Ask An Expert: Gary, I Seem To Be Married To An Old Fashioned Guy!
Q: My husband was raised to believe that a man's contribution to the household upkeep is limited to all "outside" work, which typically doesn't take more than a couple of hours or so a week. Meanwhile, "inside" work is much more demanding! We both work. How can I explain to him this isn't fair? He says it worked for his parents and they're happy... but I'm not.
Answer: Ahh, the old "if it worked for my parents, it will work for us" argument.
Typically ***-footing around these issues offer little hope of change. You will have to look your husband in the eye and let him know in no uncertain terms, you and he are not his parents. What may have worked for them in their era doesn't work now. Particularly, if it isn't good for you, it surely won't be good for your marriage.
By the way, it's one thing to be an "ol' fashioned guy", it is quite another to be inflexible to the point that one's partner feels downtrodden and over-burdened.
If he doesn't get with the program, you may have to consider seeking counseling with him. You can also simply not do those tasks you don't feel you have time for, such as his laundry, to ease your load. By the way, if he doesn't know how to run the washing machine, do have the courtesy to show him. His ego may get in the way of admitting he doesn't know.
In the meantime play the lyrics to Helen Reddy's, "I Am Woman" in your head. It just may be that you have to beef up your confidence and assertiveness skills.
Written By Gary Direnfeld, Host of Newlywed, Nearly Dead?
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