"I didn't love my wife before we got married."
September 16, 2013 3:19 PM   Subscribe

And even worse, it seemed that the harder I tried to be sentimental and lovey-dovey, the less it was reciprocated. "But eventually it became clear. Through giving, through doing things for my wife, the emotion that I had been so desperately seeking naturally came about. It wasn't something I could force, just something that would come about as a result of my giving." (SLHuffPo)
posted by Kitteh (70 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
Of course, he seems to ignore all those people who date LONG ENOUGH to roll all the way around from infatuation to lasting love.
posted by lydhre at 3:26 PM on September 16, 2013 [24 favorites]


That fire I felt, it was simply that: emotional fire. From the excitement of dating a woman I felt like I could marry. But it wasn't love.

Yeah, there's a word for that: infatuation. Is this another one of those things that every generation has to find out for themselves all over again?
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:30 PM on September 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


Nice sharing! I wonder if they will still be together in 5 years. I kinda doubt it.

Because as our marriage progressed, I found myself offering to help out around the house more and more.

And after each time, there would be this look she would give me. This look of absolute love. One that was soft and so beautiful.

posted by KokuRyu at 3:30 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Or what lydhre said.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:31 PM on September 16, 2013


Given that we have a wide variety of fairly precise terms to describe different kinds of emotional investment and commitment (infatuation, lust, codependence, etc. etc.), I think I'm going to take my vocabulary cues from someone whose all-in approach to defining a single word continues to reflect his fairly narrow experience.
posted by belarius at 3:31 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


"No, love isn't an emotion or even a noun. It's a verb. Better defined as giving. As putting someone else's needs above your own."

This is pretty much a lesson most people would do well to learn, I think.
posted by boo_radley at 3:33 PM on September 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


He does make a valid point that relationships are work and that making them last is a constant effort but at the same time this does not read like a piece written by someone who has actually been married and had a child. It's written as if by a high school kid who is retelling a story told by his parents. I mean, "I throw my socks on the floor and my wife doesn't like it!" Seriously? This isn't a caricature of what marriage is supposed to be like for people who've never been married?
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 3:33 PM on September 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


Of course, he seems to ignore all those people who date LONG ENOUGH to roll all the way around from infatuation to lasting love.

He's ignoring them because they already get it.

He's talking to the people who don't learn the difference at all, no matter how long they date. Or how long they're married.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:35 PM on September 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


This is a simple and frequently-discovered theory of love, it seems. It was described to me hundreds of times in my adolescence, usually by eerily-smiling religious couples on the lecture circuit. They all independently discover that love isn't based in emotion, but in work and dedication. They redefine the word as understood by children and presume the hard-won love they base their relationship on is all there is.

I was completely prepared for that. It's made me appreciate even more that my partner and I have never felt the glow fade, even after all these years. Not even a little bit in those first few months of cohabitation. We've been best friends and in love since the beginning (maybe part of it is coming to it in that order). We still have trouble maintaining friendships, because we'd rather spend every spare moment alone with each other. I almost feel embarrassed admitting this, but we've never even had an argument or raised our voices.

I think the advice given in the article, that view of hard-won love leading to the hoped-for romantic love, is valuable for a lot of people. I'd have appreciated learning that it wasn't all there is, though. I got lucky, but what if I'd never realized it could be like how it turned out? Would I be stuck now in a sort-of happy relationship based on hard-won love?
posted by gilrain at 3:47 PM on September 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


In contrast, there are plenty of us who sort of do have marriages that resemble Disney relationships most of the time. My partner and I definitely still have the feeling of our first date much of the time, and that was more than five and a half years ago. There's other stuff, too, but loving each other is never work. Our relationship is never work.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:50 PM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


So "love" is this dude discovering how to pull his own weight in a relationship? And then patting himself on the back for it?

Hurrah, you're an adult now and no you STILL don't get a cookie. Christ.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:52 PM on September 16, 2013 [71 favorites]


I appreciate the sentiment of this post and do think that more people could stand to hear the message. But something bothers me just a little about it, and I think it's the "cherish your spouse by picking up after yourself" trope. Putting someone else's needs before your own is a wonderful definition of love. But isn't being responsible for your own home & children kind of more like just... being an adult?

I guess I'd prefer it if the specific example of how he loves his wife wasn't doing his fair share of the things that need to get done in their partnership. To me, that's a given when you are domestic partners, co-parents, etc. I think of love as not the fair share, but the above-and-beyond.
posted by annekate at 3:53 PM on September 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


I don't know about this - it sure seems like a great narrative if you want women not to develop any sexual subjectivity. "Oh, love isn't instant! It comes through work! It's expressed through work! It's not about 'emotional fire' (or presumably sexual desire) but about supporting each other every day". So your partner is supposed to be a combination of a parent and a really great roommate.

That might work really well if everyone involved had sex outside the relationship and relied on the relationship for practical life and emotional support. And of course, plenty of people are happy in relationships where there has never been much sexual desire. But we do already live in a culture which discourages women from having sexual subjectivity, in part because of narratives like this one.
posted by Frowner at 3:54 PM on September 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


Jeez, what low expectations. Your self-satisfaction at declining to force your wife to do every iota of domestic drudgery herself isn't love, and neither is her relief when you pick up a sock so she doesn't have to.
posted by rue72 at 3:55 PM on September 16, 2013 [17 favorites]


While I believe him in speaking to his personal experiences, and I'm glad for him, my experience of love is very different. I mean, I've known my wife now for... let's see... 27 or so years, and certainly the relationship has slowly transmogrified over the years; but at the core I have pretty much the same feelings for her as I did when I first knew her, because it was her, and I knew her.
But there's room for all kinds of love, so good for them (I hope).
posted by Red Loop at 3:56 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I do want to be clear on my part. I find his perspective interesting, though I don't necessarily agree with it.

I do think sometimes people don't understand that love and being in love are different. One is instantaneous and the other takes work. Hell, I've been married nearly five years now and it was still startling to learn (in a really good way) that marriage is not all Romantic Movie Montage and Roll Credits to Whatever Adult Contemporary Hit is Popular Now.

It is work, but it's the kind of thing you never notice you make an effort at unless there is someone determined to point out that it's sort of like drudgery. If you're doing it right, it isn't and probably will never be.
posted by Kitteh at 4:03 PM on September 16, 2013


OK to me it looks like this essay has two parts.

Part 1: I thought I knew what love was, but then I discovered that my idea of love was for babies. It was a baby's idea of love, because I was a baby. Real Adult Love doesn't come so easy. But now I know.
..
I feel like this is a pretty standard tale and even though I am only 23 and actually have not yet lived and experienced that, it gets written about enough, or made into movies enough, or music, or whatever, that I'm pretty familiar with the idea. Pretty cool. Nothing wrong with this.

Part 2: ALSO, everyone having this false idea of love is specifically because they watched stuff like Disney movies and The Office. ALSO that's why people are divorcing and we can "fix the conversation around love" and then we'll fix divorces too!
..
This seems a little less likely to me!

But I also think Huffington Post's "The Blog" would not let you publish your personal essay about Real Love on their site if all you had was the first bit, so our author (also a young person, presumably?) probably had little choice but to add something about divorce. Or whatever.
posted by a birds at 4:05 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


So "love" is this dude discovering how to pull his own weight in a relationship? And then patting himself on the back for it?

If you genuinely figure that out, it's one of the things that's probably worth patting yourself on the back for.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:08 PM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Not-on-preview, yeah. It looks like basically everyone's reaction is some variation on "Livejournal that way, kid ---->". We could have that discussion about the role of the internet in ensuring we even read this essay in the first place? Maybe? Like, far fewer sets of eyeballs would have ever viewed this in 1985, and so on.
posted by a birds at 4:12 PM on September 16, 2013


This reminds me a LOT of the Kirk Cameron movie "Fireproof" where the secret to turning his marriage happy again was as simple as "give her things and don't be an asshole for 40 days."

What I'd love to know is what his wife was doing before he decided that love is a VERB and he needed to pick up his socks. Was she cooking his meals and doing his laundry and running the household and single-handedly parenting the child(ren) while he sat at his writing desk all day musing about God? Is he confusing the chores that she is doing -- the chores that Hasidic society probably expects her to do without complaint, mind you -- as her love for him?

I know I sound negative about the whole thing, but I was Ms. "Love is a VERB!!11!" for two years trying to save my 1st marriage. I bristle at the notion that if things are bad, you have to keep doing and giving more. Sometimes there are no more socks left to pick up.
posted by kimberussell at 4:16 PM on September 16, 2013 [36 favorites]


This guy is like a high schooler understanding that there was intuition behind Newton's calculus (but not what that intuition was or its second-order consequences). "It's so simple!" the high schooler exclaims. "Why didn't I notice before?"

Meanwhile an army of post-docs, grad students and undergrad non-math majors are too busy doing their thing to spare a "duh" for what one teenager thinks.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:17 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?
posted by KokuRyu at 4:35 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


This reminds me a LOT of the Kirk Cameron movie "Fireproof" where the secret to turning his marriage happy again was as simple as "give her things and don't be an asshole for 40 days."

Whoa whoa whoa whoa let's not cut the life-applicable lessons in that motion picture classic short shrift.

He also had to completely stop masturbating forever.
posted by griphus at 4:43 PM on September 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


I tend to think that love is all about smell, you know, pheromones. And clitoral rubbing.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:45 PM on September 16, 2013


I'm concerned that there are 2 people on Mefi that have seen a Kirk Cameron movie.
posted by COD at 4:47 PM on September 16, 2013 [48 favorites]


I appreciate this message, but I liked it better the first time I heard it.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:47 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


COD: "I'm concerned that there are 2 people on Mefi that have seen a Kirk Cameron movie."

Ummmm, three. But it was an ex-girlfriend's fault.
posted by Samizdata at 4:49 PM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am deeply relieved that there is at least one other mefite who's response was "I'm concerned that there are 2 people on Mefi that have seen a Kirk Cameron movie."
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 4:51 PM on September 16, 2013 [22 favorites]


My cousin posted this on Facebook last night. It really made me think of asavage's famous comment.
posted by ftm at 4:55 PM on September 16, 2013


Fireproof is amazing and everyone in a relationship should watch it. It's like Goofus and Gallant except there's no Gallant and the two Goofuses are obsessed beyond reason with masturbation.
posted by griphus at 4:58 PM on September 16, 2013 [16 favorites]


So "love" is this dude discovering how to pull his own weight in a relationship? And then patting himself on the back for it?

Obligatory Chris Rock reference.
posted by Talez at 5:33 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


We need a deathmatch between this guy and a evopsych-babbling PUA.
posted by benzenedream at 5:47 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here's a big problem I have with this, and I'll try hard to be clear, and not all emotional.

Because as our marriage progressed, I found myself offering to help out around the house more and more.

. . .

But eventually it became clear. Through giving, through doing things for my wife. . .



I have a problem like this in a past relationship. This guy thinks he's doing these things for his wife? Really? And who is she doing them for? No, you're doing YOUR SHARE FOR THE HOUSE. You are both running a household, and you aren't "doing it for her" when you do YOUR SHARE. You're helping her with the kid? No, you're doing YOUR PART in caring for YOUR KID.

Doesn't this piss anyone off? I mean, doing something for her would be doing your share, and then doing her share, you know? You don't get to pitch in a little bit, and then throw yourself a parade because your the most lovingest person for doing the fucking dishes. That's part of living in a house! Your ROOMMATE would expect you to do no less, so how is that a big gift for your WIFE?

Ugh. Sorry. I'm done.
posted by MoxieProxy at 5:55 PM on September 16, 2013 [56 favorites]


I'll cut him some slack because he seems to come from a culture where longterm courtship isn't a premarital option and it's likely that the "do your part around the house" thing wasn't part of his upbringing either, but yes, as the first comment notes, this is something a lot of people get to figure out before marriage by simply being in an evolving relationship.
posted by padraigin at 6:01 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


We need a deathmatch between this guy and a evopsych-babbling PUA.

Ends with puke everywhere
posted by glasseyes at 6:02 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]




I don't think it's a coincidence that this reminds a lot of people of stuff like Fireproof, because it reflects a view of the kind of love that primarily occurs between two people who are tied together primarily by something other than honestly wanting to be with one another more than they would ever want to be with anyone else. In this case, we have two people who got married n large part because their religion considers marriage and family paramount, and they're not allowed to spend their 20s dating around and "finding themselves" and spending a lot of time with a significant other without being married. His story about learning what love means is, as much as anything else, a story about him figuring out who he is and how to be an adult. And he ties that to his wife, and he connects it with love, because that's the cultural script he's embraced.

Also:
I'm concerned that there are 2 people on Mefi that have seen a Kirk Cameron movie.

If you were ever on the debate team, you need to see the 1989 Kirk Cameron classic Listen to Me. At the end of the movie during the national championship debate round, Kenmont College debater Tucker Muldowney, played by Cameron, gives an impassioned speech about why abortion is wrong and evil. The judges of the debate round: the United States Supreme Court.
posted by decathecting at 6:20 PM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


I look forward to the conclusion of Kirk Cameron's thematic trilogy Other People Fucking.
posted by griphus at 6:31 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


But it wasn't that she wasn't giving me love, it just seemed to come at different times.

Like, when I offered to do the dishes. Or make dinner after she had a hard day. Or, once we had a daughter, when I shared the responsibility of watching over her.

I don't think I noticed this consciously for a while. It just kept happening.

But I think it had an effect on me. Because as our marriage progressed, I found myself offering to help out around the house more and more.


That, to me, reads like the husband was the subject of a successful program of behavior modification using positive reinforcement.
posted by MrVisible at 6:38 PM on September 16, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yeah, there's a word for that: infatuation. Is this another one of those things that every generation has to find out for themselves all over again?

Yes, and then they call it "limerance" instead.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:50 PM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


"No, love isn't an emotion or even a noun. It's a verb. Better defined as giving."

As annoying as this article is in every possible way, the worst part is this.

Dear writer of this article: PLEASE stop thinking you can bring emotional depth into your writing by trying to reorganize the English language to match your feelings.

Love is (1) (noun) an intense feeling of deep affection and (2) (verb) to feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to.

Yes, it can be a verb, but it's also a noun, and it isn't better defined as "giving". The best word to express the concept of "giving" is "giving".

Also, cleaning your own socks off the floor, making dinner once, doing the dishes once, or doing your own share of childcare aren't examples of love, or of giving. They're examples of basic human adult responsibility.

Sheesh.

Sorry for the rant, I'm off to write a self-help book called "Love is an Adjective."
posted by mmoncur at 7:37 PM on September 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'll cut him some slack because he seems to come from a culture where longterm courtship isn't a premarital option and it's likely that the "do your part around the house" thing wasn't part of his upbringing either, but yes, as the first comment notes, this is something a lot of people get to figure out before marriage by simply being in an evolving relationship.

His bio does say that he wasn't raised Hasidic but converted a few years ago. I do think it'd be interesting to examine just how the Chabad Hasidic culture plays into all this, though. My exposure to the culture is very limited, and the one Chabad event/dinner I attended, the rabbi who hosted was lovely but his wife was very much relegated to the role of cooking, cleaning, and looking after their six or seven kids. I don't know if that was just their relationship, or part of the religious culture.
posted by jaguar at 8:02 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


1. So what does the wife think about all this? Guess that's not something we get to know?

2. When you put human relationships under extraordinary strain, like say, not letting couples do any dating prior to marriage and then expecting them to build a life together and raise a family even though they are virtual strangers, it does weird things to a person.

I think this poor fellow is making the best of the corner his culture and family have forced him into. Because the alternative (refusing to marry a stranger, discarding his culture) was too scary. And I'm sympathetic, because that's a hard place to be in. I think he wants to believe that this is the best way to have a relationship, and feels good that he's gotten past the initial oh-fuck-now-what period when his feelings about having married an actual person, as opposed to his vision of a person, and not even knowing if that's what he wanted, threatened to ovewhelm him. Things have calmed down now and he feels better.

Meanwhile, I can't help picturing the woman's POV, as something like this:

No doubt since a young age she's known and accepted (and at least some of the time, resented) her destiny as having to be married off to someone and make babies with them, regardless of whatever other talents or dreams she might have. And she's accepted this because, like him, she doesn't want to cast off her family and culture. And so when the new husband came at her with all this lovey-dovey shit she rolled her eyes. Because she's always known that love and choice were not allowed, and you just make the best of it, and she's willing to do that, but this guy wants her to love him right off the bat? Like she had a choice in this whole deal, or romance is even really a thing in this setup? Ugh. Isn't just being a good wife enough?

But hey, she discovers that he beams when she thanks him for picking up his mess and being a responsible adult, and thinks that means she's in love, so, let him think that. She can certainly appreciate it, he could be abusive or hideous or something, so as long as it lasts, she'll make the most of it and get on with the business of living. She even develops a certain affection for him, and at least she has her own place now and isn't at home anymore.
posted by emjaybee at 8:03 PM on September 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Not paying attention to yourself or anyone around you and being dragged around by your emotions like a chained animal and treating your wife like shit, these are not traits limited to any one culture.

So then, after this asshole finally realizes that you have to do things to take care of the people you love and not treat your wife like the hired help, we're treated to a diatribe about divorce, as if people realizing they don't want to be together anymore is a bigger problem than him not treating his wife right. Nobody was lied to, you just weren't paying attention. That's nobody's fault but your own. This article is an embarrassment to the human race.
posted by bleep at 8:08 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry for the rant, I'm off to write a self-help book called "Love is an Adjective."

That sounds like it will be a very love book!
posted by Daily Alice at 8:22 PM on September 16, 2013 [16 favorites]


When you put human relationships under extraordinary strain, like say, not letting couples do any dating prior to marriage and then expecting them to build a life together and raise a family even though they are virtual strangers, it does weird things to a person.

Historically, this is an utterly ordinary "strain."
posted by straight at 9:08 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


On one hand, I feel like I've heard this whole "Love isn't like in movies or pop songs, y'know where you enjoy sex and look forward to seeing each other, no, love is like a business, or a gristmill, where approval and affection is doled out in controlled measurements based on an unspoken exchange rate of favors and scheduled actions!" schtick before. It's usually from someone trying to tell themselves that their dry tomb of a 'relationship' is just as fulfilling as all those couples they see who actually seem to enjoy hanging out with each other, just in a different way that no one can see or understand.

On the other hand, yeah, pick up your damn socks, dude, what the hell.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:22 PM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Historically, this is an utterly ordinary "strain."

Historically, you also had couverture to keep the woman in line.
posted by Talez at 11:35 PM on September 16, 2013


Its always a little embarrasing when people share insights like they're the first to have them. For a dull for instance, I found that when I begun to live with my now wife I was much happier doing the washing up, because it was something I was doing for both of us, while when I lived with friends it felt less essential. Which is nice and all, but its not the be all and end all of love. The thing that bugs me most about the article is that I've been to my fair share of weddings, and during the sermon bit the priest/reverend/person who is talking will mention precisely that marriage is more than just a wedding and that love is about sharing and giving. Its an important message, but its a bit embarrasing he didn't already know this. Don't most adults?
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:15 AM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sorry for the rant, I'm off to write a self-help book called "Love is an Adjective."

Aw, you're a love, you are.
posted by mippy at 3:28 AM on September 17, 2013


Lovely isn't an adverb, even though it ends in -ly.

Lied to by Sesame Street, YET AGAIN
posted by drlith at 3:48 AM on September 17, 2013


Kirk Cameron movie "Fireproof" where the secret to turning his marriage happy again was as simple as "give her things and don't be an asshole for 40 days."

They didn't actually use the word "asshole" in a Kirk Cameron movie, though, did they?
posted by Rykey at 6:48 AM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: the two Goofuses are obsessed beyond reason with masturbation
posted by elizardbits at 7:10 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


From Disney movies, to my favorite shows like The Office, to practically every pop song released, love is constantly sold as an emotion we have before we're married.

Yes, that's because it's seriously abnormal to get married to someone you don't love. It's why is a terrible idea to get engaged to someone you've only known for two months. Why would you do something stupid like that?

Like most Hasidic Jews (we both became religious later in life), our dating period lasted a very short time.

Ah, right. Religious fanaticism: also a stupid idea.
posted by Dasein at 7:11 AM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


My dream: a line of inspirational books with meticulously grammatically correct titles that start vaguely plausible (Love is a verb in certain contexts; Unconditionally is an adverb), get uninspiring pretty quickly (God is definitely not a verb) and then veer off into utter irrelevance (Inasmuch is a subordinating conjunction; 'S is a possessive enclitic) — all the while continuing to maintain that the grammatical detail in question can teach us an Important Lesson About Life.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 7:22 AM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Even such a niche series could have its bestseller: There Actually Really Isn't an 'I' in 'Team'!

But sales may be harmed by the subtitle: And the Letters That Spell a Word Are Very Rarely Relevant to Its Meaning.
posted by gilrain at 8:09 AM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Actually, love is not an adjective nor is it a gerund nor a conjunction nor an indefinite article.

Love is a battlefield.
posted by Mister_A at 8:17 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


...the rabbi who hosted was lovely but his wife was very much relegated to the role of cooking, cleaning, and looking after their six or seven kids. I don't know if that was just their relationship, or part of the religious culture.

The latter. In most forms of Chasidic Judaism, women are wholly responsible for the household and childrearing.
posted by griphus at 8:18 AM on September 17, 2013


Sometimes I feel bad that I don't do more around the house but then I remember I'm a man! A-ha haha!
posted by Mister_A at 8:21 AM on September 17, 2013


I believe you will all find that love is a highway. Woop, new book idea incoming: Love is a Highway: Toll Your Way to Romance.
posted by gilrain at 8:22 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Welp, just found out I've been mishearing Life is a Highway my whole life. My version is better.
posted by gilrain at 8:24 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


The double entendre doesn't even work if it's about life, what the fuck. This is going to take a few days to process.
posted by gilrain at 8:28 AM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rascal Flatts are gonna life you all night long, ooh baby, and yes they're aware that that makes no sense but they're not gonna let that stop them. Baby.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 8:53 AM on September 17, 2013


Maybe I was wrong... maybe it is love indefinite article...
posted by Mister_A at 9:17 AM on September 17, 2013


This guy thinks he's doing these things for his wife? Really? And who is she doing them for? No, you're doing YOUR SHARE FOR THE HOUSE. You are both running a household, and you aren't "doing it for her" when you do YOUR SHARE. You're helping her with the kid? No, you're doing YOUR PART in caring for YOUR KID.

Running a household can be a full-time job too, and if that's how they've chosen split their roles (which is often the case in very conservative religious cultures, for better or worse) then it's not unreasonable for him to view his actions as helping her even if it is to both of their benefit.

"YOUR SHARE" is predicated on the idea that they both have full-time work outside of the home, which I'd guess is unlikely in this case.
posted by chundo at 9:19 AM on September 17, 2013


"YOUR SHARE" is predicated on the idea that they both have full-time work outside of the home, which I'd guess is unlikely in this case.

I disagree. Even if Parent A is a full-time homemaker/childcare-giver, it's still Parent B's home and child. It's still Parent B's partner. It's still Parent B's relationship. If two people agree that Parent A will focus on the kids & the house, it doesn't absolve Parent B from being a parent, or contributing to the home.

Even if the bulk of the responsibility falls on Parent A, based on an agreement between the two, whatever level of work Parent B contributes to the house and the children (in my opinion) cannot be seen as a "favor" for Parent A -- it's simply Parent B's contribution to the (his/her) family.
posted by MoxieProxy at 10:14 AM on September 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Even if the bulk of the responsibility falls on Parent A, based on an agreement between the two, whatever level of work Parent B contributes to the house and the children (in my opinion) cannot be seen as a "favor" for Parent A -- it's simply Parent B's contribution to the (his/her) family.

Unless their agreement is that Parent A will do parenting/housework X and and Parent B will do parenting/housework Y (in addition to paid employment Z), and Parent B uses some free time to help with Parent A's workload X.
posted by straight at 10:44 AM on September 17, 2013


Straight, again, I disagree. They aren't building widgets. This isn't like: my quota of widgets is 10 per day, and my partner's is 5 per day, so if my partner makes more than 5 widgets per day, and lets me count them toward my quota, then that's a favor.

NO, it's like this: if I'm the at-home caregiver/homemaker, and you change a diaper, or do the dishes, or take out the garbage, when you get home from work, you've done something for your kid or your home or your family. You've contributed to the household. We are a family. We are not two employees working toward a predefined goal.

(So, I think my emotions around this issue are not as firmly rooted in the past as I'd like to think, so I'm going to stop, because I may have inadvertently crossed the line into obnoxious poster.)
posted by MoxieProxy at 11:01 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


We are a family. We are not two employees working toward a predefined goal.

My theory is that this is a modern idea. But not a new idea. The old fashioned way is that yes, we are two employees working towards the common goal of growing a family. I think this guy thinks the rest of us were stuck in the old fashioned mode like he was, talking about the modern way like it's a new idea nobody knows about, which annoys everyone else because by saying that it feels like he's accusing us of being old fashioned like him.
posted by bleep at 11:30 AM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


MoxieProxy, all I know is that if my wife cleans up the kitchen when it's my turn, I'm grateful and don't think, "She's not doing me a favor, she's just contributing to the household." And her reaction is the same if I clean up on her night.
posted by straight at 1:31 PM on September 17, 2013


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