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Love Bytes Tip #3: Practice Home Economics

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The genesis of this series written by me and the husband unit is this post right here. We decided to co-blog for one month to get to the heart (pun intended) of the communication breakdown in our marriage. It is as much therapy for us as it is advice for other married/partnered couples.

Read Love Bytes Tip #1

Read Love Bytes Tip #2

This week's tip for the Men:

I recently read an interesting article in Newsweek by a columnist who explained how economics saved her marriage. The idea that most fascinated me was that the best way to divide housework was by specialty, not 50/50. Damon and I rarely argue about chores (except when he's creating more work for me) because we basically operate on this model. I specialize in being neat and organized so I keep the schedules and lists and do the laundry, dishes, floors, bathrooms, dusting, and anything else that needs to be cleaned and put in order. Damon is the better cook so he specializes in meal planning and preparation. He also majored in finance which is why he takes on the household budget and pays the bills (mostly on time). The economic theory of specializing rejects old-fashioned values where the wife is expected to do all of the housework. It also flies in the face of feminist principles that a wife should do no more than half. This is what makes housework specialization so brilliant! It's not about societal expectations, but about what system works in your home. So if you are fed up with your clothes being shrunk in the wash, then you are might want to consider taking over laundry duty. And, word to the wise...just because your wife specializes in keeping things in your house clean does not give you a free pass to make a mess. When you come home to a freshly mopped floor it would be prudent to remove your dirty shoes at the door.

This week's tip for the Women:
Over the last couple of years I came to the realization that Teresha and I don't have the same relationship with money which has resulted in differing approaches to making financial decisions. I have always wondered if this is a gender difference or just a difference based on our financial upbringing – no answer on that one yet. So what’s the difference you may ask? Historically, Teresha tended to make financial decisions led by emotion and I have historically tended to make financial decision led by logic. Neither way is necessarily good or bad. This tug of war led by my head and her heart has caused quite a few headaches and a lot of heartburn over the years. Ultimately, I think spouses must understand and appreciate each other’s relationship with money to make their relationship work. While my mom always provided for me and my brother when we were kids, we struggled at times. I am proud to say we were poor and happy! Splurging for us was going to McDonald's for hamburgers and the Olive Garden was for “rich” people. My family’s relationship with money was very pragmatic. For example, I think I have held some type of “job” since I was around eight years old (if not younger). So I have always made my own money. Never wanting to live paycheck to paycheck – I have always been driven to be financially conservative. Teresha’s family was more easy-going when it came to watching pennies. My observation is that her family tended to have a relationship with money that was centered more around wants than needs which led to a more emotional bent to her relationship with money. For example if relative X was struck deathly ill, Teresha’s first thought would probably be “ how quickly can we get down there to visit”. My first thought would probably be “how much would it cost to get down there – and why doesn’t relative X take better care of themselves.” That being said, I have softened up over the years when making financial decisions and Teresha has become more financially prudent. That is not to say that we don’t still have little tiffs about money from time to time, but though candid communications and little understanding – we are definitely on the road towards financial harmony!


Mrs. K said...

This is so sweet guys. I love it that you are co-blogging. You both provide very good words of wisdom. I will co-read with my husband. LOL.

Tony said...

you guys are adorable...lol.

Alexia said...

So true...so true. The idea of specializing around the house is really smart. Why force someone to do half the chores when they hate doing that chore and therefore do it half-assed (only half-kidding)?

And there is a huge divide financially in our marriage as well. We have been very honest with each other in the past year or so and have started to get more on the same page. Glad we're not the only ones!

Alexia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kim said...

Loved this! Great to hear both of your voices. I think the money thing kind of works the same way in our household. We don't have major arguments over it but there is always some tension about the differences in spending habits. I think that specializing is such a great way to deal with the division of labour. And similar to you guys, we have split it up where I do the laundry, most of the stuff with the kids and cleaning while Shaune does the cooking, finances and stuff to do with yard work and the vehicles. It's not perfect but it works.

What a great series this is - I'm really enjoying it!

Anonymous said...

Specialty chores or responsibilities sounds awesome. Unfortunately, our method is more like I go, go, go until I get burnt out and then the husband steps in for a few days while I recharge and start all over again. We are still working on it. Oh, and in our house, Olive Garden is still for the "rich" folks! ;o)

My best, Lynn

Rhonda said...

I love that you guys are blogging together and love your thoughts and insights! What a great exercise! Now you have me thinking!!

Unknown said...

I think it is great that you are co-blogging and sharing your thoughts and ideas. This would be a great thing for marriage counselors to suggest - even it's just journaling or writing letters to each other. Great idea.

You know, I think God made men to think more logically since historically they were the bread winners and were responsible for their families safety. Women were responsible for the day to day care of their families & children's health. And it seems to show that it still applies now in the 2000's. I will definitely be back to read more and if you have a button, I'll add it to my Family Literacy blog.

Thanks! Tina "The Book Lady"

Unknown said...

I'm entering the $100 giveaway on MommyGaga and now am following you. I'd love if you followed me back.

Tina "The Book Lady"

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