You Do Your Marriage, I'll Do Mine

by Toni Hammer
Originally Published: 
diego cervo / iStock

It had been one of those weeks where so much was happening and we were so busy that housework kept getting put off and neglected until Sunday morning rolled around. I stumbled from my bedroom, turned on the coffee pot, yawned, and took it all in. The mess, the piles of junk, the toys, the clothes, the everything everywhere. I stood there, took my first sip of coffee, sighed, and decided today would have to be a cleaning day. It was Sunday, and I wanted a clean house to start off the week with.

Once everyone else was awake, I told my husband my plan of cleaning most of the day. He agreed the house situation was a bit out of control and offered to take the kids up to his parents’ house for a few hours so I could get most things back to normal.

That’s right. He didn’t offer to pitch in or fold some laundry or anything. On the outside, it looks like he heard it was cleaning day and was high-tailing it out of there as fast as he could. However, that’s not at all what he was doing. What he was doing was making things easy on both of us.

It’s difficult for me to clean with everyone around. I need solitude. I need loud music. I need to be left alone to get shit done. This is not how my husband cleans, so he and I aren’t always the most productive when we tackle things like this together. But what he is good at is taking the kids away from me for a few hours so I can make magic happen. We both sincerely believe we’re getting off easy. After all, I get to be by myself all afternoon, and he doesn’t have to clean. This is why our marriage is strong.

It’s because we’ve figured out what works for us, and we don’t care what anyone else thinks or what it looks like to outsiders looking in. My husband wasn’t being lazy or shirking responsibility when he left with our children; rather he was doing exactly what he knew I wanted. He knew my wants and needs in that particular situation because we’ve figured out our strengths and weaknesses together and separately. It occurs in other facets of our lives as well.

I hate getting my clothes wet so something like bath time with two toddlers is a level of hell in my world because I say “wash your face,” and they hear “splash all the water onto the floor.” My husband doesn’t care if he gets wet, which is why he predominantly does bath time. I’m never in the mood to make breakfast in the mornings, but on the weekend that’s one of the first things he does after getting out of bed. He does something he enjoys, I get to reap the benefits of bacon and eggs, and then I clean the kitchen when we’re all done, which means he doesn’t have to which means I’m blessing him which means we’re both happy.

This is what works for us. It doesn’t work for everyone. I’ve had friends remark that my husband and I aren’t equal, that I do more, that he doesn’t do enough, but the fact is I don’t care what they say because they’re not married to us. They don’t know the hours and days we’ve spent figuring out how to make our marriage work and what it looks like. They don’t know the arguments and eyerolls that have happened as we find our groove, our routine.

The fact is that every person is different, every couple is different, and every couple needs to do quite a few rounds of trial and error to discern what is going to make their marriage run smoothly. If something works for you and your partner, regardless of how strange it may seem to outsiders, you do you. Whatever keeps the peace in the house and the love in the bedroom is what matters. Marriage is hard, so work for it the best way you can and don’t give a second thought to what anyone else thinks about it.

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