I’ve heard it said that a successful marriage is one where you manage to turn your partner into the perfect slave – you know, one that cooks, cleans, sees to the children, brings your slippers and your phone so you can read the latest blog posts, gives you massages on cue and satisfies all your, uh, needs (bow-chicka-wow-wow).
And guys, even though I’ve been working on it for 9 whole years, Seth just isn’t keen to let me sit and do nothing all day. Shame on him.
Lame jokes aside, I’m realising more and more how our marriage thrives on balance.
As we are putting in the years and realising slowly what makes our marriage work – like making sure that we connect and talk instead of just letting the busyness of life get in the way or when it’s really hard, just remembering that we’ve made the commitment to each other to stick it out, I’m now reflecting on the fact that it also requires a lot of give and take.
This is quite hard when you’re just a couple but it’s even harder when you’ve been thrust into the World of parenthood. Especially if you are both working outside of the home all day. The arguments about whose turn it is to wash the dishes get added to whose turn it is to make the bottle, change the baby or bath them. If this load becomes unbalanced it becomes quite easy to feel resentful, goodness knows I felt like this regularly when our kids were little because OBVIOUSLY I was doing more. (Except I probably wasn’t and it was just the hormones of the crazy lady talking).
Plus, when you add our personalities and the way we do things into the mix, then it really gets sticky.
Take Seth and I for example. I used to be able to whip up a couple of bottles in about 3-4 minutes, meeting the screams of my crying babies (yes plural because a year and 2 weeks apart) as soon as physically possible. Why? Because I’m not easily distracted and my priority is getting food into the babies mouth so all three of us could calm down. Seth on the other hand? Well, he’d take up to 20 minutes to make the same bottle. (You can read more about that here – it’s quite remarkable really) and so often I’d end up just doing it myself because I knew I could do it better (well, maybe not better, but definitely faster which was often more important back then).
The more I think about it, the more I realise that attitude of being able to “do it better” is not necessarily a good one, because the more that you think you can do better than your partner, the more you take on and the less chance you give them to prove themselves to be capable. It also means that you’re probably handling a lot and either thriving in this situation (how even?) or feeling flipping resentful that you can’t get the help of or trust your partner to ease your load.
Basically speaking, marriage and subsequently parenting both require a lot of team work.
But the thing is, when you become a parent, I don’t even think this team work thing is just about maintaining the relationship within your marriage any more (although that is obviously still important). It starts to become about teaching your children that you both provide, nurture and love them and each other. When Mom can see that Dad is tired and takes over his duties or Dad can see Mom needs a break and takes over the cooking for the weekend, the kids notice. I’m sure you could find a million articles proving how good this is for their growth, development and what they look for in a future partner.
Besides all of that, they learn that doing things differently is totally OK.
So for us that means Seth often takes over the weekend breakfast and besides being super grateful to him that I don’t have to do it (cooking guys, it’s not my favourite duty), I am always excited to see what he does. I think because he hardly cooks, he has the advantage of enthusiasm which often translates to interesting concoctions. Like this weekends gourmet breakfast 😉
He scored some serious brownie points, from me and the kids but more than that, it reminded me how much we value team work in our marriage.
How do you feel about the team work in your marriage? Do you need balance before feeling like things are all good in your hood?