I saw on Facebook that today is International Women’s Day, and in our celebration of the achievements of women socially, economically, politically, and culturally, everywhere, there’s also the goal of continued equality for women. I think that’s great, I really do, but we get so caught up in things being 50/50 that we lose sight of some inportant points along the way. And no where do I see this negatively affected more than in marriage relationships. In our efforts to gain equality for women we demand a 50/50 relationship with our spouse, and I just don’t see that working. Here’s why.
You may think that I’m going to get on a soapbox about the man being the head of the household, and while for my home I do see that to be Bibically true, that’s not the point I want to make today. I want to go deeper than that. I want to talk about being happy in your marriage in today’s society.
You see, for me it seems like a terrible thing happens when you focus too much on keeping the responsibilities of your home divided in half. In your efforts to maintain a 50/50 relationship of parenting, housework, and industry, you take your eyes off the outcome as a whole, and your focus pinpoints on self. If you want your marriage to fail then by all means set your sights solely on self. But if you want a happy, healthy home then widen your vision. Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say you do the majority of the cooking. You’re good at it, right? Well, some nights you’re tired, and after cooking a nice meal for everyone you notice a sink full of dishes. You cooked! Can’t he even clean it up?! Where’s the 50/50?! You’re doing everything, he’s doing nothing, and this is not fair! Now, let’s give him the silent treatment and go to bed angry! That’ll get the point across!
So, while you were so busy focusing on what you had done, and on what he had not done, you lost sight of what was going on. You were so fixated on your efforts that you missed his. You let it slip past you completely how your spouse had come home and fixed the broken toilet, or helped the kids with their homework. You neglected to ask him about his day because you were too busy thinking about how bad yours had been. All you saw were your efforts, and you held them up in comparison to his. In your goal of 50/50 you lost sight of the selfless sacrifice we should all put forth in the important relationships that matter most to us.
A marriage cannot be 50/50 because in your efforts to do your equal half you’ll only give a portion of yourself and that’s not fair to your spouse. In their return efforts to give you what you’re griping about they too will only give you a portion of themselves, and you don’t want that! You don’t want half of what your spouse can offer you. You need more. Well, so do they.
A marriage should actually be 100/100. Each partner should give fully of themselves to the relationship and to the efforts of the family. Only then will it really thrive. And when you’re so focused on just doing your part, or especially scrutinizing of your spouse’s contribution then you will miss the fact that a truly caring relationship gives everything it has. It gives unconditionally, 100%, without thought of what you’re getting in return. That’s marriage.
If you want it to be equal at all times then get a roommate and assign job responsibilities. But if you want a relationship that understands sometimes one is weak, and this is when the other stands strong, then take your eyes off yourself. Stop looking at what your spouse can do for you, and instead focus on what you can do for them. It’s in this selfless love that you’ll experience a reciprocal return of your efforts. Sure it won’t be 50/50, but I think it will be even better.