Monday, November 10, 2014

Spousal Value

I adamantly believe that no relationship can last based on love alone. Each partner must bring some value to the relationship. It takes a lot of work to run a household, make a life and survive in today's society regardless of which country you live in.

There can't be an imbalance of value for long periods of time without significant stress on the relationship. This is something I think many people don't contemplate enough. Many go through their day thinking they're secure in the relationship without ever thinking of the value they bring to it. This is fine if you are truly bringing in some value.

Value isn't all about money. Actually, money is only a small part of the equation. To actually keep a relationship alive and healthy it requires: (and this is just a small sampling of things that could be on your list)
  • Feeding - cooking, ordering food, microwaving a TV dinner, sharing snacks
  • Cleaning - sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, washing dishes, washing clothes, putting away clothes, ironing, matching socks, sanitizing doorknobs and counters, taking out the trash, shredding old documents, cleaning the bathtub/sink/toilet, dusting the shelves, etc.
  • Travel - driving, organizing plane tickets or buses or trains, renting a car, finding ways to work, ways to visit friends and family, etc.
  • Shopping - for food, clothes, linens, hygiene needs,
  • Maintenance - fixing the heat/AC, car repairs, preventative car maintenance, changing air filters, oiling roller pins (like on doors, etc.) repainting, etc. 
  • Personal care - haircuts, 
  • Cuddling 
  • Health - prescriptions, doctors visits, 
  • Support - helping do chores/tasks, being there when someone has to cry or vent, offering to help without being asked, offering encouragement, handing your spouse a q-tip when they ask for it,
  • Helping family - using whatever skills, knowledge and resources you have to help any family member with a need, even if it's a small thing like loaning them a pen and paper.
  • Picking out entertainment - Finding a good movie to watch or TV, or radio, finding an event to go to, etc. 
As you see that list could easily become endless. There are a significant amount of everyday things we do that each hold value that don't directly involve money. Each partner must contribute to the completion of the tasks on your daily list according to his/her own strengths and there must be a balance to how much work each person is doing in the relationship.

Many couples find a good balance in the relationship but it is far too easy for things to become unbalanced. Many women tend to take on more roles and work in the relationship than they can reasonably maintain long term. Most assume that things will change later or that they will be okay doing all of these chores and tasks for the rest of their lives. Most probably never even think about this balance until they're fed up and frustrated with it.

Once this balance slips out of place then little things start to get to you and in turn you start to blow them out of proportion. The longer you let the imbalance go, silently hoping it will get better, the worse things tend to get. The lackadaisical partner slows down on how much they do and you inadvertently pick up more work because someone has to do it. The next thing you know your love begins to fade and you start wanting out of the relationship.

But that's not all. As the balance tips, the lackadaisical partner may start to turn on you. Just as you haven't thought about the imbalance of value, they haven't either but you both subconsciously know something is wrong. From their view you're not spending enough time with them. They may begin to think you have someone else. Their anger toward you grows. Your anger toward them grows and before you know there's a tension between you two.

How do you prevent this? It starts at the beginning of the relationship. Don't marry for love. Evaluate the person from a logical standpoint. Are they the kind of personality you could live with for the long term? Will they do their share of the work without being prompted?

I know this sounds a bit simple but there are also many out there who will ignore this simple advice. So many girls are under the mindset that they can change a man after marriage. Even if they don't think it openly or realize they're doing it. Some people, girls and boys, even think that if they marry someone who is good looking, the benefits outweigh the struggle. These type of mindsets are no different than when a gold-digger is willing to put up with abuse and a miserable life because she thinks the money is worth it.

This advice is universal. It doesn't matter where your potential spouse is coming from. Personalities are not designated by culture. There are jerks, losers and sweethearts in every single nation. Choose someone you can live with, respect and admire long term. Not a pretty face, fat wallet or social title. Those things won't sustain you permanently.

10 comments:

  1. I think your post is well-informed and well-written...I definitely agree that people should be looking for sustainable qualities in a long term partner!

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    1. Thank you! It's so important to look for long-term, sustainable qualities.

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  2. Before my daughter married John, I suggested she consider this: Do you want to wake up with him in 50 years? Yes, I know that's a difficult question to answer, but I was trying to explain that marriage is forever. I hope it worked for her and for John.

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    1. That's great advice! If they don't have an answer then you know they didn't think deeply about the future and were only basing their decision on the moment. Since your daughter married him, she must have thought things through. Good for her!

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  3. I love this post. People need to treat marriage similar to a job. You can't go to work and not do anything. If you did that, it wouldn't take long to get fired. Yes a job is replaceable and probably a bad example. Marriage is a team and you have to work together to make it work.

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    1. I didn't think about it like a job but I love that idea! You're so right. You can't expect to go into a job and do nothing. I don't think it's a bad example at all. Marriage takes work (we say that to people all the time don't we?) and you should treat it like you're going to make a career of it.

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  4. Love your post...I do the most of things!

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  5. I absolutely agree with this post. Love is definitely very important but sometimes it isn't enough either! Very informative and I enjoyed reading this :)

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  6. Loved this post and can so relate to this one. So many women get trapped into doing ALL of the list above. Many men are raised to believe that they can contribute nothing except for working and earning money. Like you said I feel it works out better if you encourage the man to participate in household duties like the ones above.

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    1. Encourage being the operative word lol. It often takes a bit of work but the relationship feels so much better when both participate equally.

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