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A Willing Man

twit picTweeted this photo a month ago, not fifteen minutes after I’d finished vacuuming. Then I cried.

In an average week I spend anywhere from ten to eighteen hours taking care of the hearth and home.  By that I mean I spend between ten and eighteen hours vacuuming, washing dishes, doing laundry, paying bills, walking the dogs, emptying the litter box, taking out the trash, et cetera, in addition to the forty plus hours I work at my jobs, in addition to the work Michael does around the house, and I’ll tell you something, that man more than pulls his weight around here.

Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of headlines about how marriages where the husband helps out around the house are happier and less likely to end in divorce than marriages where the wife shoulders most of the household chores.  I think this is an incredibly interesting topic because I’ve had a personal theory about this for years, a theory something along the lines of how I would die of apoplexy if I ever lived with another man who was incapable of taking care of himself.

No, Kevin, I’m not writing about you, I know you think this post is about you, don’t you? Don’t you?

You guys, I once lived with my friend Kevin and the fact that we’re still friends is kind of a miracle because I was the worst roommate in the entire world.  I did things to that poor guy that I can’t even type here, but to give you an idea of what a really terrible, awful roommate I was, I will tell you that whenever I knew he was bringing a girl home, I would poop in his toilet and not flush.

Hello, future potential employers!

Anyway, I did that horrible thing because I was… I was… I’m drawing a blank.  He got me back though.  He once hid all of my oranges.

Where was I?  I was a terrible roommate, but at least Kevin could take care of himself.  Sure, he left his groceries on the porch overnight, more than once, and I’d find his shoes in my bathroom and his underpants on the TV, but he worked hard and he was patient and kind and he helped with the chores.  And we’re still friends.

I’ve lived with other men over the years, I’m not talking about family members, I’m talking about roommates and what not, and the ones that didn’t help with chores?  They are no longer a part of my life, not even a little bit.  So my theory evolved from my inability to maintain relationships with men who refused to treat me as an equal.  Because that’s what it comes down to folks.  If a physically able man who hasn’t hired full time help won’t chip in with the chores, he’s either a completely dependent child or he thinks he’s too good to stoop to a woman’s level and take care of the home.  Am I being a little brash?  Probably, but I’ve watched too many women I love sacrifice themselves for a guy who doesn’t give back and I’ve been the girl who gives everything and finds herself alone and empty hearted.

When I mentioned the headlines about husband’s who help with housework to Mike he looked at me thoughtfully and said, “Of course.  A husband who helps with chores is the kind of man who helps.  He’s considerate, he’s thoughtful, he’s kind.  Of course his marriage is happier and less likely to end in divorce.”  He spoke the words on the tip of my tongue.

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  • Kim

    Can I just agree with everything in this post?


    • Did I? Did I FINALLY enable comment subscription?

      • Kim

        YOU DID IT!!!

  • Kim – exactly!

    Patricia – I follow your blog religiously (thanks to Kim) though I don’t always comment. I love your writing, I love your posts, and this post in particular made me decide to write OH MY GOSH AMEN WOMAN YOU ARE SO SPOT ON.

    I need to say that I KNOW that not all men are “acts of service” men (read “The 5 Love Languages” if you don’t know what I’m referring to)…BUT, even a woman who isn’t an “acts of service” women ends up doing a lot of them…just b/c that’s society’s thought of how it should be done.

    I’m currently married to a man who does the dishes EVERY MORNING (we don’t have a dishwasher) and YES, it took us about 4 yrs together and 1 year of marriage before he realized how much HAPPIER that would make me…but now he HAS…and he DOES IT…and it makes me SO HAPPY. He respects me, he realizes we both bring things to this marriage (including cleaning the house)…and it’s GOOD.

    Sorry for all the caps…just typing how I’m thinking right now.

    Thanks for a great post. 🙂

    • Frost

      Thank you Josie! I have written pages and pages about this, I just haven’t posted any of it until now. Perhaps we should explore this a little more?

      And yes, it’s true, not all men are “acts of service” men, but helping out around the house has more to do with being a supportive team player than it is about showing love. Though I do feel loved when he helps with chores. I feel very loved, and respected, and taken care of.

      Isn’t it wonderful to be married to someone who wants you to be happy? Amen, Josie!

  • ‘Cita

    Please tell me you didn’t really do that Awful Thing to Kevin……please say you were Just Kidding. Please.

    • Frost

      Oh, Mama. Don’t worry. You raised me to be a lady.