another note on marriage

The back of this dress



I’m really enveloped in relationship talk, if you couldn’t tell already. So much so that my notes on marriage are becoming a wee bit of a series around these parts. When I say series I mean a compilation of my notes from books or articles I’ve read here and there. A place to give my thoughts some semblance of organization.

I mentioned I ordered a book a few weeks back but was hesitant to pass along the name. I’m about twenty pages in and I’m no longer hesitant to pass along the name: Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before and After You Marry .To tell you the truth, I don’t care if the rest of the book is nonsensical, this one lesson is enough to make the $5 worthwhile.

The first chapter touches on realistic expectations as being a critical component of a healthy marriage. If you’re anything like me, you’re thinking Well sure, we all know that life is full of challenges, and every day isn’t going to be a fairy tale, etc., etc. But this book digs deeper surrounding expectations, not limiting them to expectation of marriage in and of itself, but your specific role.

Coming from a single parent home, I sort of always tossed aside the idea that to a varying degree, we imitate what we saw as a child when it comes to a marriage. This concept doesn’t apply to me I’d think I’ll find my own way, my own role-models. This is true to a certain extent, not watching on a daily basis the common exchange of husband and wife, but now I think I dismissed the idea too quickly.

After introducing the idea, the authors go on to list examples of the roles we take on, consciously or automatically. As I was started going through the list, mentally ticking off the roles I at some point or another take on, it dawned on me that I was wrong to think that having a single mother that embodied every role from cook to nurse to handy-(wo)man, wouldn’t affect my mindset.

My mom did it all. Not because she wanted to, but because she had no other choice. Now, attempting to look objectively at what I bring to the table in our relationship, I realize that I have a tendency to take on most tasks in the name of “this needs to be done this instant” (it doesn’t) efficiency, even when I have a more than willing partner.

This is my way of replicating my role model.  I don’t know how I never noticed it before. After contemplating it a bit I don’t think it’s a altogether a bad thing, but I’m glad I recognized it. I think it’s important for a relationship to feel balanced. Not to say chores and responsibilities need to be divvied up, no, no, but for both to contribute in their way and respect, not resent, the diversity of the others’ contributions.


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