By Carolyn Hax
Tuesday, September 7, 2010; C05
Adapted from a recent online discussion, continued from yesterday: the husband who allegedly doesn't contribute enough at home.
I probably should have included this [yesterday]: My husband was pretty socially awkward when we first met. I don't want to say I did him a favor by marrying him, but that's not far from the truth. I'm much better-looking than he is, I'm much smarter and I have a much better personality. We have an unbalanced marriage, and I expect him to compensate for that in some way. So even if he is doing slightly more work than I am, I don't think that even comes close to what he really owes this marriage.
You officially can't be real.
I'm not sure why you think this isn't real. My husband is upset about the whole thing and maybe my take on things is skewed. It's hard to think my view is really so off when I get validation from just about everyone I talk with and even my husband would agree our marriage is "unbalanced." He just doesn't agree there needs to be a remedy.
By marrying, you deemed each other your equals -- emotional equals, equals in status, equal partners in each other's happiness. That includes dividing chores more or less equally based on your total responsibilities, including jobs, kids, ailing relatives, etc.
The marriage you're describing is a business arrangement -- one in which, from here, you seem to be making out well.
A straight answer, just in case.
I appreciate the straight answer. Maybe what I can take from all of this is that I need some individual counseling and that my husband and I need some marriage counseling.
Yes, that's fair. You do sound sincere now -- your view that he owed you more housework because you have the better personality really was shocking to me.
I don't believe anyone gets married as a favor to the spouse. Instead, people marry a perceived inferior because there's something in it for them -- be it money or security or a sense of comparative superiority that props them up through life.
Apparently, though, people who do this can persuade themselves that they're doing someone a favor. Then, if the marriage isn't the free ride to which they feel entitled, they feel justified in protesting.
If that's what happened here, then I'll just say this: Your husband is a human being. Please grant him the dignity his humanity affords him, and stop shouting to everyone who will listen about his relative worthlessness as a person against your high value. Start noting and appreciating what he does for you. And yes, counseling, stat.
Re: Shouting to everyone:
Huh, wonder if I am guilty of that.
My spouse is smart, attractive, interesting, etc. He is also lazy around the house, and moody. I vent about both. Should I not? It is true, not likely to change, and venting does help me cope with it.
It's okay to have discreet outlets; it's not okay to blab to any and all.
And, it's okay to accept trade-offs as inevitable -- but it's not okay to hide behind "venting" when you're really just miserable.
Talk to fewer people, sure, but also listen to yourself.