Once upon a time, men and women went into marriage with very clear ideas about their duties and responsibilities. The husband went out to work while the wife remained home and cooked, cleaned and brought up the children. The responsibility of the traditional wife was to make the home a place of order, peace, and tranquility: whereas the husband came back in the evening to rejuvenate himself. However, the reality of 2018 is entirely different.
Statistics tell it all
These realities mean that the responsibilities around the home have had to be revised: the husband is no longer the primary breadwinner and it is no longer realistic for the wife to do it all at home by herself.
And it is not only in the job market that things have changed. For instance, the traditional man was also a handyman. In contrast, the modern man has no idea what goes on in his boiler and probably can’t reliably fix the toilet. The modern husband is increasingly relying on professionals for home repairs, an interchange that can sting with emasculation.
Changes in the last few decades have redefined the responsibilities and roles of husbands.
There is no longer the romantic notion that was attached to ‘providing’ and undertaking ‘masculine jobs.’
As a result, many husbands have become confused and insecure. They do not know how to act at home, and, consequently, they have become passive. Some husbands have decided that the easiest thing to do is nothing. With both feet planted firmly in mid-air, they have allowed the wife to take over.
How does a husband remain relevant when the things that defined him a few years ago are no longer strictly his forte?
The 2018 husband and the house chores
The reality of 2018 is that only a handful of working parents have ‘the village’ that they need to care for their children. The 2018 woman cannot completely replicate herself while she is at work: She may pay for childcare and even a cleaning service, but that is still not enough. Therefore, husbands have had to come in to relieve their wives at home. It is no longer enough for the 2018 husband to just ‘man’ the grill for the occasional BBQ.
Fun fact: Did you know that according to the Pew Research Poll, sharing household chores ranks as the third highest issue associated with a successful marriage, behind only unfaithfulness and good sex?
The 2018 husband cannot claim to love his wife and then watch while she toils at home after a long day at work. Even if she is a stay at home mum, there is a new understanding that housework is every bit as exhausting as going out to earn an income, if not more. Loving your wife means recognizing that she is exhausted and overwhelmed. If you love your wife, and you want her to feel loved, you will get home and slide into the second part of your day’s schedule, just like her.
Fun fact: Having a husband creates an extra seven hours of household chores a week for women, according to the University of Michigan.
According to Charles William, true intimacy in a relationship comes when you and your wife can identify so closely with each other that you see yourselves in each other: co-inherence. When you master co-inherence, you will not grumble about helping your wife with household chores.
Always remind yourself that your wife is your best friend and there are many little things you can do to make things easier for her:
- Ask your wife to draw up a list of the invisible tasks.
- Be attentive about the work that needs to be done every day and do some of it.
- Recognize the effort and sacrifice involved in completing the remainder of the work.
Remember, the point is not really to do only half the work. It is helping your wife as much as you can. The motto should be: nobody sits until everybody sits. If there is work to be done and your wife is up, you are up too, doing what needs to be done.
Fact: For a wife, the only thing that is more difficult than being a single parent and having to do all by herself is having to do everything by herself, while someone watches from the couch. It just adds anger to her tiredness.
Fatherhood in 2018
The modern father greatly differs from the traditional married income earner and disciplinarian. He comes in various forms: employed or stay at home, biological, adoptive or stepparent. He is more than capable of being a caregiver for his children for both their physical and psychological challenges. Research by National Institute of Child Health and Human Development revealed that fathers who are more involved in caregiving:
- Have positive psychological adjustment effects on their children (lower levels of hostility and depression; higher self-esteem and coping with adulthood).
- Improve their children’s cognitive development and functioning.
- Report greater intimacy with their wives.
Further, the study showed that the role of a father’s love in his children’s development is great as the influence of the mother’s love. Therefore, maintaining a healthy relationship with your wife contributes significantly to your children’s health and wellbeing.
The 2018 husband must work closely with his wife to provide emotional and financial support for the children, provide appropriate monitoring and discipline and most importantly, remain a permanent and loving presence in both his wife’s and his children’s lives.
The modern husband and provision
Most people believe that being a good provider means supporting one’s family financially. This is the reason many husbands are left insecure and confused when their wives start earning an income as well; sometimes even more than theirs.
Provision means much more than finances. A husband must also provide the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual well-being of his family.
As a 2018 husband, the biggest realization that you can come to is that, in addition to money, there are other currencies that you are called upon to provide in your family.
The modern husband and protection
Protecting your family means more than being the master of your household’s alarm system, being in charge of opening the door when someone knocks at night and shutting the household down before bed. It is beyond beating up the guy next door if he insults your wife.
You need to have your wife’s back, even if it means protecting her from your own family.
Heck, you may even have to protect your wife from your own children! Show others that you will not tolerate any disrespect towards your wife.
Protection also extends to taking care of your wife’s emotional needs.
Beware how you speak to your wife. Like dropping a delicate piece of China, your words can break your wife permanently.
In addition, protect your wife’s self-esteem. Nobody else can make your wife feel like a supermodel despite the sagging breasts and stretch marks.
The modern husband and leadership
Part of being a husband is responsibility. It is realizing that you are no longer alone. You have a team that needs to be guided and protected from disunity. Effective marriages, like effective teams, need to be led with a servant leader attitude.
Contrary to popular belief, women do not want to wear pants in the family.
Evidence indicates that despite the strides that women have made economically, most do not want to be their families’ leaders. Many wives want their husbands to lead. And what’s more, men don’t want to be led by their wives.
So, do not wait for your wife to take the initiative when there are problems in your family. Take the lead. Get in the game and create the kind of a family you want instead of wasting time whining about your family’s situation. Remember, you will get the family you create, not the one you think you deserve.
What about sex?
Traditionally, there were clear-cut attitudes about intimacy; the man’s wishes were what counted. You do not believe that anymore, neither does your wife. However, there is still the expectation that a husband should take leadership in a couple’s sexual lives.
You must realize that your wife is probably still inhibited by the traditional attitudes.
Always seek to add new adventures to take your sex lives to the next level. Remember, the level of satisfaction with your sex life will determine the level of satisfaction in your marriage.
Husbands must adapt to the realities of 2018
Research shows that husbands are happier when their wives are homemakers. It seems that many husbands are still operating using the chauvinistic social codes that were established during the last century. Unfortunately, this is only hurting families. You must learn to be adaptive to the present-day realities in order to build a healthy marriage.
At the heart of marriage problems, today is unclear expectations and contradictory goals. Shared expectations and mutual understanding of each partner’s primary goals and roles will save your marriage from dissatisfaction, arguing and misunderstandings. Today’s couples require communication skills to run a successful relationship. This is where your leadership comes in.
Find a way for you and your wife to communicate your needs and responsibilities openly and clearly with each other.
Create an environment where you talk about everything. You will establish a fulfilling relationship on a scale that you have never imagined.
Lastly, don’t feel threatened
Do not be threatened because your wife has a job or that she is out-earning you. Men and women are not the same; thus, they are not interchangeable. Even if you and your wife are capable of doing what each other can do, it does not mean that you are both capable of performing all tasks with equal fervor. And, it doesn’t even mean you will both be happy if you do. With constant communication with your wife, you will always find equilibrium in your relationship.