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Is Your Spouse Fair?

Many husbands and wives stand convinced they do not get a fair deal in their marriages. What do you think?

"It is not fair that I work hard to earn all our income but I cannot unwind for the thirty minutes before dinner when I get home, because the kids have all have dirty faces and sticky hands and want lots of attention."
I know how to convert euros to dollars. How do you convert forty hours a week of employment to its equivalent in child care, housework, and meal preparation?

"It is not fair that you expect me to be in the mood after cleaning up the mess you made in the den."
How do we equate something like libido, which may arrive without any effort or may require some preparation but generally leads to one of marriage's nicer benefits, with messes, which compel action for some of us and seem like no problem to others?

"It is not fair that I have to call the accountant to make our tax appointment after taking your mother to the doctor."
What's the exchange rate for phone calls to favors when you both want the call made and the favor done? Is it more or less if the favor is for someone neither of you is related to?

"It's not fair that I have to get dressed for work in the dark just because you come to bed so late."
Does the reason matter? Does the comparison change if the desire to sleep late results from chemotherapy?

Implied in all of these is a belief that our mates could easily kick in just a bit more and make things fair. So why don't they?

I think it's because they are a lot like us. They don't question what seem like objective facts.

We look at messy faces and hands and the way kids shift gears at the end of the day as an impediment to unwinding. We do not question how we might unwind in such a situation.

We look at an open pretzel bag and dirty glass in the den as a libido-dampening project that requires immediate attention. We do not question what we could do to put the mess out of mind.

We look at the bedroom as the proper place to dress for work. We do not question whether there are other, well-lit places in the house where we could dress while our mate sleeps.

They are doing the same.

"I cannot clean up or entertain kids and cook dinner at the same time, and they need to stay outside playing as long as possible, so I cannot bring them in early for cleanup."

"I don't do phone calls. Hate them. Hate talking to assistants. Hate being put on hold. Don't know what to say or how to get what I want."

"There is a lot on my mind. I cannot simply go to bed. I have to wait until I can fall asleep when I get there."

Because of this, we can never find a conversion rate. However, we can find a fair marriage. All it takes is to reduce how much our side costs us. And we have an expert available to help us, a caring person who sees right through the difficulty that keeps us stuck.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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