When I got married, I had a lot of grand ideas in my head of what married life should be like. I thought that our marriage would be 100% fair, completely diplomatic, and that all household duties would be split 50/50. I thought my husband would be constantly self motivated, perpetually thoughtful, and always on my same wavelength. There would be beauty and harmony in my home. Never in a million years would I become that shrewish fishwife shrieking from the doorway because my husband had spent the night carousing with the boys in avoidance of his husbandly duties.
A mere month after we said “I do,” reality set in.
That perfect democracy fell apart the second I remembered that my husband is a pretty stubborn guy. If he doesn’t want to do something, he’s not going to do it and screw you for making him repeat himself. I would demand that he help me with the housework; he’d sit on the couch like a spoiled child and ignore me. I would refuse to go shopping or make dinner in protest; he’d shrug his shoulders and order a pizza. If I asked him to drop something off at the post office for me, he would forget. But instead of just breaking down and doing it myself, I’d remind him. And remind him. And remind him again.
There was a phrase for what I’d become: A fishwife.
Of course, I blamed him. I wasn’t asking for so much. I just wanted to take turns cleaning the toilet. Wasn’t marriage supposed to be a partnership? Why wouldn’t he help me? Why didn’t he care about the things I cared about? Why wouldn’t he just bend to my will? Oftentimes, I would dramatically press the back of my hand against my forehead and tearfully exclaim, “You’re making me into such a nag!”
I was such a bloody martyr. The fights and the complaining and the nagging and the hurt feelings went on for quite some time.
Then one day, I was taking care of a certain little girl. I took her to the park where another group of little girls were playing dolls. Now said little girl did not have a doll to join in, but she just assumed that one of the other girls would share a doll with her. She was in for a big surprise when all the other little girls refused. The little girl begged. The little girl pleaded. The little girl stomped her feet and with a shrill voice demanded that they be nice to her. She lectured them about politeness and sharing and outright tried to bully her way into that playgroup. Still, the little girls clutched their dolls to their breasts and refused her access to them. Finally, with tears of frustration in her eyes, she ran over to me and said, “V! Make those girls share with me!”
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