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A publication on a ‘guide to marriage’ (I refuse to link to it) was shared with me recently and it was so painfully sexist and archaic based on the notion that women should only keep house and men should fix things and provide, my eyes rolled so far into the back of my head I could have re-enacted out a scene from The Exorcist.
Mr Nu Bride and I celebrated 12 years together last week and I thought it was high time I wrote more about life after marriage as we have always tried to base our union on an equal one. There are thousands of blogs across the globe dedicated to inspiring your wedding day choices and not an awful lot about carving out a marriage that works for you and getting used to your new roles. What I stumbled across that IS out there on the web is so patriarchal it’s hard to believe we’re in 2018. So to help me, because there’s two of us in this marriage from time-to-time, Mr Nu Bride will be joining me on the blog to add his two penneth about building a marriage and relationship that’s right for you and your beau.
Mr Nu Bride and I | Luisa Starling Weddings
I’ve published articles on relationships before – so I’m formalising these into a new section on the blog called “Ever After” (dive in here if you’ve missed previous posts!) and over the coming months I’ll be prioritising content in this area. Because let’s face it – we’re all winging it and could do with all the help we can get. Hurrah let’s go.
Today we’re talking about roles. What do roles in marriage look like to you?
Defining roles openly and speaking about them is key to managing expectation. Who does what in your relationship? Are the roles you’ve carved out something you’ve discussed, something you’ve naturally fallen into, or patterns of behaviour you are copying from your own upbringing?
Read on for top tips from Mr Nu Bride and I!
Who are you both?
Mr Nu Bride: Identify what type of person you are and what type of person you are involved with. How have you both been raised, are there any shared values? Do you want to carry those values on through to your own relationship or are there some you want to ditch?
Is one of you traditional in their thinking in terms of roles? e.g; That women have been raised to look after their spouse and “keep house” Is one of you progressive? If so recognise that early on and discuss expectations and values in advance, otherwise, there will be a clash and someone aint’ gonna be impressed.
What are your pre-conceived ideas?
Thanks to years of programming, bias and learned behaviours – like it or not, we ALL have pre-conceived assumptions about who should be doing what.
Who pays the bills, who does the school run, who cleans, who does the majority of the cooking, who puts the shelving up, who handles the finances and pays the bills. Who does the painting and decorating? Who does the interior design? Who sends the family birthday cards?
Think about these pre-conceived ideas…. are these true to how you want your marriage to look like, or are you perpetuating patriarchal stereotypes that don’t suit you both.
In terms of traditional gender and roles – there was a really thought-provoking article published last year where Michelle Obama with explored if parents, particularly mothers are perpetuating some of these stereotypes, by raising women to be independent and kind and in turn questioned if parents were so focused on raising boys to be “strong” that they are overprotecting boys and in turn enabling entitlement and limiting independence. It’s a sobering thought.
Either way, your relationship and your marriage is the perfect time to examine and explore.
“We have to raise our children to be people” – this statement pretty much sums up how we ditch the gender roles to me- more important now more than ever. We shouldn’t be put into boxes.
Play to your strengths
Mr Nu Bride: playing to each other’s strengths (in every sense of the word) is key. For example – if someone is naturally better at organising let them take the lead – it doesn’t mean they have to do everything exclusively on their own, but they can lead. Don’t mock the other, if they don’t work to your standards – use it as an opportunity to teach and involve them.
See who is good at doing what and play to your strengths.
Don’t make assumptions
Avery Klein via Unsplash
Mr Nu Bride: Just don’t make assumptions. It’s as simple as that really (Nu Bride: As you can see, Mr Nu Bride is a man of few words. lol!)
Subvert gender roles
Newsflash. Your anatomy doesn’t determine who does the cleaning and who puts the bins out.
Confront your own bias about gender and roles and subvert them. Share roles when you can or just switch things up a bit.
What are YOUR expectations?
Mr Nu Bride: You might be married. But you’re still independent people with your own thoughts, feelings, and ways of doing things.
What are your expectations? Are they a match or a mismatch with your partner. Communication is, key. If you haven’t communicated to each other what your respective expectations are, how can you find common ground?
Try things out
Nothing is set in stone.
I mean let’s face it, if you haven’t lived together or been married before, as much as we can seek advice from friends, read articles, books and gather tips from family about what makes a happy and successful marriage, we don’t fundamentally know what marriage feels to ‘us’ until we “try it on” for ourselves. No relationship and no marriage is the same. Nor should it be. Don’t be afraid to try things and if things don’t feel right communicate and re-evaluate. Simples!
Until next time! Mr and Mrs Nu Bride!