What Makes A True Partnership

by Jorrie Varney
Originally Published: 
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I’m writing this from my bed, because my kids gave me some horrible illness. Typically, I power through, like all mothers do, because we don’t have time to be sick. You take a couple ibuprofen, drink some coffee, and pray you don’t die. Well, that’s what I normally do anyway, but this time there was no powering through. I tried, and I have now admitted defeat.

So, I’ve been confined to my bed, but it’s not near as glorious as it sounds, because I feel like my head might explode and I can hear my kids actively destroying my house. My husband is manning the fort alone. Typically, when a mom is down for the count, everything grinds to a screeching halt. Dishes and laundry pile up, toys are left in walkways, and everyone eats cereal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. As soon as you’re able to, most times not fully recovered, you hobble out of the fog and into an absurd amount of “back-log.”

I’ve been married for over ten years, have two children and two full-time jobs. I genuinely don’t have time to be sick. I need to seriously rebalance my life, and I’m working on that, but for the time being, I need every moment in the day to keep the wheels turning. My husband knows this. He sees me frantically scrambling at the end of the day to get things done, and every time he jumps in to help.

Because of my hectic schedule, my compulsive need to do all the things, and his fierce support of me, he has been my knight in shining armor more times than I can count. And let me just say, everyone deserves a partner like him—someone who steps up to the plate and helps shoulder the responsibilities of life, no matter what the circumstance. There are no expectations, no need for explanation, he is just there.

I’m not the kind of woman who likes to be rescued. In fact, I’m independent to a fault. I have a hard time asking for help, and by hard time, I mean, it’s highly unlikely I will ask for help, even when I’m drowning. But having an equal partner means I don’t need to ask for help. He’s there when I’m feeling overwhelmed, or in this case, sick and dying in bed. He does the dishes, the laundry, and keeps the kids from killing each other—just like I do. When I’m not there, he is.

He knows I’m an anxious mess who is completely triggered by chaos and clutter, so while I’m sick in bed, he’s out there picking up toys and straightening sofa pillows, so when I return to the land of the living, my only focus will be feeling better. I won’t need to catch up on everything that didn’t get done in my absence. I don’t have to worry about over-flowing laundry baskets, a sink full of dishes, or the house being left in shambles by unruly children, because my partner is there, taking care of business.

For a girl like me, this is better than flowers, coffee, and 2 hours of alone time at Target. My husband and I are partners in every way, true equals. I don’t need to ask him to do the laundry when I can’t, because it’s a shared responsibility, same with dishes, cleaning the house, paying the bills, and raising children. These are our responsibilities, and we have each other’s back through all of them. We literally do life together.

Because it’s his family, his kids, his house too.

The balance of responsibility looks a little different for every couple, but what really matters is that each person feels supported, no matter what the roles look like—you are equals and feel valued.

I tell my husband constantly how grateful I am for everything he is and everything he does. He’s probably sick of hearing it, honestly, but it’s important to me that he knows, because from my experience he’s a damn unicorn. He shouldn’t be, but he is. I know how good I’ve got it. Having an equal partner in all this is the kind of love and support that everyone deserves, and I can’t imagine doing this without him.

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