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Marriage Is Not a Competition
Mom with a View

Marriage Is Not a Competition

When you hand over the screaming baby, at least try to smile.


Some women frequently complain that their spouses do nothing all day (except perhaps practicing their putting and going out for long lunches) and we do everything. When they walk in the door at the end of the day, we greet them with a screaming baby in one hand, dinner boiling over on the stove, spit-up on our clothes, and the welcoming message, "Here, it's your turn now."

Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't seem like an attitude conducive to a good marriage. I already hear all the naysayers "What if I'm working too?" "What if this? What if that?"

When I try to advise my children about a preferred behavioral pattern, I address the whole gang. There is immediately a clamor: "Not me! Not me!" To which I rely on that age-old expression, "If the shoe fits…"

Just as we frequently feel un- or under-appreciated, so do our partners.

Marriage is a partnership. As some of our wise teachers have suggested, it's not 50/50. It's 100/100. It may make us (briefly) feel superior to focus on how hard we work all day and to assume that our husbands are lounging around (although last I heard Oprah's biggest audience was women!), but it doesn't enhance the quality of our marriages. It doesn't seem to be a good tool for building a lasting relationship. Just as we frequently feel un- or under-appreciated, so do our partners. One possible tiny solution is that old fall-back: communication. You explain to your husband what you did all day and he explains to you what he did. Revolutionary? Unfortunately sometimes it is. Marriage is not a competition. Most relationships have cycles with participation and effort being unequal at times but evening out over the long run. Don't keep score. Focus on appreciation. And if you still feel compelled to hand over the screaming baby, at least try to smile first.

July 16, 2005

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Visitor Comments: 5

(5) laks, June 29, 2009 8:49 PM

agree but...

Oh I agree that my marriage is going down the hill because of my competitive nature... We both are into sports and we do try to beat each other in every one of the games we ever tried. But when i understood that i am being competitive and tried to loosen up a bit he won a game and then laughed at me.. well that did it.. i won the next three rounds in a row. sigh

(4) fb, July 28, 2005 12:00 AM

you're rýght. but all husbands are same.
all women works for their marrýage. marrýages are not partnership. unfortunately.

(3) Annie, July 25, 2005 12:00 AM

The old, old story

Has anyone read 'Good Wives' recently ?

The marriage in 'Little Women' (and most of the other marriages in the sequels) are definitely partnerships.

In Good Wives, Meg becomes a total martyr to her new twins, shuts her husband out and then complains that she is being neglected by him. She won't let him help, then complains that he doesn't ! The happy marriage is beginning to drift apart, when Meg's mother (at Meg's request) gives advice about sharing responsibility for the children etc. There is a lot more to it than this, of course, but it is amazingly modern-some things just don't change !!!

Probably Adam & Eve were saying the same thing.

(2) Anonymous, July 19, 2005 12:00 AM

very nice but...

It's all very nice and I agree in theory, but how are we meant to feel when after a hard day at work (both him and me!) we come home and I'm expected to deal with the kids, dinner, tidying the house, etc...while he relaxes after his hard day. It's all fine in theory but what about the practice?

(1) Rachel, July 17, 2005 12:00 AM

Who separates the female from the male?

As mothers we must take total control of why the fe/male are not equal in all aspects in life. As in SOCIETY and all its committments.
This starts at birth in the home. Both Fe/Male have to be taught that all chores are equal, not separated.
When this is address, maybe, just maybe our whole world will be a better place.

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