I don’t know if it’s learned or just born-into-the-brain behavior. I only know it causes BIG problems in a marriage.
There are men who seem to believe that their contribution is to earn a paycheck, and that’s it. They’ve put in their eight hours, they provide financially, and nothing more is required.
That, of course leaves EVERYTHING else up to the long-suffering wife and their children, as they grow older, and can help shoulder some of Mom’s burden.
These men truly seem to believe that all their wives do all day is–well–not much. A little cooking, a little cleaning. Not much else, even though the men do nothing at all about maintenance of the house and property. If they enjoy doing so, they may engage in some yard work, sitting on a riding mower until the grass is cut. That’s how they “help.” If the kids need to be driven to games, lessons, etc., that’s Mom’s job. Grocery shopping, Mom’s job. After all, what does she do all day but sit around watching the soaps?
One would think, in these days of women working outside the home just as much as men do, that this type of behavior would be a thing of the past. Sadly, it’s not. Do the men learn it from their fathers? Or is there a male gene that convinces them they have no business doing “women’s work”?
I am blessed to have married a man who never hesitated to change a diaper, soiled or just wet. Never hesitated to mop up vomit or snot, just figuring it needed doing and he was right there. He told me years ago, as he was cleaning up a wiggly child, that he actually enjoyed knowing he was making the baby comfortable and keeping diaper rash away.
Believe me, his willingness to lend a hand in no way diminished his masculinity, and I respected him all the more for seeing that I was nearing the end of my patience. He was not a man who came home, expected to be treated like a conquering hero, and sat down for the entire evening while I cooked, cleaned up, got the kids to bed. He was a part of the process, unless he was unusually tired from the work he did. When that was the case, I understood and expected nothing.
Maybe that’s part of the problem, though, for women whose husbands give nothing but their paychecks. Those women have learned to expect nothing, and guess what? Nothing is what they get. If they do ask for help, they get “What do you want from me? I work my tail off all day to provide for you, and I’m tired! You’ve had all day to sit around doing nothing. No, I’m not going to help you. Figure it out.”
Those women do—they figure it out. And they go to bed feeling lonely, unloved, unwanted and unappreciated. Their husbands don’t understand that getting all lovey-dovey at that moment isn’t exactly appealing to their worn-out, disappointed wives.
As I write, I’m realizing that this mostly applies to an older generation in which the wives were mostly stay-at-home wives and mothers. Their husbands must have often thought that their wives had a pretty cushy time of it. Unfortunately, there are women who don’t do much but the absolutely necessary, if that. Maybe it’s in retaliation for feeling disrespected because they aren’t making any financial contribution. I don’t know.
What I do know is that this is an age-old problem, and it takes the romance out of a marriage pretty quickly. At some point, maybe I’ll write something directed a wives who expect their husbands to do far more than is reasonable. There is, after all, another side to every story.