I recently came across a post on Reddit where a woman complained that as long as she was living with a man, she would never take out the trash or mow the lawn.
A comment in response said something to the effect of:
“Yeah, that’s cute until a man says, ‘as long as I’m living with a woman, I will never cook or clean.’”
In modern Western society, there is no “women’s work” or “man’s work.”
If women don’t want to be solely responsible for the cooking and cleaning of a home, men don’t want to be solely responsible for stereotypical “male” roles either.
Of course, all women don’t “belong in the kitchen.” But neither do all men “belong” doing yard work or fixing cars.
It’s unfair to argue that one group deserves the freedom to choose the roles they play, while the other is kept boxed in by tradition.
The healthiest relationship dynamic is always a partnership.
Traditional partnerships can work. But this doesn’t mean traditional gender roles are the only way to make things work.
The key to successful relationships is that both people involved should contribute fairly to their lifestyle and living arrangement. And — it is up to every couple to decide what a fair contribution looks like.
For some, stereotypical gender roles are what they genuinely prefer. They enjoy the dynamic of the man being the main breadwinner and the woman being the main homemaker. Some women want to be stay-at-home moms and raise a couple of kids. Some men enjoy being the sole financial provider for their families.
Not every couple necessarily functions this way though.
I also know couples where the man is the main chef and the woman is the main breadwinner. I’ve seen couples where the man is a stay-at-home dad and the woman goes out and works. As long as each person is genuinely content with what they are contributing to the relationship, it can work.
There are more than one ways to make a partnership succeed and it is for each couple to decide.
My best advice would be to find a partner who agrees with your vision.
The most important thing is that you and the person you are dating discuss what your goals and visions are for the future life you plan to live together.
If you can’t agree on key issues — like whether or not you want to have kids, whether or not you want to live a life of faith, or whether or not your career goals are compatible — it may be best to end the relationship.
It is going to be really difficult if a man going into marriage expects that his wife will do all the cooking and cleaning, while the wife expects that the husband will be the one doing so.
This is why it’s a necessity to discuss your desires and expectations as soon as a relationship turns serious. Misaligned expectations (or ones that just aren’t properly communicated) will lead to a lot of unnecessary conflicts.
It is also important to be honest with ourselves about what we want.
Don’t lie to a man and say that you’ll be his perfect stay-at-home mom when really what you want is to pursue your dream career. Don’t lie to a woman and say that you’ll take care of all her needs financially when really you want her to contribute to the household income.
As long as both people are honest with themselves and their partners, they can find a system that works well for both of them.
If you want to make a relationship with another person work, the most important thing is that you find a way to align on how you can partner together to build the life you want.
If that means that the man takes out the trash and the woman cooks dinner, great. If that means the woman mows the lawn and washes the car and the man cleans the bathroom and does the laundry, great.
The key here is that you have to come to an agreement.
That’s how you build a lasting partnership.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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