Division of Labor

Posted on November 10, 2008. Filed under: emotional |


In our relationship, I’m the planner and Mr. Cheese is the doer.  I have hundreds (thousands?) of web and magazine clippings of furniture, colors, and ideas that we might use as we get our house ready.  He has a to-do list a mile long.  I often start conversations with, “Honey, come look at this picture of a {insert virtually anything here} that I love!”  He starts them with, “Babe, I’m about to rip out the bathroom floor.  What do you think?”

I had this idea that wedding planning would be a collaborative process where we’d lay in bed on Sunday mornings with our cup of coffee (yes, we share one cup *pukealittlebitinyourmouthatthesweetness* but we are the Cheese’s after all) dreaming of the day and brainstorming ideas together.  “What if we just had our fave Mexican food catered?  You know, casual and like a normal party except with our favorite foods and we’d be all dressed up?”  “Oh, yea, and then we could have Chick-Fil-A on the side!  Or an ice cream bar!” “Oooh, exactly!  Here, let me show you a picture….”

In real life, I do have those conversations (with myself), then later trip over my tongue when I try to summarize them for him, at which point he replies with some form of, “Sure, honey, whatever you’d like” and I growl my frustration.  So much for my expectations.

On the other hand, we are collaborating, just not in the way I’d imagined.  While I dream up fabulous (and, um, crazy) ideas, he and his chainsaw are clearing our property of undergrowth and fallen trees so that we can make it to our ceremony location without broken bones.  While I’m waffling on whether or not waffle fries* will still be yummy a couple of hours after we pick them up, he’s making plans to rip out ugly bathroom fixtures and rip up three (three!) layers of stick-on linoleum tiles.  While it’s not my dream collaboration, at least we’re getting things done.  If we did it my way, we’d have a thousand ideas and not much accomplished.

But I still get grumpy that our wedding discussions are more “so what do you want me to do next” and less “that’s exactly the type of day we’d envisioned!”  I still feel like I’m making decisions alone rather than choosing them together.  I’m still annoyed that he doesn’t really care about the details as long as I’m happy.  I read wedding blogs that say things like, “we knew from the beginning that we wanted our wedding to be a reflection of us as a couple, from the invites to the favors,” and I wonder if the writer is using the royal “we” out of politeness or if the couple really had a discussion that culminated in that statement.

I read somewhere that getting married as a rite of passage holds more significance for women than for men; a similarly significant rite of passage for men is the birth of their first child**.  I remind myself of this when I’m feeling poopy about it all.  I remind myself that he’s a different person with different interests than I am.  I remind myself that if we were more similar, nothing would ever get done.  Then I drink wine.  Guess what helps the most?!?***

I suppose I should just accept that the details will be decided by me with my trusty and delightfully opinionated girls by my side, and that my favorite guy will be there to make sure that the big stuff gets done.  I suppose that I should be content (nee, thrilled) with having my dream collaborations with you guys and my mom (seriously, will waffle fries be edible after a few hours?) and leave only the big relevant questions to my future husband and I (chocolate or coconut cake, new or old James Bond look for the men?).  I’m trying.  Really.   But I struggle to involve my “people” who live across the country and have been through this with me once, and I can’t shake the feeling that it should be he and I, not me and others, making the calls on color palettes.  {Him: “Color palettes?  Now we have to MATCH?”}

Do you agree?  Have you discovered that wedding planning was different than you expected?  Be honest — are you doing most of the researching and choosing (and maybe even some of the deciding) on your own?  Are you okay with that?

*Yes, that was intended to be cheesy.

**Maybe in this book?  I can’t find my copy under the rubble that’s accumulated from ripping apart our main bathroom, sorry.

***I’m mostly kidding.  Please don’t think I’m advocating booze-as-stress-reduction… for you, anyway.


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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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