Chores, Resentment, and Being a Happy Wife
First there was the list – not on the fun notepad that my mom bought me from T.J. Maxx – but a list I was constructing on my mental wall. Instead of To Do it was in bold across the top I WISH HE WOULD DO.
Like go to the dump with some scrap wood.
And weed-eat beside the storage building.
And hang up the bicycles.
And more. Like 17 things more.
Then there was the fact that he had NOT done all of them, and couldn’t he see that those things needed done? And how much their undoneness was making me crazy?
Next came resentment, which showed itself in the form of biting questions I would never, ever say out loud. Really, is it so hard for you to do those little things? Are you so blind? Do you not care enough about me to get this stuff done?
Resentment. It feels a lot like anger except quietly too polite to voice itself.
Resentment. It coerces a woman to ignore anything good, any contribution made, any other worthy endeavors by the man. See only what he hasn’t accomplished, it says.
In the middle of my broiling thoughts came a book, Telling Yourself the Truth, by Backus and Chapian. On the bottom of one page was a story about a woman who had been resentful toward her husband. The authors, who are professionals in the mental health field, helped this woman overcome that resentment.
It was on those pages that I learned to tell myself the truth in my own situation.
Truth: My husband has not done the chores I think he should do. I don’t know when or if he will do them.
Truth: When I am resentful, it is by my own choice. He did not ask me to be resentful, and he is not trying to make me resentful by not completing said chores.
Truth: He is miserable and feels like a failure when I am resentful, because what I don’t say with my mouth I say a-plenty with body language.
Truth: I can choose not to be resentful by thinking better thoughts.
Truth: I am actually perfectly capable of doing most of the chores on the list.
Truth: I made the list. I can change the list. There is not a law that the chores have to be his, except the law that I wrote myself.
So, I mentally erased a chunk of those chores off of his list and transferred them to mine.
I spent a bit of time each day tackling some of the work. I was surprised that, with a little determination, I was able to do most of my regular chores and get some of those other tasks scratched off the list as well.
As I worked, I lectured myself that I not only had the ability to do the tasks but the ability to do them with a happy heart.
At some point, in the middle of working, I remembered Eve.
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18 NASB)
(Did God know women would have children to care for and a household to run when he said that?)
For so many years I had been thinking, He should be helping me! He should be helping me! He should be helping me!
But that’s not what God had in mind when he created me. So I changed my mantra to, What could I do to help him? What could I do to help him? What could I do to help him?
I started to have a happy, feel-like-whistling attitude while I worked. My husband got out there not long after I did and knocked out a big chunk of chores, but I was a more cheerful wife long before he got there.
I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get to this stuff, he said.
It’s okay, I said. And my body language agreed, It really is okay.
Let me leave you with this thought regarding undone chores and resentment, and you see if it doesn’t change things a whole lot at your house like it has at mine.
Truth: It is a woman’s God-given job to aid her husband.
A wonderfully heroic task when done with pleasure, eh?
Christy Fitzwater is a writer and pastor’s wife in Kalispell, Montana. She has been married 23 years and has two kids, one out of the nest and one with his toes on the edge of it. Christy’s desire is to help women know and understand God, even in the middle of undone chores. Read her devotional blog at http://www.christyfitzwater.com.