June 5, 2008

The 'I Don't Want To' Trap

You can never be happily married to another until you get a divorce from yourself. Successful marriage demands a certain death to self. –Jerry McCant

One trap I seem to fall into a lot in my marriage is the "But I don't want to" trap. I see things that need to be done and I think, But I don't want to do that, and then expect my wife will take care of it later. And she will take care of it later because of how wonderful she is, but let me make something very clear:

She doesn't want to do it either!

I laughed at myself the first time I made this obvious realization, because what I was essentially saying was absolutely ridiculous: "My wife and I have different likes and dislikes: I like watching T.V. and playing video games and she likes cleaning the house and taking care of the kids when they're screaming, so it works out nicely." Right.

It's not that I think any of us actually think this in words, but it is what we imply with our actions. We imply that she should be aware of our likes and dislikes and take appropriate action. But what about her likes and dislikes? Do you honestly think she enjoys doing all the things you don't, or do you just think that you should be the only one who gets what you want? I love the quote up there from Mr. McCant: "...Successful marriage demands a certain death to self." And, I will add, that is a death we must choose to die every single day if we want lasting success.

Last night when I was telling my wife about my idea for this post, the first thing she said was, "Yeah, like folding the laundry!" Well there's my lesson. What's yours?

Photo by mrtambourine

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8 comments:

  1. Doing the dishes. I hate scrubbing pans and pre-rinsing stuff to go in the dishwasher. Which is why they tend to pile up. But she's tough enough to wait me out, so things stay pretty even. Lucky for me, she never nags.

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  2. To me this relates to "Marriage is not 50-50." My goal is to give 100%, which wouldn't include waiting for her to do the grungy jobs.

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  3. why is it men call it nagging whenever a women has anything to say... that is just wrong. take it from a woman, we don't like it when our opinions and suggestions are always put into the "nag category". before you marry us, everything we say has your undivided attention and usually you agree, after marriage we're just "nagging".
    anyway back to the subject: its good and your right. i know the things my dear husband doesn't like to do so i won't ask him to do them. he works long hours and he does most of the outside work. if we make plans for the weekend, i'll even mow the lawn so we will have more time together. most household jobs really are no big deal, one at a time, but after 10 or 20 years they just become old and boring.
    we've been married 29 years and i came to this blot hoping to learn from it, thank you for the insights from a guys point of view.

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  4. I have a very good boyfriend. He makes mistakes, of course (as do I!) but for the most part he really does put forth a lot of effort. We were talking about babies, and he said "men just don't like changing diapers." I laughed so hard I fell out of my chair. It had honestly never occurred to him that NOBODY "likes" changing diapers! Once he realized what he said, he admitted how ridiculous it sounded, but did say that most men he knows never really consider that women are just as grossed out by baby poop as they are.

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  5. I have a very good boyfriend. He makes mistakes, of course (as do I!) but for the most part he really does put forth a lot of effort. We were talking about babies, and he said "men just don't like changing diapers." I laughed so hard I fell out of my chair. It had honestly never occurred to him that NOBODY "likes" changing diapers! Once he realized what he said, he admitted how ridiculous it sounded, but did say that most men he knows never really consider that women are just as grossed out by baby poop as they are.

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  6. Kinda like cleaning the toilets. I asked my husband, after two years of marriage, why he never cleans the bathrooms. He said, "Well, I vacuum and clean the kitchen, and I don't like cleaning the bathroom." I said, "Okay, from now on I will vacuum EVERY DAY if you clean the bathrooms just ONCE a week cause really, cleaning bathrooms is not my favorite past time either, especially since I'm not the one who pees on the toilet."

    Now we take turns.

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  7. One of the traps that I also fall into, is I'll assume that if she is relaxing, then this is my que to relax. Wrong. We'll both be on our computers at the end of the day and when it's time to go to bed, she'll ask, did you have a chance to take care of such and such, or call so and so, and I will respond, "No, I didn't have time." "Well, what have you been doing for the past couple hours?", she'll ask."Playing solitaire?" Busted! Although being proactive and productive at work is something I find easy to do, it doesn't come as naturally at home. I'm definately a work in progress.

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  8. My wife "doesn't want to" have sex with me. I imagine there are times that she wants to have sex...just not with me. I have grown to accept my squalid house and my many podcasts (because the toddler and/or wife have commandeered the tvs).

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