My husband and I were having a random conversation yesterday and the subject of consistency came up. He's been helping around at home quite a bit lately and I was thanking him for that. When he asked what he could do to be more helpful, I said that to me the ultimate help is consistency. I am always looking for things that I can get entirely off my radar because they are simply *his* to deal with.
His face just fell, so I asked him why the word "consistency" seemed to have such a negative connotation to him, and he came up with the title quote. He said Consistency causes Expectation and that after that, you are just handcuffed to that thing or that job. He made it sound like a death knell.
This is the point in a conversation when the old me would have completely attacked the selfishness of that argument, but I just didn't say anything and really let it soak in. He asked if I understood what he meant, and I said that I thought so but that I am seeing it from the other side and the handcuffs are there too. He asked what I meant, and I said if there are 20 weekly jobs that need to be done at home, and the partner who doesn't want the consistency of having a job all the time chooses 8 of them to randomly do as he sees them or they come up, you are certainly helping, but the opposite partner is *handcuffed* to all 20 jobs because they can't be left undone and she has no guarantees of what will be done by the opposite person. She either has to specifically ask, do them all herself, or work around his random helping to get the rest done; but regardless of how she handles it, she has to have all of them on her radar.
This to me seems unreasonably biased in the favor of the person who doesn't want the responsibility. He says he sees that point. So we just sat silently taking this all in (still keeping with the calm disagreement skills we're working on--probably also helped that there was no real issue in mind, so it was an unemotional discussion. Though we knew the outcome would affect the result of our family meeting later in the evening). He asked what I see as the solution, and since I see the solution as *suck it up and do it* and I couldn't exactly say THAT, I said that marriage requires certain things to get done and that it is every person in a family's responsiblity to see that they get done. He agrees. I say that I see no real difference in knowing you will be helping with *something* during your hours at home vs knowing those things will be *x,y, and z* if you can pick the items in either case and we can arrange it to fit into the free time available in either case. I also mentioned that the jobs don't necessarily have to stay the same every week, if he wanted to claim different jobs at the weekly meeting every week, I can go for that.
Then came the issue I most detest..........which is what he most detests about what needs to be done around the house.......it doesn't stay done. I mean I can't help that the bed has to be remade and dishes have to be rewashed and after you dust, things get dusty again. I don't like it either, but it is LIFE.....what good does it do to kick against the realities of life? I just said, "yeah that sucks doesn't it?" and didn't discuss it any further this time.
I ended up just saying that having someone responsible for the laundry for example, means that as I see laundry piling up, I know that is mine to handle and there is no point sitting around waiting for him to start doing it (hmm guess me being handcuffed to a job isn't a problem cause he doesn't TOUCH mine ), and when all the laundry is done, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I got that job done and done well. He said he has no joy in seeing something that needs to be done and knowing it is on him to do it, but that there is a satisfaction in getting a job done.
I just left it as telling him the good job he's doing in staying on top of things has caused way less *fires* needing extra intention in addition to all the regular things coming in. Because of that, we could designate a time period that he knew was all his to do nothing (this seems to be a major goal with him) if all the other items he's claimed are done.
He apparantly doesn't even want as much time as I thought, cause I suggested Saturdays (which he gets home at 8:30am and we usually volunteer till noon) and he could have most of a day, but he doesn't want to mess with date night, and wants the evening after church on Sunday--which we aren't usually home till 5pm. I said DEAL and we are going to try it this week.
Any insights into the logic of this thinking? I guess I just think that every adult person knows that when you live in a home, there are things you have to do. He's been out of his parent's house since he was 19, but he views taking care of a home as handcuffs? Granted he wasn't much of a housekeeper on his own, but if you want to live in a sty no one says you have to get married. I am not upset with him but I guess I am just baffled that this is how he views it.
I am also proud of him cause he came right in from work this morning and got working on his list of tasks.........INCLUDING the phone calls he usually procrastinates 1/2 the day on.