Sunday, October 16, 2011

Gender Roles & The Lessons We've Learned

It has been interesting to observe the emergence of our own unique gender roles in this beautiful sacrament of marriage.  The lessons we are learning about each other and ourselves are beautiful, too.

I have assumed the role of cook, and so I do pretty much all of the food-shopping, meal-making, and lunch-packing.  I prefer to be the one that washes the dishes, since I love the warmth of the water and prefer my cleaning techniques over his.  Plus, I like to use a ton of different sponges and gadgets to get everything ultra-clean, even in those little places which are hard to reach.  :)

Michael handles all our finances, pays the bills, and does the budget.  He mows the grass and does all outdoor yard work.  He also takes care of everything related to our cars, whether it's gassing them up, getting them cleaned / vacuumed, or repairing them.  Thank God.

I maintain our social calendar, keeping track of where we need to be and when.  My planner is the authority; his iPhone calendar app is our backup copy when we're on the go.

We still each do our own laundry, just because there aren't enough hours left in the day for me to do this when I get home from work so late.  But when something needs to be dry-cleaned, Michael runs the errand on his way home from work.

Caring for Macy is equally shared, too, and--when we can't agree on who should get to walk her--we'll just both do it together.  :)

Some recent lessons I've learned:
  • Don't nag Michael to brush his teeth before bed.  If he wants to, he will.  If he doesn't want to, he won't.  It's his decision, and I can't control that. 
  • Make the bed.  Even though I think it's pointless because we'll be getting back into it at the end of the day, a made bed means something to Michael.  I admit:  it does look nice.  And, when you're tired and ready to get in, a neatly made bed is certainly invitational!
  • Michael's "love language" is probably "words of affirmation."  Saying to him something that's kind, loving, or supportive goes a loooong way.  Words are an investment.
  • Michael loves fancy food more than I do.  Perhaps his taste buds are more sensitive than mine!  To that end, I have to be open to trying new restaurants on a regular basis.  This is something I would have never normally wanted to spend my money on.  But for him, it's enjoyable.  For that reason, it's worth doing periodically.  :)
  • Allow him to golf regularly.  Time alone out in nature keeps Michael grounded, peaceful, and centered.  And then I must be ready to listen to the details of his game when he gets home, even if I don't understand it all.
  • Do not attempt to talk about anything substantial after 10:30 PM or after more than 8 hours since we've last eaten.  If we're tired or hungry, we're both going to be grumpy!
  • Tucking the comforter between my legs when I fall asleep at night will increase the likelihood that it will remain on top of me throughout the night.  When I'm sleeping, my heavy legs are more able to hold onto the comforter than my little, sleepy arms can.  Why is this precaution necessary, you ask?  Because Michael is notorious for inadvertently stealing blankets when he rolls in his sleep!

Some lessons he's learned about me:
  • I need a big, huge bear hug when he first gets home. (My "love language" is probably "physical affection!"  Haha!)
  • Watching baseball or football on TV is enjoyable for me only if he's scratching my back at the same time.  If he scratches my back, I'm content to sit with him and watch sports for hours.  Without that, I'm bored out of my mind!
  • I need time to decompress before bed.  I must move slowly, read slowly, and do all bedtime routines very slowly.  Otherwise, I won't be able to sleep when my head hits the pillow.  This is quite unlike Michael who can fall asleep instantly and sleep through all noises, no matter how loud.
  • I take forever to pack when we go away for the weekend.  If he does not remind me to begin the lengthy process by Wednesday night, then he can quicken my pace by throwing stuff into bag for me on Friday afternoon.  Surprisingly, I'm willing to wear whatever he packs for me, and--even if the resulting shirt and pant combinations are humorous--it will merely teach me to be less vain and more humble.
  • I respond well to flowers.  
  • We are worth nothing on Fridays.  We're just plain too exhausted from the work week.
  • I need space in our schedule for quiet time to write and reflect.  Blogging helps me learn from my experience.  And the need to write may come over me suddenly.  :)
And, lastly...

Our life is simple and ordinary.  And that is why it's extraordinary to us!

So what about you?  No matter what your vocation, what were some of the first lessons you remember learning when you entered it?