Why Smart Couples Talk About Responsibilities
“Everybody hide – daddy’s home! ” One of the kids shouted.
After some loud thumping, lots of giggles and “
Soon, he came through the door. After giving each other a hug and a kiss, he said, “I wonder where the kids are…”
The kids giggled louder.
Melis looked in a couple rooms before finally heading to the kitchen where he found the kids hiding. They shrieked with laughter and delight.
“Let’s play again!” They shouted…
Overall, I loved being a stay-at-home mom and wife – I had my heart’s desire. And before we married, we did talk about our responsibilities and who would do what:
- Melis wanted to stay home on the family farm
- I wanted to be a mom
- We both wanted a large family
So we agreed that I would look after a lot of the responsibilities for running the house.
Even though there were times when I felt like a single parent when the kids were small and Melis worked long hours… at the same time, we still worked as a team.
As tired as Melis was when he came home, he would still play with the kids. And on weekends, he was up early on Saturdays getting things done around the home.
And now, years later, our responsibilities have shifted. Melis has taken over more of the daily household tasks so I can concentrate on the business.
This brings us to the third of four areas we need to battle about in our marriage, which is responsibilities.
#3 – We Need To Talk (or Fight) About Responsibilities
Let’s be honest… nobody wants to do all the work all the time (I sure don’t!).
Somebody needs to do things like…
- Pay the bills
- Make the money to pay the bills
- Care for children
- Be the taxi driver
- Do dishes
- Clean the house
- Look after the garden
- Walk the dog
However, responsibilities need to be mutually decided on so one person doesn’t feel like they’re doing the lion’s share of work.
There are seasons, of course, where one person will be doing more of the work. Nonetheless, that needs to be mutually understood and worked out rather than one person avoiding a lot of the responsibility in the relationship. Otherwise, one person carries all the weight of the relationship.
And that’s no fun.
When one person carries all the weight, it can show up in different ways:
- Caring for the home
- One person does all the connecting in relationships
- One person pursues their dreams while the other one doesn’t
In the event that only one person pursues their dream, that’s okay as long as the couple makes that decision together. They need to talk, negotiate and work through that.
It’s not okay if one person makes all the plans and the couple doesn’t do any dreaming or working it out together.
That’s not a partnership. It’s not a marriage – that’s one person carrying all of the responsibility and lording it over the other person.
Power and responsibility show up in the way that we’re able to influence each other. Read the blog post about power here.
Both parties should be influencing each other for the good in a healthy relationship. So even though our partner’s hopes, dreams, and desires to spend their time aren’t the same as ours, we still listen to our partner’s deepest longings.
Listening may feel like a small thing, but it helps our partner to feel heard, desired and wanted… It helps them to feel that they’re a part of the team in the marriage.
“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are almost indistinguishable.”
– David Augsburger
Our ability to listen and allow our partner’s strengths to influence us and our marriage helps the “us” factor and helps us to be a team.
I’ve created a fun and easy free listening quiz to help you become a better listener. Download it by going here now and find out how good of a listener you are.
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