Monday, December 6, 2010

Relationship and Responsibilities

Back to square one?

I had an interesting discussion with my lecturer (she was in town for a course) and a friend before I came back; a discussion full of fascinating insights into relationship issues, marriage and men. Yes, all of that.. and they all point at the same direction: responsibilities

Any relationship comes with responsibilities. We can't simply run away from it, thus, knowing our responsibilities can help us develop respectful, fair and healthy relationships; and good communication and compromise are the key to achieving that. Do you agree? I do.

My single friend stated that the reason she's not married yet is not because she's too fussy (but then again, of course we need to be fussy coz this is marriage we're talking about!). It's actually because it's really hard for her to find a potential suitor as it seems like guys who are committed to a marriage are becoming scarce. Mana taknya, ramai yang lebih suka berpoya-poya, hidup single or put their own careers first. We couldn't agree more. 

In fact, the three of us believed that men nowadays are less responsible than they used to be 20 - 30 years ago. Since our values and attitudes are often influenced by our upbringing, it is fair to say that they now are too 'pampered' by their parents. Ini tak tahu buat, itu tak tahu buat. I mean, how many times do we see boys help their parents do things around the house, let's say cleaning the drain, bertukang, menebas rumput, washing the car etc. etc.? Most of the time, we hear about boys and sports, boys and games, boys and cars, and the list goes on. Itu belum campur kaum ibu/perempuan yang buat semuanya untuk laki, anak-anak atau adik beradik, for instance, cooking, preparing the table for each meal, cleaning the dishes, washing clothes, making the bed and so on. See? Isn't this a form of gender bias? Whether we realise it or not, parents are the ones who mould the children, or in this case, boys, into less responsible/irresponsible grown-ups! I think we need to start giving children chores at an early age. This should give them a taste of responsibility. I mean, if they can't even wash their own plates after each meal, how can they make a complex thing like marriage work?? 

OK, that's a slight exaggeration but you get my point, right? I'm sure women in the olden days will not be happy to hear this ("bini apa ni tak pandai jaga rumahtangga blah blah blah.."), but the truth is, the days where most men were the sole breadwinners of the family and the female were mere housewives is hardly relevant now. When both work, the issues of sharing responsibilities and the fairness of workload will arise, whether we like it or not. Often, women will end up doing everything, from working to doing never-ending housework, and managing husband AND children. Then it hits us. When was the last time he did the laundry, cleaned the toilet or swept the porch? Padahal, sama-sama penat.. Siapa tak stress weiii?? Thus, finding the balance between the four is extremely essential.

Senang je cakap.. how do we do it? To bring about change, I believe partners should take time to talk things out. Open up and tell your spouse about it. Never assume that they know or should know how or what you're thinking or feeling. As marriage is all about sharing and supporting each other, discuss about sharing roles and responsibilities that work for both. For instance, if the wife cooks, ask the other half to clear the table or take the trash out. If the wife shops for groceries, why not ask your husband to settle the utility bills? Compromise. Tolak ansur. After all, it takes two to tango! I mean, kawen tau, buat anak tau, but when it comes to housework, lepas tangan. Whaddaa? Ladies, don't keep doing everything on your own and bottle it up inside you, nanti makan diri.. Stop giving excuses on their behalf. It is worth being clear about them, but I think it's wise to bear in mind that he's still your husband, so respect him and don't order him around. Let him be the man of the house. Ego is men's best friend; we have to understand and stroke it the right way.  

"Abang nampak kacak hari ini.. kalau abang tolong sayang kemaskan majalah tu lagiii kacak!" ;)

Second, again I'd like to stress on sharing, but this time, sharing knowledge. Somehow deep inside, I believe men wanna help around the house, but too bad, they don't know how! Many times, husbands don't realize we need help, unless we ask. Ladies, please.. don't expect our husbands to know everything.. for all we know they might be a complete novice when it comes to housework and chores, or even marriage! They might even think we don't trust them enough to do it! I think it's going to be a lot more fruitful if we help, encourage and guide them, instead of niggling about their laziness or incompetency in managing the house/kids. Believe in them, get them involved and make them feel good about it! For instance, teach them how to cook simple meals, bathe your baby, prepare their milk/food, change their diapers etc. etc. Bila diorang dah biasa, kita jugak yang senang, am I right? ;) I believe this will also bring you closer together especially after a few months or years of marriage. I mean, you both used to do things together when you're dating, why not do so now? 

"Pandai abang masak nasi goreng.. sedap.. lain kali boleh buat lagi." ;)

What we need or want may be different from what our partner needs or wants, but nobody's perfect. We all have our little faults and the sooner we realise this, the better. For me, it's the itsy-bitsy things like chores and housework that lead to bigger things in a relationship, y'know, day-to-day rows or possibly a divorce. It may not even be what we actually want but it happens in the real world. Face it, women in general are now more educated and avid supporters of equality; if we can do everything independently, even when we're already married, do you think we still need men in our lives (apart from companionship)? If that's the case, no wonder lah ramai perempuan sekarang kahwin lambat/tak kahwin...

Come on, men, show us that you're worth it!!

p/s: Thanks Dr. Z - the discussion was a real eye-opener!


isabelle said...

mrhubby pernah ckp kat i...
diorg yg tak kawin tu kena ingat, nabi dah ckp...x termasuk sbg umat dia.
woh..nahas tu. as simple as that.
so, kena timbang balik la..ada tak org tu pernah menjauhi calon yg mendekati, ada tak dia memilih sgt... etc.
but again, mmg we hv to hv thing communicated. i changed mrhubby from a typical man who never helped with hsechores to the man he is today.

Aida Ikmal said...

tul kan.. typical men mesti semua harap wife yang buat segala-galanya.. padahal perkahwinan itself is about sharing.. so jangan lah goyang kaki and hope everything will work out sendiri kan.. marriage is hard work tau..