Who had the worst day?
The debate over who had the worst day has not been resolved since the time of Adam and Eve. It would seem that many husbands of stay at home Mom’s harbour the fantasy that their wives spend the day drinking coffee, having their nails done and shopping with their spouse’s was hard earned money.
The wife’s version is that she has no time in the day for herself or any really meaningful activity, because the time is broken up by an endless series of not very meaningful tasks, like errands, lift schemes and shopping purely for the needs of the family. The wife’s fantasy, is that her husbands day comprises of stimulating adult company, business lunches playing golf, and chatting up accomplished women who have the time and resources to keep themselves looking glamorous and have sufficient dose interest in their families to be filled with interesting work-related conversation. The husband’s version would be that he spends the entire day, under constant pressure, fighting for survival, watching his back, under unrelenting strain from financial pressures, wasting his time golf and lunches that have to be done in order to keep clients or customers satisfied. He would like nothing more then to be able to object in children’s sports matches, and do many of the things that his wife accuses him of not being interested in doing for the family.
The sad irony is that both husband and wife are engaged in building a shared world together. Neither is doing what they’re doing purely for themselves or their own interests. And yet, by engaging in this dispute their pitting themselves against each other and thereby creating an adversarial relationship as opposed to a relationship of mutual interdependence. In the heat of the individual stresses and strains and fulfilling it they focus on their own personal survival, rather than on the good of the project and the fulfilment of a shared vision.
The challenge for couples is firstly to bear in mind that marriage and family life are after-hours activities. This means that people are called upon to invest in marriage and family after a full day of work when both people are feeling depleted and needing replenishment, rather than more demands. The way to replenish is to focus on what you’ve got what you appreciate and what you value about each other. This means becoming mindful of everything that your partner does in service of the greater project of building a family together. It means placing at your attention on every small thing that your partner does on every sacrifice they make and realising that these are all gifts to you even if you’re not giving everything that you tell yourself that you need or deserve.