This Is Not Your Parents’ Marriage
By Sherri Oehme
It began when my hubby and I returned from our honeymoon. As I unpacked our suitcases, I filled the laundry room floor with sorted piles of dirty clothes.
I was excited to begin my wifely duties, even laundry. Through my actions, I was going to show him how much I loved him.
When I heard the buzz signaling the first completed load, I eagerly rushed in to remove the warm tangle of clothes.
But when he came in to help, words I had never heard spoken, nevertheless still understood, slipped from my sweet, smiling lips: “This is my job.”
“We don’t have my jobs and your jobs—we’re married and we work together.”
Well, okay then ... I thought, wondering how long this was going to last.
I entered marriage comfortable with the idea of being his helper. But honestly, the other way around was a bit foreign to me.
I grew up when roles were more gender defined. He grew up as an only child raised by a mother who didn’t have that luxury.
And we recognized early that these dissimilar upbringings were going to shape our marriage into one completely different from our parents’. Into a marriage that works for us.
True to his word, 30 years later, he still helps me fold laundry, cook, rinse dishes, and clean the house. And I help him mow the lawn, care for the garden, and clean the garage.
Our marriage doesn’t look anything like those we were (and weren’t) raised in. We learned that’s OK. Different isn’t wrong—it’s just different.
The good stuff: Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
Action point: Talk about the roles of your mother and father when you were growing up. Were they gender defined, or did your parents share the responsibilities of the home? How is your marriage similar? Different? Are your current roles working for you both? If not, discuss what’s not working and how you can become better helpers to one another.
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