Men and women are of equal value. Nevertheless, each gender has unique talents. Men are particularly good at certain tasks while women are good at others. Each person — regardless of gender — can choose his or her tasks, responsibilities or roles. However, if the choice is not within his or her area of expertise, success will require extra effort and perhaps be less rewarding.
When deciding what responsibilities, roles and tasks you and your partner will perform for the well-being of your family, consider the innate emotional and psychological differences between you and your partner.
Gender differences are important to take into account when deciding who does what.
As well, each of you have unique talents and experiences that make you the natural choice, specialist, to do certain responsibilities, roles and tasks for the family.
For example, if you are a man and your partner gives birth, typically she will have strong instincts to nurture the newborn. If she is pressured to return to work immediately while you stay home and care for the infant (or someone is hired to do so), she will probably be resentful and perhaps even become depressed. Wisely you should encourage your partner to stay home and care for your young children if she so desires. If she can’t stay home and needs to leave the childcare with someone else, be sensitive and understanding of her feelings.
If you are a woman, understand that men also have their strong instincts. For example, if your husband has built a successful business that requires some evening work, it will be difficult for him always to come home early to help with household chores. Perhaps hiring a housekeeper to assist with chores would solve the need for an occasional extra set of hands. Know that your husband has strong instincts to achieve and provide for his family. Support him in his work and both of you will be happy.
Other areas of family life have nothing to do with gender. For example, if you have an inborn talent for planning, then you would be the perfect person to organize trips and summer holidays. If your partner has more aptitude and experience in finances, then he or she is a natural to take responsibility in this area.
Be sensitive to your partner’s natural feelings and tendencies. Don’t fight human nature. Rather, use it to your advantage. Most importantly, as a couple-team, divide the work in a way that builds and maintains a healthy and happy family.
Here are the specialized roles exercise. Write answers to the following questions.
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1. What specialized roles do you currently have in your marriage. List them along with who does what responsibility, role and task.
2. Going back to the above exercise, underline those items that have been mutually agreed to as specialized roles. The ones that are not underlined are the roles you each took without any discussion.
3. List any responsibilities or tasks that need to be done that you feel are best done as a specialized role but have not yet been assigned.
4. List any responsibilities or tasks that are currently specialized roles that you feel should be reassigned or shared.
5. What would you suggest is a good way to approach your partner to make any changes to the agreed on responsibilities, roles and tasks plan.
6. Check to see if you agree how each of you answered question number "2." If you don't agree, see if you can come up with a plan you both agree with.
7. Looking over the answers to questions "3" and "4," discuss each item with your partner and come up will an agreed plan (specialize or not specialized) on how to get the job done. Write them them down below.
The agreed on responsibilities, roles and tasksplan should be adjusted with the passage of time. Be open to making changes even after you have already agree on the plan. Situations and feelings change. Be sensitive to this fact of life.