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Make Your Relationship Work

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Had a seemingly simple question pop into my inbox here:

Does your lady ever help you answer questions/ read your responses?

Considered it carefully, then rejected it as a question, as it doesn’t carry the interest range of some of the others for the day. But it would not let me go and I felt a sudden stab of real and completely unjustifiable resentment, because the answers are no and rarely. Not because she doesn’t want to, don’t get me wrong, but because she is simply too damned busy.

Before she could possibly even start to read them, she has her own writing to do, or is at work developing the career that she loves and is really good at, or doing her bit of the day to day household chores, playing with the kids, or doing the accounts for both me and the household. She is a modern woman in every sense, determined to have it all.

I am determined she shall as well.

Seems like every week there is a story in the news that, no matter what the research actually says, is always angled towards women as “You can’t have it all,” most recently this one saying that for women, with great success comes terrible sex. It gets incredibly annoying and very depressing for anyone who thinks that true equality is the cornerstone of a civilisation. And it is complete rubbish – media fearmongering at it’s worst.

If you are willing to work for it, and with a partner who is willing to work right by your side, yes, you can have it all. But the key word there is work. No one is entitled to have everything. It takes effort, sacrifice and understanding on the part of both of you.

I work from home, both for the writing and my main job. It has been that way for years. Means that a good 80% of the household and childcare stuff falls to me, as the one on the spot. It is fair, in my eyes. I am a far better “Mom” than she is, which she agrees with, so we just swapped the traditional childcare roles.

When my lady gets home from work, she cooks. That is her thing, and something she finds relaxing and I absolutely hate. Ditto laundry, she loves doing the laundry, for some perverse reason. I wash the dishes and tidy up while she plays with the children, baths them and reads them their bedtime story, just having some quality time with them. After a while, I go upstairs and gently put the children into their own beds and wake her up again.
Then she settles into her seat with a glass of wine, me with my tea, we light the fire, and we talk for a bit about our work days, before swapping laptops and having a quietly enjoyable hour discussing and checking over each other’s writing. She makes the articles, new novel chapters and short stories a priority, though. Those are all on tight deadlines, and, to be honest, she enjoys them more than the answers, being a languages grad and somewhat picky about my terrible grammar.
Weekends, we invert it. She looks after the kids most of the day, I get some serious amounts of work done. I cook, and put the kids to bed. The evenings are still spent the same way though. That routine is sacred.

Every couple approaches life differently. There are probably as many ways of being a true partnership as there are couples. But all successful couples do the same thing – make the success of their partner integral to their own happiness and success. There are no fixed rules for it, just good will and fairness.

The only real rule I know is you cannot do it on your own.

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