Many couples experience the period of marriage preparation as amongst the most joyous, energetic and positive phases of their lives. The expectation of realising their dreams together creates a spirit of vitality and a defined sense of harmonious purpose within their shared lives. Maybe you are just now in this happy position and busily preparing for your special day? You are possibly just now dividing up between you the list of outstanding responsibilities? But have you as yet considered sharing responsibilities within marriage?
Couples frequently need time to work out how they will share responsibilities in married life. In approaching this important task many couples reflect on how the sharing of responsibilities was modelled in their family or origin: “how did Mum and Dad manage to share their responsibilities?” Or maybe you may both decide:“Well, we certainly don’t want to do things the way our parents did, we want to put our own stamp on things.”
You may perhaps decide to divide up the household chores on a rota basis in which the normal duties such as cleaning, cooking, bins, garden, paying of bills and other responsibilities are shared equally between you? Or perhaps you may reflect on each other’s respective talents within the home and assign one another the tasks that you enjoy doing? As you prepare for your special day, you may possibly ask yourselves, what are our expectations of one another? What is it you expect of your partner that you have never voiced to him / her? These are called hidden expectations, and when violated can sometimes cause conflict within your relationship.
Household duties, though important in maintaining a harmonious relationship, are in many ways secondary to the more fundamental sharing of responsibilities such as the rearing of children and remaining faithful to the commitments made to another within marriage. Partners, in preparing for marriage, need to feel confident and secure that they can depend on one another in times of distress, illness, financial insecurity and in meeting the many challenges that life will present. Perhaps your relationship has already been blessed with children and you are reflecting on how you can share the responsibility of taking them to crèche or school? You are possibly reflecting together on how you can share the increased financial responsibility that arises from children’s education and social involvements? Maybe because one of you may work irregular hours, or indeed work away from home all week, you are anxious because an equal sharing of responsibilities does not take place? You have possibly not as yet sufficiently reflected together how you might share your responsibilities after marriage? Perhaps you feel this might be a good time to commence sharing your thoughts and feelings on this matter?
Discuss with one another the areas of responsibility that you feel are important for sharing within your relationship! Outline to one another the areas you feel you would like to take responsibility for! Discuss with one another how you might in future deal with issues of disagreement around the sharing of responsibilities!
For Your Information:
The Accord marriage preparation course, “Marriage – A Journey Not a Destination” offers an extensive series of activities around issues relating to the preparation for marriage. For further information visit:www.accord.ie