Sarah and John have been married for three years. They share many common interests, including movies, camping and being outdoors. They love spending time alone together, but there is one bone of contention between them: housework.
He's lazy John would rather watch TV than help me or pick up the house. Sure, he mows the lawn, but the flowers don’t get watered or the weeds pulled. I work full time and feel I should not have to do all the housework. He gets his night out with his buddies and I spend the time doing laundry. How fair is that? I am not the maid around here! My mother waited on my dad hand and foot. I refuse to fall into that trap. When we first got married, John loved to be with me and would gladly help out. Now he seems not to want to be bothered. She's a nag Sarah loves to over-dramatize the situation. She feels the house is in such bad shape. I don’t agree. We don’t have to have the nicest house on the block. How long can laundry take? I work full time and regular overtime. I deserve to be able to relax in the evening. I only go out with the guys once a month. Sure I love her, but do I have to spend every minute with her? She is just too demanding and I am tired of hearing it.
The expert says: I think we can all relate to John and Sarah. Our parents don’t warn us about how much work a marriage can take. Society just lets us go into this long-term commitment without really understanding what we are in for. The best part of a marriage is the knowledge that you are truly cared for and loved by another individual. Trust and commitment lay the foundation for us to weather the storms of a relationship. John and Sarah need to start there. First, John and Sarah need to really talk about what is bothering them at a time when they are not frustrated and angry. Direct conversation is always helpful. Letting one person speak and really listening takes patience and thinking time. Sarah and John should give each other that time. One speaks and one listens. Then the other person has his or her chance. This gives each partner time to understand the other’s thoughts and feelings. Once they understand each other’s point of view, they can work out a compromise – understanding that John may have to help out a little more and Sarah may need to relax her standards a little bit.
– Deborah McCormack is the director of Catholic Charities for Genesee/Shiawassee Counties.