As part of his book, The Guinea Pig Diaries, author A.J. Jacobs did everything his wife told him to. "She will be boss. I will be her devoted servant. It will be a month of foot massages and talking about feelings and scrubbing dishes and watching Kate Hudson movies (well, if Julie actually liked Kate Hudson movies). It could be revelatory. It'll let me explore the tricky power dynamics of the modern American marriage. It'll allow me to study the Mars/Venus, Everybody Loves Raymond clichés about gender battles and figure out which are true and which are hogwash."
When your spouse comes home from work and tells you his boss yelled at him in front of three colleagues, do you one-up him with tales of the client who reamed you out in a meeting—and later spilled his coffee on your shirt? If this sounds familiar you may be getting sucked into "misery poker." In a new relationship-focused Wall Street Journal column called Bonds, author Elizabeth Bernstein explores the phenomenon of funereal one-upmanship: trying to outdo each other with tales of woe.
According to Simon Oaks, author of Will Marry for Food, Sex and Laundry, men aren't wired for certain chores. He cites the (made-up) proverb: "Give a man a clean kitchen and he'll make a mess of the place after one meal. Teach a man to clean a kitchen and you'll probably have to clean up after him anyway." So how do you handle housework when one of you is a repeat pleaning offender? Oaks devotes a whole chapter of his book to this; here are a few highlights.
Many a busy woman with a jam-packed schedule has daydreamed about having a nice, cozy man-wife, with bulging biceps, at home. After all, who wouldn't want to come home to a home-cooked meal hot off the over, a neatly made bed and a stack of freshly scented laundry....that's already been pristinely ironed and folded. In Annie Sanders' new book, Busy Woman Seeks Wife, one woman gets just this.
Poll: What Do You And Your Guy Fight About Most?: Housework. One of us never does any! Money. Our views on spending and saving are not perfectly synced. Sex. We have different personalities and needs in the bedroom. Scheduling. We have different definitions of what it means to spend quality time together. All of the above—we fight about everything! None of the above. To tell you the truth, we really don't fight that much.
If your husband wants to have it, the quickest route to the bedroom is by way of a vacuum, a duster, and possibly a mop. I know, not very romantic and probably not your strong suit, but the small gesture of cleaning or picking up a bit around the house can lift a mother’s spirits—and lighten the stress of the impending household-chore doom. So guys, if you want to get it on, but your new-mom permanent-scowl wife just doesn’t seem up for it, clean. And make no mention of sex. Just clean. Without being asked. We guarantee you’ll be getting some by the time baby’s in bed.
The results of a 40-year-long study on housework were recently released from the University of Michigan. Can you guess who does more? No big surprise here: Women do, in fact, know the broom, mop, and feather duster more intimately than their husbands, but the clincher is post-nuptials.
Yes, you read that correctly. American men today are indeed taking a more active role in household chores, especially when both members of the house work full-time. The report from the Council on Contemporary Families, a national network of familial experts and researchers, states: "Men share more family work if their female partners are employed more hours, earn more money, and have spent more years in education." Not surprisingly, the report references a “general association between sharing housework and healthier marriages.” The more equal the division of labor, the less likely a couple is to divorce.
Helen Andelin wrote a book about being a better wife called Fascinating Womanhood decades ago and now she teaches a web course about it. Our writer was skeptical, but she gave it a try. She was one of the only women in the class that was not a stay-at-home wife and someone of the lessons seemed beneath her. But she did need someone to talk to and was overwhelmed with housework. So, she listened intently to her classmates and learned that having an open mind and taking a new approach (for her) was helpful. And being a little more feminine was pretty fun. Maybe the 1950s housewife wasn't so hopelessly clueless after all.
Not everyone needs a Valentine. In fact, in a lot of ways you're better off without one. Did you know that single women: do less housework, earn more money, gain less weight, and orgasm more often from masturbating than their married friends? On top of that, they don't have to pretend to like gifts and can find Mr. Right any time they want...
For the best advice on sex, love, dating and relationships we ask two experts with personal experience. Cathi Hanauer is the author, most recently, of Sweet Ruin, a novel about love, marriage, and adultery. Daniel Jones is the editor of both the "Modern Love" column for The New York Times, and Modern Love, an anthology derived from the column. They've been married for 15 years, and together they provide a his and hers take on relationship questions. This round: men and multitasking. Question: My husband and I both juggle full-time jobs with caring for our toddler, but lately I’ve been frustrated by his inability to multitask. In the morning, I often do laundry and prepare our meals—but by the time I’m ready for work, he’s still in his pajamas! How can I get him to pick up the pace? –Laura, 36