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Home / Marriage Advice

Confessions: He never helps around the house and I can’t deal anymore

 Is this how marriage should be? (Shutterstock)

Hi Chris,

Every day I work hard at my job and at managing the house and the children.

So as the evening approaches I can’t wait for my husband to get home and take over for a bit, read the children a story and kiss them goodnight.

I’m tired, looking forward to a meal, some relaxation and a glass of wine. And lots of sympathy from my guy.

I think you can guess what actually happens. And so I’m forever disappointed and resentful.

Is this how marriage should be in our modern times?

Resentful

——

Hi Resentful!

I do understand why you’re resentful. Because you feel that your husband underestimates your career, and doesn’t appreciate your workload in the house.

So when he finally arrives home in the evening, you’re desperate for a break, and annoyed at him for going on as if he’s the only one entitled to feel tired.

But actually he’s resentful too. Because he feels you don’t appreciate how hard he works, and wishes you’d stop nagging and understand how tired he is!

In fact, every modern couple feels that their spouse is selfish and ungrateful. Because the problem is universal, and comes from current ideas about marriage.

Which say that you should both work because it’s the only way to fulfilment, and should both do the chores because anything else would be unfair.

But exactly equal careers and housework just simply never happens. So whoever’s doing more chores feels resentful because society tells them that’s a bit sad. While whoever’s earning more feels resentful because they feel their partner just doesn’t realise how stressed and exhausted they feel.

So the move towards equality in marriage has just replaced respect with resentment.

Worse still, when couples try to split the housework exactly then their love life goes flat. Because moving away from the traditional division of labour reduces a wife’s sexual satisfaction.

OK, I know you really do feel closer to your husband when he helps with the housework. As he should of course. But are you really aroused by a man doing dishes? Because I’ll bet you’re turned on at night by exactly the same things you hate during the day. Enjoying him taking charge in bed, for example, while resenting anything like that in daylight because it feels controlling.

So, sadly, there’s a lot less romance in a modern marriage, and much more resentment. Because the sexes are not as interchangeable as they seem.

So maybe, rather than striving for exact equality in your marriage, you should be searching for complementary lifestyles? So you both achieve more working together than either of you could on your own.

And maybe learn to respect each of your equally important, but different, contributions towards your relationship?

All the best,

Chris

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