for which jobs around the house.  I think this is a VERY important step to do.  You don’t want all work to fall on one person.  And you don’t want frustration to grow due to resentment or misunderstood expectations.  So, discussing this is critical.  But, even though you decide your wife is “responsible for” a given job, it is a good idea for you to pitch in every once in a while.

Julia is responsible for planning our meals.  But, every once in a while, I like to surprise her by planning something instead.  Maybe when she’s had a busy day I will suggest, “hey, why don’t we have ___ for dinner tonight?  I can run to the store after work, then will cook it while you relax…is that cool?”  Or when the trash is getting full and I haven’t taken it out yet (my job), she doesn’t hound me about it, she just takes it out herself.  But, she’s not bitter about it, she doesn’t grumble and complain, she just does it as a way to help ME out with my job.

Balance is important in ALL aspects of life.  Physical exercise is great.  But, if you do it every day at the expense of time with your family, it may not be so great.  Spending time with other guys is great, but if you do that more than spending time with your wife…not great.  Eating healthy is great, but I think I’d go crazy if I never had dessert again.  In the same way, you need to have balance at home.  Learn how to cook, do laundry, clean, take care of the kids, iron…even if you decide she’s the one who is responsible for it, if you know how, you can help from time to time.  Or if she’s sick, you can take over everything without missing a beat while she recovers.

My advice to you:

First, make sure you’ve had discussions about who does what in your family.  Then, guys, anything that is your wife’s “responsibility”, learn how to do it.  And pitch in from time to time so she doesn’t get burned out or feel overwhelmed.

How a clean shower leads to a happy marriage…

...not our actual shower :-)
…not our actual shower :-)

I know a surefire way to bring conflict into a marriage…one person NOT doing something that is expected of them.  This statement could apply in lots of ways, but today I’m specifically referring to household responsibilities.  I’m not going to tell you which of us does this in our marriage, but I’ll give you a hint…it’s both of us!

For example, I’m responsible for taking out the trash.  Every once in a while I forget to do it though.  When that happens, the trash starts to pile up, and the can in the garage starts to stink.  Also, I’m responsible for cleaning the tubs and showers in the house.  For some reason, I have a habit of letting this go for weeks…scratch that…for months…before cleaning them.  Julia doesn’t complain though.  She’s very understanding and forgiving.  But, when I do this repeatedly, and my negligence results in her having to put up with smelly trash and dirty showers, so naturally she is a little upset.

There are two problems I run into concerning chores.  One is that I sometimes forget what things I’m responsible for.  And, the other is that sometimes my tolerance for what is “acceptable” doesn’t match hers.  This isn’t to say that her expectations are unreasonable by any means.  I’m just not putting the necessary amount of effort and attention into doing something that I agreed would be my responsibility.

Just recently we sat down and redefined our chore list.  It was a great chance to do a couple things:

  • Now that Julia is working part-time, she has much less free time.  This gave us a chance to re-balance the amount of work each of us was responsible for.
  • It helped remind of us which chores were on our list
  • It gave each of us the chance to discuss if there was an area the other person wasn’t meeting what we felt was a reasonable expectation for that chore.

As a result of this conversation, we BOTH have done a better job with our responsibilities.  This has helped us to feel more loved by each other, and resulted in less frustration…woohoo!

My challenge to you:

Sit down and talk with your wife about household chores.

  • Make a list and divide up who is going to be responsible for what areas.
  • Make sure things are divided up to where you are both sharing in the load.
  • Make sure you are able to RESPECTFULLY discuss if someone isn’t currently taking care of an area to the extent you would like.
  • Set a calendar reminder to touch base again in 6 months or a year to see how it’s going.