Living with Engineers: It’s All in the Timing

Another engineer’s wife and I were having a discussion about household chores yesterday.  We were bemoaning the fact that if we want our husbands to do something for us, we either need to tell them right away, or it won’t happen at all. The engineer’s mind is a constant one-way track of processing information.  It’s what makes them so brilliant and efficient: they zero in on a task, giving it their complete focus until it’s done.  I’m almost always thinking about other things while I’m working on something, which is why it can take me longer to achieve something with … Continue reading

Navigating Alone Time

How well do you do on your own without your spouse?  I certainly don’t need Jonathan to look after me, and I could support myself without him, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  What I mean is: if there are times that your spouse is away from home from an extended period of time, how do you feel about it? I’ve never liked living alone.  If I wasn’t married, I would prefer having a roommate to living by myself.  I spent the summer before I got married living on my own, and it was unpleasant.  So when Jon goes … Continue reading

Doofy Husbands

Have you ever heard of doofy husbands?  They’re the guys in commercials who are always incapable of doing anything around the house.  They try to do the laundry, clean a room, or cook a meal, always to hilarious failure.  Their long-suffering wives come into the room and shake their heads, then proceed to use whatever product is being shilled to accomplish the task with ease. The concept of doofy husbands is problematic for a couple reasons: it doesn’t give men enough credit, and it perpetuates the idea that men aren’t good at performing many household, traditionally feminine tasks.  It implies … Continue reading

Are There Such Things as Wifely Duties?

Yesterday a volunteering friend used the phrase “wifely duties.”  She did so somewhat in jest, but the phrase stuck with me.  I certainly think that I have duties to Jonathan, but I shudder at calling them wifely duties.  I don’t think these duties have anything to do with me being his wife, or rather, have anything to do with the fact that I’m the woman in the relationship. I’d like the phrases “spousal duties” or “partnerly duties,” better (if the latter was a real word).  I have certain duties to Jonathan because I am married to him, but gender roles … Continue reading

The Difference Between Friendship and Marriage

Sometimes I wonder what the difference is between friendship and marriage.  Not casual friendship, or even good friendship, but really-close, best-friends, rely-on-each-other-for-everything friendship.  If we look to the media for answers, it seems to imply that the only difference is physical desire.  In movies and television, the only or at least primary distinguishable change in the relationship between two characters that are best friends, and then become something more, is that their relationship adds a sexual element. Those are usually my favorite types of stories (as opposed to ones where the characters aren’t friends but jump right to dating), only … Continue reading

Generational Differences in Marriage Dynamics: Cooking

Due to all of my volunteering, I spend a lot of time each week with people who are more in my parents’ generation than mine. That’s normal enough; once we graduate and enter the work force, our pool of peers naturally expands beyond our age group. I have no problem with this most of the time, but once in a while I feel our generational difference, and that usually relates to our views on marriage. My friends don’t have extremely different views on marriage than me; they’re certainly not the types who think their husbands rule the roost. I don’t … Continue reading

Having Each Other’s Back

Today I want to talk about kind of a dumb thing I got into the habit of doing, but that I realized one day could be hurtful. Sometimes I have a tendency to make too much fun of Jon in front of others. I’ve talked to him about it and he doesn’t seem to mind, but nonetheless I want to work on it. The habit was born out of our shared college experience. The group of friends we were in playfully messed with each other all of the time, especially the boys. I kind of had to thicken my skin … Continue reading

Is There Such a Thing as Too Nice?

Is there such a thing as being too nice? When we’re in a relationship with someone, particularly when we’re married, we learn the answer to that question: yes. It’s not necessarily that too much niceness is bad, but that what one person might interpret as nice isn’t so great for the other. A friend and I were talking about that today in relation to our husbands. She shared that one time, her husband managed to bring home a big chocolate cake on the first day she was starting a new diet, something he knew about. Another time he kept filling … Continue reading

Making Birthdays Special – Or Not

Marriage, like most of life, is all about seeing things from someone else’s point of view. I’ve had to learn that Jonathan copes with things, especially arguments and emotions, much more slowly than I do. That’s not what I wanted to discuss today. What I wanted to discuss is how marriage can sometimes force you to see the world in an entirely new way. Sounds like I’m talking about something life changing, right? Not really, though it’s certainly hard for me to process. I’m talking about presents. Jon’s birthday is today, and for months I had no idea what to … Continue reading

Sleeping in Separate Beds: You’re Not Alone

Our culture believes that couples who sleep in separate beds are either experiencing or inviting problems in their marriage. Because I’m a light sleeper, I’m a firm believer that couples should be free to sleep separately if necessary. Jon and I almost always sleep together, but if one of us is restless we move to another bed, to keep that person from being woken up. I know that sleeping in the same bed improves intimacy. Once kids are part of the equation alone time between couples is scarce, and time in bed together, even if it’s just the process of … Continue reading