Come on, it’s the twenty-first century. I believe in equality between the genders. Or is it equity? Whatever e-word the gals are jabbering about, that’s what I support—100 percent.
Cleaning? I take the living room windows; my wife takes the bedroom windows. I take the closet; she takes the bathroom. I take the kitchen sink; she takes the gutters, basement, and haunted crawl space.
Cooking? Hoo boy, I love to grill. I can’t grill in the winter, but besides that, you can find me outside grilling up enough burgers, brats, and veggies for the whole week, except for the part of spring when it rains. I’m not a huge fan of the humidity in July or August, either, and October is real touch and go in these parts. September and June, though? I’m out there grilling anything and everything, assuming there aren’t any baseball games on the MLB: Every Game Every Night app.
We had guests over last night. Guess who did the planning? That’s right, both of us. My wife initiated a text chain with our friends, coordinated a time, assuaged our friends’ guilt when they had to cancel last minute, coordinated a new time, and confirmed their attendance the day of. I texted a GIF from The Office when Angela’s cat fell out of the ceiling during the fire drill—freaking hilarious.
Then there are the small categories of things many people don’t even think about, like making sure the bills get paid so we don’t live in darkness and squalor. We share those things, too. We arranged it so all our bills are due on the first, so on the twenty-ninth of the month, my wife always says, “Let’s sit down and pay all our bills right now,” and I respond, “You know what, sweetheart? I think we should probably pay our bills today.” So we sit down together and take care of our financial obligations, sharing responsibility every step of the way.
Plenty of people—okay, plenty of guys—think that outings and vacations just sort of happen. Well, they don’t, fellas. They require planning. That’s why, when my wife is on her laptop, booking places to stay, making reservations at restaurants or museums, calling ahead to see if our dog can come, and writing up an itinerary, I’m right at her side on my laptop. Ice-cold root beer in hand, watching YouTube videos of people sailing around the world and researching what tools I would need to acquire if, ten years down the road, I were to purchase a broken-down old sailboat on eBay that I wanted to rehabilitate. Answer: quite a few, so I better start purchasing them soon.
Though much of marriage is about researching half-rotten sailboats and rewatching old cold opens of The Office, sometimes you need to support each other emotionally. This work, called “Emotionally Labor,” is especially important. So when my wife’s upset about something a colleague said to her? I listen to her. When she says, “Are you listening to me? Because the Every Game Every Night app is on at full volume,” I say, “Of course.” When she says, “Are you sure? I’m just feeling really frustrated about things at work,” I pause and think about what helps me in moments of distress. Then I say, “How about we rewatch the Office cold open where they’re waiting to see if the screensaver thing will hit the exact corner of the screen?”
Sometimes we don’t even need to talk to communicate with each other. Sometimes we can just stare into each other’s eyes, or out the window, or into our phones, while she makes a rapping sound with her fingers on the table. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.
Oh yeah, we also have two kids. I often talk to my friends about how amazing fatherhood is when it’s just us guys at a brewery on a Sunday afternoon.