Archive for the ‘Marriage’ Category

Husbands and Housework – An Intercultural Perspective

May 11, 2018

A few years back, a study in America which concluded something very interesting about which men help their wives more, and if so, how much. Essentially, it said that the main determinant was dependent upon how much the man’s friends help their own wives.

Reading this conclusion was a light bulb moment for me living in North Africa, and being married to a local man.  I then realized that many aspects of my husband’s behavior seemed to follow this same indicator.

As regards housework, when we lived in America, my husband did help, including doing dishes (which he had never done before), running the vacuum, or helping out with chores when I asked.  However, when we moved back to North Africa, his idea was to never lift a finger again–and especially not to be SEEN BY OTHERS to be doing any sort of housework.  His solution was to hire a full-time maid.

Having a maid is not all it is cracked up to be.  It can be helpful if the maid is dedicated to her job, but in most cases, maids need to be trained extensively and supervised constantly.  In my experience, only 20% of maids are able to work well and independently without constant supervision.  We had about four good maids in 25 years, and the rest were mostly disasters.  Before many women here had an education, many intelligent women were maids.  Now, with women who are intelligent enough to stay in school, the women who become maids are near the bottom of the barrel in dedication, or intelligence.

Our most recent maid was here for three years, and was still not able/willing to learn to prepare an adequate meal (with much help and training), would not clean adequately, lied about things, stole small items continuously (yes we talked to her about it many times), and took advantage of us in many ways.  Finally, my husband decided to fire her when the last straw was that over a period of a year, she began refusing more and more parts of her regular job.

In our case, due to my becoming disabled with severe mobility issues, I am no longer able to do cleaning, laundry, dishes, or cooking on a gas stove (I am still able to work from home several hours a day at a desk and with clients).  This has been the case for the past three years, and will continue to be the case in the future.

So this time, by firing the maid, the result was all of the housework fell upon my husband.  He works full time, and was mostly used to never lifting a finger.  (Of course most women are working full time and normally spend two or three hours a night doing chores around the home daily, in addition to their job.)

My husband has picked up some the slack, pretty minimally, but I mostly try to just say, “Thank you,” and keep my mouth shut (and nor does he want any of my suggestions). The house standards have now fallen quite low, but he does manage to cook about three meals a week.  He washes the clothes and hangs them outside on the line a couple times a week.  He vacuums every ten days or two weeks, and partially cleans the bathrooms a couple times a month.  He waters the garden (he has gardeners come once a month).  He cleans the cat boxes a couple times a week and now takes out the trash daily.  Beds were  changed after five months (never had to endure this before in my life).

Doing some of this work, I do think is important for him.  Even if we hire another maid in the future, this time, HE will have to train and supervise her.  When one has never done the work, it’s difficult to appreciate others’ work.  Before, he had no understanding of what was involved.

It’s good for all of us to learn new things, especially when they help us to be more competent in our own lives.

–Lynne Diligent

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How “Group-Think” Around-the-World Affects Our Relationships

March 7, 2015

Group-think

How many of us have felt sad about losing a childhood friend as we grow older, or sad about losing another close relationship in our life, either through divorce, or more commonly, through drifting apart of former friends?  Why is this happening?

The answer can be found in “group-think,” another name for blocks of energy.

Different types of groups create blocks of mental energy that move around influencing social and moral values, political ideas, and religious beliefs. When only one member of a couple undergoes a religious conversion, it places great strain on a marriage.  When a child either marries someone unacceptable to the family, or declares he or she is gay, this can place a great strain on the parent-child relationship.  When friends move to a new place, take up new interests, or join new groups, friendships can wither away.

We all belong to a variety of group-think blocks, generally without even realizing it.  These are imposed upon us, as children, by our family of origin, our environment, our culture and ethnicity, our neighborhood and schooling, and by our language and country.

Blocks of mental energy

As we grow and change throughout our lives, we try out new groups to see if we fit.  These new groups and ways of thinking sometimes cause a lot of stress in the people around us, who may not like those ideas.  New ideas and lifestyles can rupture relationships, ending in divorce or disowning, in more extreme cases, if the other partner or friend is not willing togive the new ideas a try.  Some relationships can survive these changes, but many cannot.

When looking for friends and/or life partners, it’s easier to connect with people when we find several group ideas that intersect with our own.  Consider the list below.  Some of the ideas are complete opposites, while others fall along a continuum, with many positions in between the extremes. Being a good conversationalist, asking leading questions and being a good listener, enables us to discover unexpected things we may have in common with others.

As you read the list, consider where you fit in each group, and consider where the your own interests, and those of your  partner and your friends fit.  People who get along well are more likely to have friends who share several idea groups.  Or, they might share groups that are contiguous to their own group on the continuum, as opposed to being at opposite ends of the spectrum.  The more opposite idea groups you and your partner fall into  increases the likelihood of divorce or rupture within a family, or among friends.

Very religious–Agnostic–Atheist

Productivity and hard work–maximal free time to lie around

Animal rights–pet owners and carnivores–animal abusers

Fatalists–self-determination and taking responsibility

Heavy readers–occasional readers–non-readers

Enthusiastic Parents–reluctant parents–militant childless

Big Industry Supporters–Environmentalists

Poor–Middle Income–Rich

Belief in equality of opportunity–equality of outcome

Spiritual and Relaxed–Dogmatic and Uptight

Straight–gay

Female–Male

Health and exercise–moderate effort–extreme indulgence

These are just a few examples of groups where one finds people thinking in blocks which project powerful mental energy.

In American culture, it’s quite easy to change groups.  In other cultures, it can be much harder.  They may not accept someone changing their job, moving to a new town, much less a new country; divorcing, changing religions, or many other examples.

When a person moves into a new group, it can be very threatening to those in the former group.  For example, if a child raised in a family that is interested in big business joins an environmental cause, or a gay child who appears in a straight family, or a child marries a foreigner, or someone of a different race, or moves to another conuntry, parents may not be able to accept it.  When one member of a childfree couple decides they now want to be a parent, this can lead to divorce.  Similar, less drastic, situations happen with our friends, as we find new interests and move into new groups.  this is why people come and go from our lives.

 –Lynne Diligent

 

 

 

 


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