Sometimes, as part of a couple, we try to do everything in the relationship because we want to feel better about ourselves. We play the martyr because we want to be thanked or be the cool parent. It’s not surprising that it would lead to competition with your partner or spouse or you would complain that he or she is not doing anything. When you feel like what they do is not enough, no matter what they do or how they show up, it’s never going to be enough. You’re never going to come from a place of satisfaction and you’ll be giving off this negative energy into your relationship which your partner is going to feed off of, which eventually affects your relationships. Don’t be a martyr. Learn how you can share those day to day responsibilities with your spouse because you really don’t have to do it all.
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Don’t Be A Martyr! Share Your Day To Day Responsibilities With Your Spouse
We are talking about how to manage the day-to-day responsibilities in the house. As an old recovered martyr, I would try to do everything in the house because I wanted to feel I was better. There was almost this competition between my husband and me. I would buy the kids lots of toys. I wanted to be the cool parent. When I would take them, it was like they were thanking me and not us. I want to do this whole like, “I wanted to feel better. I wanted to feel like the cool parent.” Even as a couple, I would do everything. I would play the martyr that he doesn’t do anything. I got to do everything when I’m the one who decided that I got to do everything. I’m going to wash the dishes. I’m going to do the laundry. I’m going to clean the house. I’m going to do everything and then I would bitch and complain because he wasn’t doing anything.
I was feeding into that behavior for her. I was a perfect match for her because what I was doing was, “Do you want to do that? Is it easier for you to do that?” She would do it or I wouldn’t say anything. I noticed that she would do that. I’m like, “She has taken care of it. She’s handling it so I don’t need to do it.” For me, it would be more of a trying not to shake the relationship, not buck the system and making sure that she’s happy no matter what. What I was doing is not creating any ripples in the water wasn’t working out for me because I was playing it too safe in the relationship, being afraid of losing it. Everything was being dumped on her. She was responsible for everything in the relationship.
On top of that, when he did offer help to me, he didn’t do it right. He didn’t do it enough. He didn’t fold the clothes right. He didn’t do this enough. I would play the victim martyr of, “I have the world on my shoulders. I’ve got to do it all. If I don’t do it myself, it’s not going to be done right.” Why do I care how the clothes are folded as long as they’re done? Thank God we got out of that and all of those roles and I don’t care about competing with him. I want him as my equal teammate. That was a huge shift in our relationship as well.
Did you say that was the shift from being an unconscious couple to now being a conscious, loving and more aware couple?
It didn’t say that but thank you for saying it.When only one person is trying to do it all, it can feel very overwhelming and that's how resentment can build up in a relationship. Click To Tweet
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There is a transformational process. There is stuff that we did to shift out of that drama, out of those roles, out of being a martyr, out of playing the victim. I was an angry victim. I was angry because, no matter what I did, I felt like I wasn’t getting it back in return. Even if I did ask for help, no matter how he did it, it wasn’t enough. When you’re in lack of any kind, when you’re feeling like what he does or what she does isn’t enough no matter how much she makes or he makes or how they show up or what they do, it’s never going to be enough. You’re never coming from a place of satisfaction. You’re always going to be giving off this negative energy into your relationship. Your partner is going to feed off of that. It’s going to affect their relationship like cancer.
Lack of limitations is like cancer in a relationship. For us, it was important to be able to ask for help and receive that help. “Do you mind throwing in a load of laundry? That would help me out.” It’s being able to say, “I don’t have to do it all.” When you’re a couple and you live in a house, whether it’s just the two of you or you have an animal or kids, there are daily responsibilities. Who’s going to take out the garbage? Who’s going to do the laundry? Who’s going to do the dishes? Who’s going to do the cooking? Who’s going to pay the bills? The garage door has to be fixed or if you want to get the house painted. Who’s going to make the bed? Who’s going to clean the house? Who’s going to vacuum? It’s a lot being a human being and functioning and running a house. That’s why when one person is trying to do it all, it feels or perceives that they’re doing at all, it can feel very overwhelming. That’s how resentment can be built up in a relationship. It’s important to have these conscious conversations to sit down and say, “I’m tired of doing the laundry. I’ve been doing it for the last twelve years.”
“I don’t like doing it.”
“I used to not mind doing it. Now, I do not like it.” We talked about in the last episode how we have a family contract with our kids. That’s one of the things that I give a lot of points for. The boys can start the laundry, put the laundry in from the wash into the dryer and put these clothes in from the dryer into the basket. Sometimes they even fold it. I give them points all along the way to help with that whole entire laundry process. I’m like, “I feel free.” I feel like I have the help that I need. Sometimes I’ll ask Frederic, “Do you mind folding those clothes? I’ve got a load in the washing machine. Can you put it in the dryer?”
We decided what we take care of. We’re having a conscious conversation so that it doesn’t all feel like it’s on him or on me. Like I mentioned in another episode, my friend Leslie and Brad, have very traditional roles in their families. She didn’t work. She took care of the kids. She stayed at home with the kids. She did everything in the house. She paid the bills, cook the meals, clean the house and get the kids ready for school. She did all of that stuff and he was the breadwinner. He is the one who went to work and made the money. That worked for their relationship. The rules were very clear. That’s something that was communicated early on and something that they stuck with.
If something used to work and you find yourself transitioning where it doesn’t work for you anymore, have the conversation. One-person and two-people weren’t so bad with laundry. Now, there are four-people laundry, it feels like I could be doing laundry every day. It feels overwhelming. By asking my kids help and putting that into the contract and asking Frederic for his help, I don’t feel as overwhelmed anymore. I feel like I’m getting a break every once in a while to be able to do the laundry with him taking care of the cooking or me cooking a meal every once in a while. We’re helping each other out for the benefit that we are a team. We are running this household, the kids and everything in our lives as two individuals of people. He’s still Frederic. I’m Christy. There’s this third entity called a relationship and we’re a team. We’re on the same page. We’re out and for each other.
We had that discussion before we decided, “I’m going to do the majority of the cooking.” We had to talk about what we wanted, how we saw the food aspect of our family. For me and for her, it’s very important to have healthy food. It was easier for me because I don’t mind preparing all the right food, the vegetables and the proper protein. I like cooking in the space of the kitchen. I prefer also cooking with her because it’s fun. I get to spend some time with her. Whatever time I spend with her, my soul feels happy.
I’m in the kitchen and cooking for my family. I’m also very proud of knowing that I provide this wonderful food for my family. That makes me feel good. I’m also giving an example to my children of how to eat properly, how to stay healthy in a way that nutrition also helps out. It gives you the energy that you need. It feeds your body and mind. We decided that I was going to do the cooking. I’m fine with that, making sure that we are doing the cooking. I’m doing the cooking for the family. That was one of my preferences. It works out for us. For other couples, it might be two people who are working together or separately. They’re coming back together after their work. It’s not that easy to figure out who’s going to be cooking.
It reminds me of the movie from the ‘80s, About Last Night, with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore. Two nights a week, he cooks. Two nights a week, she cooks and then there’s a sandwich night.Feed your relationship. Click To Tweet
For someone who is busy or for a couple that is very much busy in their work lives and all that, something else might work for them. They might order food instead of cooking the food.
They might go out.
For us, it’s the same thing. Some people want to do one-day-a-week cleaning. We all help out and clean. For us, we’d rather hire help so that someone can come in and clean the house thoroughly and we don’t need to do other than the small things like the kitchen counters once in a while, small things that need cleaning here and there.
I would rather have someone clean who I can pay because of those three and a half hours that someone cleaning my house during the week, I could be spending time with my kids. I could be spending time with my husband. I could be working and earning more money. For me, it’s what do I want to form out to other people and even higher? I know several people who have assistance even though they don’t have a business. They hire people to go and buy groceries. They do the laundry and house cleaning. The things that will help you that if you’re paying someone $20 an hour and if you work with clients and you’re making $150 to $500 an hour, it makes more sense for someone else to do these errands for you or you get to work or spend that quality time with your family. It’s having these discussions of looking at, number one, is there a contrast in your family? Are there things that you’re feeling resentful because you’re doing too much or your partner may feel resentful? Talk about those things. Have a very calm and non-emotional conversation right out in black and white. What are all the things that we need to take care of in our house? It’s the laundry, garbage, food, grocery shopping or whatever it is.
It’s also the bills. Who’s paying what bills? Sometimes it’s like, “You’re paying the electricity. You’re paying the taxes.” How do we put this together so that it’s easier for both of us? That was one part of both of us. How do we make it easy so that it’s in one account and it passes through in that account and we make sure that there’s enough money for all the bills to pass there? That also is a big point. How do we make sure all the bills are paid properly?
That’s a whole other discussion about money. Do we have one account and we both put money in or one of us who is responsible for the money puts it in and that way, it’s automatically generated? These are things that are understanding and having that conscious conversation with your couple can make life so much easier. I was telling Alex, “Let’s do things so that everything is easy in the house. It’s feng shui.” “What’s feng shui mom?” It’s like, “Things flow.” It’s not leaving your shoes right in the middle of the doorway but pushing them to the side so that it’s easy for the flow of energy. It’s easy for when we’re about to go out, we don’t have to step or trip over shoes.
It’s the same thing. What is going to make it easier and more flowing as a couple? Talk about it. Write out the different things. If it’s the bills, write out all the different bills that are the things that need to be paid every single month and put it into one account. That’s where the money comes out of. It’s automatic. There are things that you can do to make it easier so that when you’re taking care of these things, you don’t have any animosity and resentment. You get to spend more time in your couple and in your life, enjoying your life. These are things that we have to do, but they become so secondary. They don’t become these big huge things so that you can be with your partner.
They don’t become a source of frustration and end up into a conflict. As soon as you realize that there’s a frustration inside, maybe that’s the time to start talking instead of not saying anything and ending up being, all of a sudden, mad about a situation and dumping it on to your partner. As a couple, you’re in it as a team. You’re in it for the love and the experience of doing things together. That’s what we wanted to have in our couple is communication. Go ahead and communicate your frustration. It’s fine to say, “I’m a little bit frustrated with trying to catch up with this or trying to do every day the dishwashing or the laundry.” It’s so frustrating to me. As a loving partner, I listen to my partner when she tells me that she’s frustrated about something going on. For me it’s, “What can I do to make it better for her because I love her so much? I want our couple to be in a state of not having so much tension but stay in a loving state together. Because I love her, I want to do that for her.”
You’re such a generous man. Feed your relationship. There are always moments like that one. We’re in the middle of doing a show. I felt my heart open with such gratitude for this man who I get to share my life with. I feel the way he loves me, looks at me and wants to be my partner in this beautiful life together. I’m very grateful for you.
Feed your relationship with good juju. When you take care of all the other human stuff, you get more of this spiritual connection and beautiful love connection.
It’s a healthy, connected couple. That’s what it is. Don’t forget to come and see us at ConnectedCoupling.com.
Next time, we’re going to be talking about the dramas in the family and different roles that we play so we can get clear on this so you’ll know when you’re in a drama or out of a drama and how the roles feed into that. We look forward to talking with you soon.