Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Roleeeee Out

Choosing to live together before marriage or waiting until after you're married is a personal decision. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a friend’s acquaintance after a few months of living with Mr. P. My friend explained that I lived nearby (we were out at a nearby bar) with my boyfriend, and this acquaintance, who had just met me mind you, immediately responded, “Oh, I’m so glad I waited to move in with my husband. It takes all the fun away from marriage if you live with someone first.” I just stared at her blankly. My first reaction was to say, “Who the BLEEP asked you?” I relented.

It may not be the "traditional" route, but one of the benefits of living with someone before marriage is ironing out each person’s role. Mr. P and I have pretty traditional roles in our home. Since we’ve lived together for over 3 years we’ve had some time to master who does what. I'm glad we have this all ironed out pre-marriage. Things have shifted over time due to changes in work and life, but for the most part I do a lot more work around the house and Mr. P does a lot more work out of the home.

As of right now I do about 95% of the housework and cooking. It wasn’t always this way, but right now I’m pretty 9 to 5 and Mr. P. works all the time. For instance, yesterday he left for work at 7 AM and didn’t get home until about 9 PM. He’s also the bread winner right now, and provides a lot more financially. I don’t mind making up for my monetary deficiency with some more work around the house, because for the most part I don’t mind doing household stuff. I like to cook, although I do occasionally get into my “I HATE cooking, why are there so many pots to clean now?” moods. I have also found that I clean-up more efficiently then Mr. P, and it provides for fewer rampages if I just clean what I can and tell him what’s leftover to do. I really don’t think Mr. P sees dirty things or clutter. Somehow in my “old age” I’ve turned into Monica from Friends.

Yes, there are times I wish I could plop down on the couch, watch TV, and not have to cook or clean. (And, sometimes take-out and clutter prevail.) Most of the time Mr. P just has to come home, warm-up his dinner, take out the trash for the night, and put away the dishes on the dry-rack. Although he's working later at his job than I am, I usually don’t sit down until 8 PM. I get home at around 6 PM, tidy up our mess from rushing around in the morning, make Mr. P and me lunch for the next day, prep dinner, cook, clean up the mess from cooking, and then clean or vacuum something. Yes, like I said I’m legit turning into Monica….

Mr. P is always super appreciative. And, we’ve established which tasks are his and which are mine. I tend to avoid the gross-out chores. He always takes out the trash, the recyclables, cleans the toilet, etc. Every now and then Mr. P will do the dishes or make one of his dishes like garlic sautéed string beans or a pot of meatballs. Right now he doesn’t have a lot of time for all that, but it wasn’t always this way.

We’ve already gone through three different stages of work/life balance. There was our first few months living together where Mr. P and I had a pretty similar schedule. We’d take the train to and from work together, and cook/clean together. We were probably together TOO MUCH during that time. Then there were the months of Mr. P’s unemployment when he was home A LOT more and was the house-boyfriend (note to all, guys do not deal with unemployment well- I’m pretty sure he went insane). There was also the period of my unemployment when I think I did less chores than I do now (I swear unemployment makes you not give an ish about anything but getting a job). And, then there was the time Mr. P would often get stuck on the night shift leaving him more time to do things around the apartment in the daytime. It’s been a constant switch and change-up.

What is my point in all this? Not sure, but living together pre-marriage doesn’t work for everyone whether it's personal, religious, or logistical reasons. But, in our case it's what worked and made the most sense. I’m glad we can start our first year of marriage without having to figure out all the little things. It might take away “the fun” of everything as that chick said years ago, but last time I checked marriage wasn’t a game that is fun vs. not fun. And figuring out that junk isn't exactly "fun."

Did you decide to live with your significant other before marriage? Do you have a "traditional role" in your relationship?

1 comment:

  1. We also lived together for five years before marriage and I 100% agree with you (and boo to that jerk who decided to interject her completely unasked for opinion- I absolutely hate it when people try to press their beliefs on me), we had too much not fun stuff to figure out. I mean... in order to enjoy marriage, it would be nice to not have to get into fights about who has to do the laundry versus who has to fold it versus who has to put it away! We also have weird roles; he actually enjoys doing dishes and I absolutely hate it, so he does all the dishes and I do all the laundry. Funnily enough though, we are very traditional (like you guys) in that he's the bread winner and at work longer than me so I try to tidy the house and I do all the cooking. I couldn't agree with you more, it's wonderful getting to just enjoy being married without having to figure out who's doing what!