Christian living- dealing with one 'oops' at a time…

Posts tagged ‘egalitarian marriage women men Christian’

Men and the Laundry Hamper

Ever noticed that, when you get a group of wives together there is a topic that repeatedly comes up? It can be any group of wives. Rich, poor, working, stay-at-home, you name it, there seems to be a single theme: Men, on average, cannot get their clothing into the appropriate hampers at night.

Why is this? All of the men I know are wonderful husbands who would lay down their lives for their wife and kids. Work a second job? No problem. Take the child to a doctor’s appointment; sit in Chuck-E-Cheese for three hours? No complaints. But when it comes to putting socks into a hamper no amount of nagging seems to work!

Now, just as a disclaimer, my husband actually puts his stuff into the hamper. It involved adopting 3 older children when I had four children, newborn to 4 1/2 years old in the home, but it did happen. I would not recommend going to this extreme just to get his socks off the floor though.

What does interest me is why men seem to buck doing this simple task for the woman they obviously love. They will take out the garbage, put gas in the car, but not pick up the socks. Hmmm.

The problem is, for women this is a big problem. It frustrates them. They cannot figure it out. One woman I know went on strike. Her washing machine was in an alcove across from their bedroom. Every night her husband aimed his clothing towards the alcove so his clothes ended up on the floor of the hallway outside their room. No amount of talking helped, so she stopped picking them up. If the clothes weren’t in the hamper, they were not getting washed. Eventually he ran out of clean clothes. After stepping over his growing mound of unwashed boxers he asked his wife, ‘Honey, do you know where my clean clothes are?’ Yeah, no clue.

As I said, these men are not dumb, nor are they lazy. There is just something in our society that causes grown men to view the laundry hamper as public enemy number one, to be avoided at all costs. Maybe we women make it too hard on them. After all, the majority of us do tend towards buying the nicer hampers with the lids. Maybe if we bought a cheap plastic one and left the top completely open we’d have more luck. Who knows?

What I do know however is a wife, who gave up her career, (and the chance for any mature conversation that doesn’t involve talking about the kids), who is currently at home eating mac and cheese, watching reruns of the latest mind-numbing show kids like, and picking up the same toys she picked up, and stepped on, an hour ago, who knows her husband is having a fancy lunch meeting today is not going to be pleased to have to pick up her husband’s socks too.

The best way I have to explain it is: If you want your wife’s respect, and, more importantly, if you want your wife to see you as a sexual being and not another two-year-old she has to pick up after, get the stuff in the hamper!

I think I’ve made myself clear. Now go have a nice day.

Photo by Matija Barrett

Needing to be Everything…

I watched a rerun of the TV show Bones the other night. The lead male character was explaining why a teenaged boy who was headed to M.I.T. would all of a sudden drop everything and live homeless as a squatter in an abandoned factory. It was because he was trying to ‘save’ a girl. The female lead asked, ‘How do you know this?’ ‘Because I was a teenaged boy,’ was his reply.

This conversation tells us a lot about human nature. There is something in us that wants to be the savior of the world, but it is an immature something. It is a something that keeps us from getting help, or seeking advice. It is the something that needs to dominate and lord over another person. It is the something that makes us treat the person we are ‘saving’ as if they are nothing, and would have nothing if it were not for us. It is oppressive, not nurturing. It is not trying to help the person do better, confident that they can. It is thinking that they ‘need’ me, and always will. It may be ‘nice’ and involve sacrificing and doing much for another, but it is still looking at the other person as if they are somewhat helpless and cannot possibly survive without you. This may not be exactly what you think, but it is what your actions imply. It is the wrong way to help, or treat another human being.

The conversation also implied that this need to save was ‘immature,’ something boys grew out of as they became men, but how often do we see this attitude preached in the way a man is to be to his wife, forgetting that the Proverbs 31 woman worked and ran a vineyard? She did not need saving. If anything the verses imply that the man needs her. Through her competence she will cause him to be respected and make sure that his household does not suffer. How did this get turned around? She can buy things for herself, and take care of others. What she deserves from him is praise for doing so. She does not need a husband to ‘cover’ her. (He is not her husband yet, remember this is an instruction regarding what to look for in a wife.) Instead she needs a man who will appreciate her and everything she brings into the marriage.

We get into trouble when we try to ‘save’ people. We were not made to navigate this world alone, and we were certainly not made to handle everything for ourselves and another person without help. In Genesis we are told it is not good for man to be alone. Wait, on his own was not good, so what would make us think that him taking full responsibility for two was a good thing? (And I am sure God would have said the same thing about women who try to do it all themselves as well.) The woman is an ‘ezer,’ a help-mate, a strong person that has your back when things get rough. This is not doing it alone, and protecting her from anything that might come her way. This is her helping the man, her husband!

I almost titled this, ‘Needing to be Superman,’ but then I realized that Superman had it right. He did not need to do everything. He saved the person from danger, and then deposited them, and the bad guys in front of law enforcement and left. He knew that his job was to face the extreme and do what he was uniquely suited to do and that was it. Taking care of the person after this was someone else’s task. He was in partnership with the police, doing what they could not, but not doing it all himself. This is more maturity than I thought to find in the ‘Man of Steel.’ Kudos to the comic book artists that understood that even super-heroes did not need to be self-sufficient.

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