Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: Complaining wife owes her husband an apology

 

Are there letter-writers you wonder about to this day? While I’m away, readers nominate some who stayed in mind.

“I remember the lady whose husband earned more, worked more and did more housework, but she thought they were even because she was such a great catch and out of his league.”

http://wapo.st/aLncAT

Sept. 6, 2010

Adapted from an online discussion:

Dear Carolyn: I’ve finally put my foot down and told my husband he needs to increase his share of the work, or else.

We each estimated the hours we put toward housework and kids. I do almost 60 percent of the work. I excluded things on his side that I don’t really call work, because he enjoys the solitude (lawn care, weeding, finances, cooking, etc.). He doesn’t think that’s right.

I also don’t buy his argument that he works 10-15 hours more than I do at his job each week. That is a career choice, and while it enables him to earn far more money than I do, it doesn’t excuse him from his share of housework.

Short of threatening divorce, how do I convince him he is wrong? I threw this out to friends and family and everyone agrees with me.

Va.

If you’re softening your hands while you do dishes, then you can’t count that toward your workload, either.

Here’s a definition that works on Earth: Anything you wouldn’t already be doing for leisure counts as housework. Period.

And if your husband carries 40 percent of the load after you’ve excluded yard work, cooking and finances — and if he’s carrying that underrated load while working longer hours (for more money) — then you owe him one of the fattest apologies ever owed a spouse. Not just for being disrespectful and you-centric, but also for dragging his domestically generous self through the mud of everyone you know in a quest for approbation.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

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