On Feb. 19 I was in the doctor’s office waiting room with a mixed group of young adults and seniors. We started talking about marriage, good and bad. One lady named Margaret was married at the age of 19 and her husband was 22. She worked eight hours a day and then came home and did all the housework. Her husband John also worked eight hours a day but did not help out with the housework. He believed all he had to do was work, come home and watch television. He would not do anything extra in the house, i.e. clean or cook. Eventually they had children and Margaret was still responsible for not only the children, but all the housework and cooking. She said she became ill from the stress of getting up at night taking care of the children, working full time and doing all the work at home. Two years later with two children they were divorced.
Twenty years later Margaret met Howard at a party given by friends. Howard was divorced and so was Margaret. After talking for a while they realized they had a lot in common. Margaret divorced her previous husband because he did not believe he should help with the children or housework. After listening to Margaret, Howard said that’s why his wife left him because he refused to help around the house or help with the children. He stated he recognized his mistakes and hopefully learned from them. The more the two of them talked, the more they liked each other so they decided to date. Margaret and Howard have been married for 20 years and are still enjoying each others company. The second time around they knew what each of them required to make it work. Margaret and Howard utilize teamwork, he helps with the housework and whoever gets home first cooks and the other person cleans the kitchen.
Another man in the group named Tom agreed with Margaret because when he first got married he didn’t do anything at home but watch television and his wife gave him an ultimatum, shape up or ship out. He has now been married 40 years and always helps out with whatever is required. He said, “Some of our wives hold outside jobs as well as take care of the home and family. As men we must know that our wives are not superwomen but just the women we love and promised to love and help take care of.” I clapped.
Of course I had to add my thoughts to the situation. I told them I was 20 when I got married and my husband helped with the housework and sometimes he would cook. He always thought he was a better cook than me, actually he still thinks he is a better cook, but I never mind. If thinking he was a better cook included him getting in the kitchen and making a meal, then I always said yep, you sure are.
In June my husband and I will be married for 60 years. They asked what the secret to being married for so long was. I told them you have to pray, pray and pray some more because there will be times when one or both of you may want to walk away. It is not easy being married when one is oil and the other is water. I have learned when to fight and when to give up. I choose my battles wisely in order to win. Like I always say, my life is not perfect and neither is my marriage, but it is mine and I love both.
*Names were changed to protect identity
Be blessed in Jesus’ Name.
Mary Simmons is a columnist for the K-V Dispatch. She can be reached at AboxofloveKVD@gmail.com.