Monday, November 7, 2011

Giving yourself

So I was having this discussion with a friend the other day about how much of yourself do you give into a relationship like marriage. And of course people have various opinions about it. Some will say "this is your marriage, you have to give it 100%!" and yes they might be right but what does giving a 100% of yourself mean?

I'm not really sure. Giving all my strength, my thinking power, my imagination, my creativity, my money, my efforts, my hopes, my emotions? My all? I just don't see how that could work, after giving it all what would be left of me? Can anybody do that remain sane?
I don't think I can ever put myself 100% into anything outside of God and I don't even feel like I'm giving my 100% to God so why should do that for anything else?

Even though marriage is one of the things that one should devote him/herself to the most (outside of God), there's gotta be other things in your life that you leave some room for, like children!!! and what about relationships with family, friends, work and career/studies, hobbies? that's what makes for a full and balanced life.

Ok, so practically how does that work? Going back to my discussion with my friend. They have been married for a while (over 5 years) and they have had up and downs and several times she has come to me for support and advice even though I was single. I guess she felt comforted every time she came to me, the bottom line being that I could never advice her anything that would go into any other direction than trying to fix what's wrong, forgive, overlook, choose her battles... you get the idea.

But in our discussion, the particular problem of giving yourself as a wife and woman came up. Some women, when they get married try their best to fill that perfect image and idea of wife (I'm talking from the standpoint of housekeeping, and kitchen duties) : making sure your hubby's meal is on time, making him what he likes, picking up after him, making sure the home is neat, clean, no dishes in the sink before bed, breakfast for him even if it means waking up earlier, laundry, etc etc.

Okay so, yeah as an african woman I do feel it's my duty to take care of the home but I also believe that it is OUR home and that my husband HAS to help me; his duty is to help. His other duty is to NOT  remind that I need to cook or clean because I'm no maid and I know my role (and frankly that's the best way to upset me). I take those as my obligations and he never should. He should take it as something that I do to please him and to make sure our environment is comfortable, and should never take it for granted, force me to do it, or assume that I will always do it (even though I know I will).
Thank God I was blessed with a very understanding other half who grew up doing chores and helping out in and outside of the house and although he has relaxed a lot (lol), he always inquires whether I need help and constantly shows appreciation and often keeps me company when I have a lot to do and that I'd rather handle it on my own which of course is a big motivator.

So my friend's husband is used to having his meal freshly made for him whenever he gets home, nothing wrong of course. But that means that since they have opposite schedules, she has to wake up or stay up and make food for the hubby to have his meal, hot and on the table when he gets back at or around 1am. He cannot warm it ooo. He has long forgotten the road to the kitchen.
No slacking authorized, clothes have to be clean and ironed at all times, without the hubby's help and she has to be on top other household duties. Mind you they both work and bring home about the same dough (his might be about 20% higher).
She was telling me that she is getting burned, she can't relax and most of times she is anxious about the hubby's coming back from work because everything has to be ready, especially if she ever has a delay doing other things or with work or whatever other situations might arise. She ends up doing all of that more by constraint and not with a happy heart/attitude.
When she first got married she was sooo anxious to be the perfect wife that now that she has used her husband to everything being exactly his way including his hot freshly made meal late in the night, she cannot go back.

Let me tell you guys one thing I told her. When I agreed to get married it meant that my parents' house in which I was 100% comfortable would no longer be mine. They agreed to let me go in a new house where they were made confident that I would be just as happy and comfortable. There is no husband's house. There is only our house which is also 100% mine. Why should I be anxious? Why should I get up and run around like a chicken trying to make everything sparkling if that's not what I feel like doing? As long as the place is presentable why should I kill myself?

Certain things I consider that I have to do them and try to make time for it daily as much as I can, like our bed, our meals and the dishes. But if for some reason if I can't, I don't sweat it. Every other thing can wait it's turn.  One day for the bathroom, another day for vacuuming, a 3rd day for dusting, a fourth for laundry and another one for reorganizing the fridge and getting rid of stuff, then the weekend for everything else I skipped. It just makes it easier on me and I don't have to feel like a maid. I don't like left overs so I cook on an almost daily basis but other than that I have to relax oooo. This is my house, I'm not a tenant or a visiting niece.

So yes yesterday I left dishes in the sink the whole night...


(as I frequently do... I do the dishes when I cook, when I'm done making dinner, I don't usually even go into the kitchen till morning) so I can enjoy a nice evening curled up with my lovely husband, sipping on wine, and watching a movie. Our Sunday evening quality time is worth more than a few dirty plates!

My day starts later than his does but I almost always have a lunch bag ready for him (and I feel really bad when I don't) so I do compensate for my relaxing lol and the day that I climb onto my magic broom he definitely appreciates and apologizes for not helping. So no... I'm not giving a 100% but I'm easily, willingly and lovingly giving more and more as time passes, as I get to appreciate everything he does for us and specifically for me, as we get closer and as we build "us" and our invisible home, the one in our heart. Its foundation is stronger.


Anonymous said...

Well said lady! Your friend will have to take back her life&lost ground.Wives aren't maids, contrary to what some men seem to think. It's the difference between misery and happiness, staying together and divorce..

Myne Whitman said...

Great article. I don't think it's sustainable to try to be like your friend, something will give in time.

I'm following now. :)

MrsNdem said...

@Anonymous: You are absolutely right, the thing is though, isn't a little too late? They will probably have to have a sincere honest heart to heart discussion because as its stands right now, the hubby thinks everything is great and she doesnt.

@Myne Whitman, so glad to have you here!! And no I'm not even attempting, I pretend I can do way less than I am actually capable... do not wanna repeat the cycle...

Uche (@UcheAnne) said...

I think your friend should talk to her husband and make him see what she's going through. Hopefully he's the type that listens.

Women shouldn't wear themselves out trying to be perfect. And this applies in many other areas.

Jemima said...

Hi Sasi, i never knew you had this blog, it was a comment by honey dame (i think) that made me look are on the right path my experience with hubby was finances, i was so open with money, he knew how much i had at any given time he just took advantage note he is a big spender and a risk taker, he can invest all his money in a business i consider risky, if he lose it all he won't even flinch and its on to the next month no problem, you can imagine the issues we had when he would try to spend my own money like that until balance could be found..i didn't know better so since you already have this wisdom, i am glad , as you present yourself to a man, that's how he will take you ..

MrsNdem said...

@Jemima, woow, thanks for sharing your experience. This is something I wanted to blog about as well, the finances aspect in a relationship. I'm almost exactly like that with my money, as long as we have food in the house, and good food please, lol I could care less. I'm not a big spender and when I spend it's more for the house, kitchen accessories, or decorative items than for myself. But I can def understand how this situation and your attitude toward your money could have created tensions. I'm glad that you guys were able to find a way of communicating, and finding a balance that suits the both of you. Even when you don't care that much, you still have to act like you do, at least a little bit with these our men ooo lol.

Yankeenaijababe said...

First time on your blog and it was this post that got to me. I am on the same page as both husband and wife work together to keep the home. When a woman carries all the burden of keeping house, the next thing is that the husband starts to become one lazy douche bag. I think it's best for both couples to keep the home clean and neat, not just one person.