My wife and I travel for work. While we don’t have extremely heavy yearlong travel schedules, it seems to come in waves. Recently, she had a long stint, and I was at home with the kids. While I don’t enjoy being apart from my wife, I always find value in the times she is gone because I am forced to acknowledge all the things I take for granted when she is here.
Over our almost 22 years of marriage, we have assumed certain roles. Some would call them traditional. Historically, she has done most of the laundry, cooked the majority of the meals, done the grocery shopping, and kept the house running along—all while working. I have helped out where needed, cooked the occasional dinner, helped in the kitchen, and done the majority of the yard work. This has always worked for us. But as we both have been traveling, we have had to take on each other’s responsibilities. It turns out she has a few more than I do.
This last week was a reminder of how much she does. But before we get to that, I want to share a quick story. I heard a remarkably arrogant (not to mention misogynistic) statement the other day. A man was talking to a friend of his about their plans for the evening, and he responded to a question with, “She’s at home making dinner where she belongs.” I overheard a bit more, and everything screamed of, “I’m better than my wife, and she is there to serve me.”
All I could think was, “What an ass!”
That conversation was in the back of my mind off and on during the week my wife was working hard out of state. While she was gone, I took the kids to school each morning, worked a full day of work, picked the kids up from school, made dinner, ran to the store for a few groceries, cleaned up the kitchen, and got the kids to bed, not to mention three loads of laundry on Thursday and another three on Sunday. It turns out working full-time and running a household is a whole lot easier with two. My wife does alot, and when she is gone, I am reminded of exactly how much. But whenever she is home, I become slightly ignorant to the amount of time, energy, and work she pours into myself and our three kids.
While it may not be the same as the arrogant mentality I heard from a stranger, when I choose to be ignorant to all that my wife does, it makes me just as much of an ass!
I have known many men and some women who have fallen into this trap. Some know it and don’t care; others let the routine of life create expectations out of other’s actions. But, any time someone’s work, dedication, or acts of service for another are expected, go unnoticed, or are trivialized, it’s disgusting, and there is no excuse.
Whether you are a husband, wife, friend, or coworker; if you have fallen into the trap of expecting any form of work or sacrifice from another human being as opposed to being filled with a deep appreciation, something is off. Whether it’s arrogance or ignorance, something needs to change.
The only appropriate response to any act of service, no matter how routine, is appreciation. If you do one thing today, make sure you let those who do so much for you know how much you appreciate them. And I’ll do the same.