Behavioral Health Consultant, Trainer and EAP Manager

Seattle, Washington

Wifely Duty

Question:

I’m married and we have two year-old. My day starts at 5:00 when I get up, make my lunch and go to work. I pick up our son on the way home. Then I clean up breakfast, run the laundry, make supper, wash dishes. All at the same time I’m keeping our son entertained and getting him ready for bed. My husband comes home from work and watches TV. He says his job is so hard; he’s too tired to do anything else. The weekends aren’t a lot different. By the end of the day I’m so depressed. I wonder if I should ask my doctor to change my medication. And this is not what I thought my life should be like. I’m so confused!

 

Answer:

You don’t come across to me as confused. You come across to me as exhausted, and aware of a major contributor. Your husband may be confused. He may need some help and support. Of course, he must have his own version of things. But since he’s not here…

I believe that for many married woman there comes a time to fulfill the wifely duty. The duty is this: to take your husband firmly by the collar, make sure you have every bit of his attention, and state something along this line:

Husband of mine, I love you dearly. I adore you. Because of that, I’m not going to allow you to erode this precious marriage.

What you are doing has to change. When you created this child of ours with me, you signed on to major shift in our lifestyle, mine AND yours. As a part of this change, it means that when you get home from work, you must remain “on”. It’s just the way it is.

When you flop by the TV extensively, it is not the image of a husband and father I want. Furthermore, there is a pile of duties, which you are leaving to me. The result is that I’m drained. And I’m furious. I know you’re exhausted too, so take a breather when you need. But don’t flop, and don’t stick me with your share of our daily chores.

Now, you might think I’m complaining because I’m depressed. In fact, I’m depressed because I keep having to repeat this complaint. I will get better, but be warned – this will not mean you can go back to planting your butt on the couch. I want you right here. With me, sleeves rolled up. And I’ll be with you.

Am I clear? Now what are you going to do beginning today?

This abbreviated sample statement might be stronger than anyone would really want, but the idea is to be intense, forthright and resolute, as part of the package in loving. Thoughts?

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