Any wife or mother who finds herself in a constant struggle for help around the house might stop dead in her tracks upon hearing this husband’s reason for not lending a hand when his wife needs it.
As the story goes, one day, this husband was enjoying coffee with a friend at his house when he left the table to go wash the dishes in the kitchen.
Perplexed, the friend looked at him as he rose from his seat. His friend stated:
“I’m glad you help your wife, I do not help because when I do, my wife does not praise me.”
This was just the beginning of a conversation that led to the husband’s epiphany about why he does not — and should not — help his wife around the house.
In an article on Smag31, the author retells the conversation between the husband and his friend as he got up from the table to do the dishes:
At some point in the conversation, I said, “I’m going to wash the dishes and I’ll be right back.”
He looked at me as if I had told him I was going to build a space rocket.
Then he said to me with admiration but a little perplexed: “I’m glad you help your wife, I do not help because when I do, my wife does not praise me. Last week I washed the floor and no thanks.”
The husband then sat back down at the table to explain that by doing the dishes in the kitchen, he was not actually “helping” his wife:
Actually, my wife does not need help, she needs a partner. […] but it is not a “help” to do household chores.
He continued that through all the chores he had around the home, none of them were meant to “help” his wife; he could fairly assume the responsibilities of each task because he needed the job to get done as well. As he explained:
I do not help my wife clean the house because I live here too and I need to clean it too.
I do not help my wife to cook because I also want to eat and I need to cook too.
I do not help my wife wash the dishes after eating because I also use those dishes.
I do not help my wife with her children because they are also my children and my job is to be a father.
I do not help my wife to wash, spread or fold clothes, because the clothes are also mine and my children[‘s].
The husband then turned to his friend and asked him when was the last time he praised his wife for all of her hard work around the home? Not just any old “thank you,” a true exclamation of appreciation and gratitude — the same kind of “thanks” he had wanted for himself when he washed the floors.
The husband asked his friend:
Does that seem absurd to you?
Then praise her as you wanted to be praised, in the same way, with the same intensity. Give her a hand, behave like a true companion, not as a guest who only comes to eat, sleep, bathe and satisfy needs …
For this husband, taking charge of the household duties isn’t about giving his wife “help,” it’s his way of showing her he’s an equal in their marriage.