Thursday, May 6, 2010

Grampa's Guidelines on Newly Married Divisions of Labor

A young man, married for nearly 8 years is back living with his parents while his divorce is finalized.  He really has it good. To help with his expenses and money management his aging mother fixes his meals--even packs him a lunch for work. His dad does his laundry.  His great folks are both there for him at night after work to recieve  his blown off steam as good listeners and his two biggest fans.

She would be doing these things--but they've "split the sheets" as the saying goes.   The whys and wherefores are known only to them--and then maybe never completely, so I understand.  As you read through these next few paragraphs, Grampa, know that there's always two sides--sometimes more.  See if you can glean out the guidance and lessons of these two great kids and what happened.   Even the crummy experiences have a little something to teach us, so I understand!

By the time they've spent thirty or forty years together, most Grammas and Grampas have developed a division of labor that suits them.  They're comfortable with it and are happy to pass it on to their chillins and gramchillins as one of the most important things about marriage and living together.   I'd recommend ours to any newly wedded kid or gramkid as an unwrapped wedding present .

The anatomy of the split goes something like this:

He expected that she would do for him as his great mom always had and always will when the opportunity presents itself.  The conventional roles have changed a lot -- but the purpose of getting together under the auspices of God and the Community is to share the burdens and the joys, the chores and the thrills of married life, so I understand.

His complaint that she never pretended to want to or liked to cook did give him a chance to stretch his chef skills on ceremonial occasions, but late at night, after a hard day of study and work, a cold cheese sandwich offered in love and understanding would have been appreciated.  Seldom happened, so I understand.

His rants involved laundry undone, house cleaning and bathroom chores unfulfilled--oh, she painted the guest bathroom a garrish  bright orange and for resale purposes changed it to a more soothing green--but domestic meant interior design, so I understand!

Money is always tight to begin with.  Scraping by on a small salary and student loans might have made more sense in a tidy if small apartment, but he bought her the short-saled house she saw in the real estate ads and craved to show off to her sisters.  That and her need to keep up with prosperous sisters armed with credit cards and more free time than she---well it all mounted up, so I understand.

His folks told me that, "Of course we pray for him but we pray for her--they both need it.   We did our best to make a friend there.  She seemed to return the favor--and at an awkward family gathering to see the latest Harry Potter film, she hugged us.  The split was fresh and his grudges were pretty demanding.   She begged for a hug from him--he was reluctant.  It was the last time he ever showed up to a family gathering where she planned to attend.   Split from him means split from everyone, so I understand!

If the house hadn't gone to within a hair's breadth of foreclosure--and both of them had pulled their weight with the domestic chores, I believe they'd still be together.  But, when they moved out for the new owners, she went one way and he went back home.

Marriage is not a 50/50 sharing arrangement.  It involves generous overlapping of 100 percent effort on the part of each party, so I understand!  JRH

No comments:

Post a Comment