Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Give and Take

Last night, as I was ready to go to yoga class, I saw that my car had a flat tire. This was my 5th flat tire in 9 months and my 6th tire issue in 9 months. I will say, driving my car as much as I do certainly takes its toll. I went back upstairs to get Brendan, who gave me a ride to yoga, came home and put on my spare, and then drove my car to get some air for the spare and pick up groceries. While I was in my yoga class, he cooked us a healthy dinner of quinoa and vegetables.

When I got home (a friend gave me a ride), I gave him a kiss, thanked him, and told him I owed him. His reply? "No you don't, I'd say we're about even." I couldn't even think of anything I had done, but Brendan could, and he started listing. I : cleaned up after the cats, folded laundry, paid bills, argued with customer service when it seemed they had screwed up our honeymoon flights, etc. The funny thing was, none of that stuff had even occurred to me as being particularly helpful, but all of it was things Brendan didn't particularly want to do (call me crazy, but paying bills is actually FUN to me).

The story struck me as a nice example of the balance we've managed to strike in our relationship. A little over 2 years in, and we don't keep track of things, but do a pretty 50/50 job of cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry, and household tasks. It seems that we each have tasks we mind a little less (Brendan is fine with dishes, while I take on laundry, and we both like to cook). We've hired help for the things that we both dislike. Our relationship is a perfect harmony.

For many people reading this, this is probably a very "duh" post. Yes, obviously relationships should be equal. However, I'm constantly amazed at how many women complain that the men in their lives give them little to no help around the house, expecting them to work full time and take care of domestic chores. In our relationship, Brendan and I have the same job, so it only makes sense that we'd share the workload of domestic duties, however, to so many men, this just isn't obvious.

I would have NEVER fallen in love with someone who did not see eye to eye with me on this issue, but I think many women don't know this is something that they can expect from a relationship, so they do not know to look for it. To complicate matters, some women don't live with a partner until after marriage, so, once they realize their spouse expects them to take on the burden of the chores, they are already legally committed to this person (it goes without saying here, but this is one of the many reasons I think living together prior to marriage is a responsible and healthy decision--for both parties. Relationships can work without doing this, but they should entail extra communication about expectations for the partnership).

I hope that, in the future, more and more women and men come to realize the importance of equality in a relationship. It takes parents raising strong women, who know they should expect equality, and smart men, who know that being a giving partner will lead to a happier partner and a healthier relationship.

After my workout today, I came home to these beauties:

Yet another reason I say, "Do I really have to wait 164 days to marry you?"

Here's to the giving (and the taking),
<3 S, B, L&Z

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