Does Your Husband or Wife Do His or Her Fair Share?
Many a marriage has unraveled over the issue of fairness. All we want is for our husbands and wives to do their fair share of the wage-earning, parenting, and chores, right? And it would be a mistake to overlook any shirking, no?
I contend you cannot even measure your own share, no less your spouse's. You cannot measure your own contributions because you do plenty that your wife or husband simply does not care about (polishing brass, dusting the attic, changing the oil every 3,000 miles, changing from summer drapes to winter drapes and back again, teaching your kid to tat lace, or whatever it is in your house).
There is no fair share of going after something only one of you wants.
You also cannot measure your contribution because there is no universal unit of measure. How do four hours at an exhausting job that earn $42 compare to four hours at an enjoyable but stressful job that earn $1,200? How does riding a lawn mower compare to operating a washing machine? Which is worth more: clean socks or a back massage? Which is better: a home in a neighborhood with good schools or two weeks a year of uninterrupted rest and relaxation together?
No one can answer these questions.
And if you cannot measure even your own contribution, how can you ever know if your spouse is doing less?
Spare yourself the misery of expecting a fair share. Expect love. It's available in limitless supply in most marriages when you stop creating opportunities for resentment.
And watching for it will never put you in that crazy, shoot-yourself-in-the-foot position (been there, got the tee shirt) of thinking you would be better off on your own than in a 75/25 or 90/10 split of the responsibilities you care about. Even with all the assets and full custody (I was widowed at 34), it really, truly stinks to get all the responsibilities and absolutely none of the love.