#8 Tip for a Thriving Marriage - Shared Responsibility

The question of male and female roles in marriage has been a subject of hot debate over the past several decades.  Couples with vibrant and successful relationships tend to be those who have found mutually satisfactory ways of resolving this issue between themselves.  These husbands and wives pay relatively little attention to the shifting norms of contemporary society or the expectations of family and friends.  Instead, they make it their goal to function as a team, because they understand that the only thing that matters is how they work together, not what other people think.  By means of discussion, negotiation, and written agreements they hammer out a plan that preserves fairness and equity in the way it defines roles and divides household tasks and responsibilities.

Naturally, spouses who take this approach face a number of obstacles.  They can easily get tripped up, for instance, if they don’t take the time to understand and discuss the differences between their two families of origin.  Even in 21st century society, it’s still common to think in terms of “male” and “female” chores! For example, only the women are to cook, and the men are to handle the household finances.  As a result, whether they realise it or not, couples tend to take their cues from their parents’ example.  This can lead to problems if unspoken assumptions and misunderstandings are allowed to explode in anger and arguments over the sharing of household tasks.

To avoid this, husbands and wives need to talk openly about their expectations and personal preferences.  If they can be flexible enough to allow for exceptions to accepted “rules” and to work out a division of labor that places more emphasis upon giftedness than gender, they’ll discover that it is possible to negotiate a plan that’s agreeable to both partners.  Once they reach this stage in the game it’s important to write everything down and make a chart that clearly designates each portion of the overall workload as “yours,” “mine,” or “ours.”  This agreement should be revisited and updated from time to time so as to accommodate the shifting realities associated with the changing seasons of life.  The secret here is to redefine “winning” as something that makes both spouses happy.

Try This! Think about some of the current chores that you and your spouse are good at— are you both happy with your responsibilities? If not, discuss and make a “list” on the type of chores that might need reallocating.

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