“Imagine,” he dreamily whispers, “we could marry, set up our own home, raise a family, and grow old together.” Such romance! Such passion! What more could a girl ask for? This one’s a keeper.
Unfortunately, he continues, “I would even be willing to help around the house — you know, the dishes, cleaning, laundry — that kind of thing.”
Sadness fills those soft blue eyes. You ask him to take you home. After all, who would stand for any guy that will look into your eyes and use such a horrible four-letter word.
Did you catch the four-letter word? If not, let me assist you. The four-letter word is “help.” Anytime a guy tells you he’s willing to help, wisdom demands you get out of the relationship before it’s too late. Why? Because the word help communicates an assumption that more often than not causes anger, frustration, and sadness over time for untold numbers of women.
When a guy uses the word “help,” he is making the assumption that the responsibility for care of the home rests squarely on the shoulders of the female. Thus, when he (no matter how kindly) expresses his willingness to help, he is saying, in effect, “The job of housework is basically yours, but occasionally I’ll be a nice guy and help.”
There are many cultural influences upon both men and women which contribute to both genders mistakenly assuming this expectation. Even in our changing times, the care of the home is most often viewed as a reflection upon the wife, not the husband. When the mother-in-law drops by for a surprise visit, if the home is a mess, it’s the wife, not the husband who catches the critical eye.
For this reason, many wives are working seemingly endless hours attempting to be the best in two worlds — at work and at home. This interprets into a full three months’ of eight-hour days each year working in the home above and beyond her husband. It’s not unlike working a second shift each and every day.
For a woman, assuming responsibility for the home appears to be natural. But, it’s not. It is learned and it is learned early. Even in contemporary two-career professional homes, daughters do a full eight hours more work in the home each week than sons, thereby instilling this value of female responsibility for the home before most children are consciously aware of the conditioning taking place.
So girlfriends and wives, what should you be listening for as he gazes dreamily into your eyes? Something akin to “I’m willing to do my fair share.” Such a statement reflects an egalitarian relationship, one that is sure to bring years of peace and happiness.