PARENT’S CORNER: Marriage and Role-play (Confession of a Christian Husband)

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Raising positive children is definitely a team effort. It’s neither “woman’s work” nor “man’s work”. It’s father’s and mother’s work combined. Many times however, when husbands and wives both work (or the wife alone does not), far too many men have been conditioned to believe that preparing dinner cleaning the kitchen, helping the kids with homework, and tucking them into bed are things the wife and the mother is supposed to do.

The real problem is brought clearly into focus by Sey Chassler in a January 13, 1985, Parade magazine article from which I quote:

About 20 years ago, my wife and I were having one of those arguments that grows into fury-the kind that leaves a dreadful pain that lasts for years. Suddenly, unable to stand my complaints any longer, my wife threw something at me and said: “From now on, you do the shopping, plan the meals, take care of the house, everything. I’m through!”

I was standing in the kitchen looking at the shelves, the sink, the refrigerator, the cleaning utensils, then at my wife.

I was terrified. Tears trickled down my face. No matter what, I knew I could not handle the burden she had flung at me. I could not do my job and be responsible for the entire household as well. I had important things to do. Besides, how could I get through a day dealing with personnel, budgets, manuscripts, management, profit and loss figures, and at the same time, plan dinner for that night and the next night and breakfasts and lunches and a dinner party on the weekend and shop for it all and make sure the house was in good shape and that the woman who cleaned for us was there and on time and the laundry done and the children taken care of?

How could anyone do that and stay sane? Natalie watched me for a while. Finally, she said, “Okay. Don’t worry. I’ll keep on doing it.” She put on her coat and went to her hospital office-to manage dozens of people and more than 100 patients.

Despite her simple statement that she would go on taking care of our home and family, I stood a while telling myself that no one could do all that. Slowly I saw that she was doing it.

In the days and weeks that followed, I began to realize that most women carry a double burden: an inside job taking care of their homes and families, and an outside job, working for wages. Most men, on the other hand, can come home and do little more about their families than help with household chores and with the children. Helping is useful, but it is not the same as doing, it leaves the basic responsibility to women: All the worries, all the headaches, all the planning, all the management, all the DOING is theirs. How many men understand this without being shocked into it as I was – or by the loss of a wife? How many of us really see women or hear them? How often do we go to bed at night feeling the comfort and love of our wives but knowing them so little that we do not recognize the burden they bear?

                                  Culled from the book “Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World” by Zig Ziglar

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