what stinks about being egalitarian


“Just because I can fix a flat tire doesn’t mean I want to.” This was the thought that was running through my head as I fumed about the flat front right tire on our black maxima. Β I didn’t know it was flat until I lent the car to my friend so she could go do some errands with her kids. Half-way through fastening their car seats into the car, she stopped and said “uh-oh, did you know your right front tire is flat?” We’ve taken the car to have the tires inspected, had one replaced and have learned that all three of the others have slow leaks. Nothing to do with the tires, everything to do with the rims apparently. Which are much more costly to replace than tires apparently. I thought that she was referring to the slightly soft tire that could use some air, but when I checked the other side of the car it was totally flat. like, looney tunes car flat.

I felt bad because I was trying to be helpful to a friend and it turned out to be far less helpful than what I hoped. Thankfully another friend helped her out. It was also infuriating because I was coming out of MOPS after a wonderful advent brunch, filled with prayer, a great time of fun and connecting and good food. Do you ever feel like when God does really wonderful stuff in your life, almost immediately afterwards there is something/spiritual forces to distract you from and rob you of the joy he’s given you? I started fuming about our car tires, getting irritated at Dave (even though he just brought the car in last month to solve the tire problem), blaming him for the flat tire (not my finest wife moment). Β When I got home and tried to sound calm in telling him about the tire this was how our conversation went.

me: “The car tire is flat again. We (i.e. you) need to take it in to get new tires.”
dave: “did you fill it up?”
me: “no- I just want you to take care of it.”
dave: “did you remember that we have the automatic air pump in the car to fill it up? It’s really bad to drive on a flat tire- you’ll wreck the rims that way. You’re a liberated, independent woman, you can do these things yourself!”
me: (annoyed and embarrassed I didn’t remember the car pump) “just because I can change a flat tire doesn’t mean that I want to change the tire.”

Then I think I went on some sort of rant about how I’d change the car tire, bake Christmas cookies, do our laundry for our trip to see the in-laws this weekend, do the dishes and look hot and be cheerful the whole time. (can you hear the sarcasm?)

So, the title of my blog- Dave and I generally share responsibilities equally. He happens to be a better cook than me so he does most of the cooking. I’ve caught up to him a bit, but he’s still better than me. I mow our lawn because he has terrible allergies, and I really like caring for our lawn since I was once a “turf-grass management” major at Michigan State U. (yes, you read that correctly).

But there are sometimes that even though I can do certain things, I don’t want to do them. I don’t like to work on our car. I don’t like to shovel snow. I don’t like to change light bulbs. I don’t like setting traps to catch mice. I can do all of these things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I want to do them. I don’t know if this sets me back as a believer in egalitarian marriage- but there are some times that I want Dave to do things men have traditionally done. Other liberated ladies out there- how do you deal with this in your marriage or as a single person? How do you negotiate what you want to do and what is simply expected of you because you’re the woman/mom/wife/queen of the castle?

I was more like this queen today than snow white.


  • Devon

    I felt sooooo bad leaving you in the parking lot with your tire issue. I had to catch a ride home though because I had too much to carry. You are totally right about feeling attacked after a spiritual time. I’ve felt the same way many times today myself.

  • grace

    So, you know the funny thing is, Dave & I can’t even agree about whether or not were egalitarian! I say we are, he says were not. Ironical. Anyway, he would never ask me to change, fix or deal with a flat tire… b/c the answer would be “no.” I may be independent & junk, but there are some things I just don’t worry my pretty little head about –I have my limits! πŸ™‚ I.E. Even if Dave were on a 10 day conference or -God forbid- dead and not around anymore, I STILL wouldn’t deal with a flat tire, I’d call up Jim Marshall or some other dude from our church, etc. I also don’t do grass, I have the allergies in the family. On the other hand, I can’t get Dave to defrost a pound of ground meat for crying out loud. We’ve definetly settled into who does what & into our roles. Sometimes I’d like to do more… like when I wanted to hang my own darn picture frames on our office walls & he won’t let me for fear I’ll make big holes in places I shouldn’t — and, well, he’s right I do suck at hanging stuff on walls. We have our system now after 9.5 yrs. of marriage & I try not to mess with it…. especially since it means I don’t do tires, the lawn, yard work or any heavy labor. πŸ™‚

  • Twyila

    I feel so bad Jessica I didn’t even know you had tire problems I could have helped you (next time come inside and get me). I do empathize with you about wanting an equal marriage but yet still wanting some of the traditional American standards of marriage. It is often hard for me to communicate the things that I want to Dennis, I just assume that he knows what I want and I don’t really want to have to verbalize them (but he never knows unless I scream it from the roof tops with emergency flares ablazing). Maybe you guys could sit down and talk about what you each like to do and what you don’t. Pick each of your top 2 or 3 things you don’t like to do and agree to do that for your spouse. You could make it fun by bartering and trading.

  • grace

    Okay, Dave says (after accidentally reading my response) that I don’t understand that he’s a man of mystery & paradox. He does believe we are egalitarain while still holding that he is the head, as described by Paul in Ephesians.

    He would also like me to clear up that he DOES in fact cook- and did cook several simple meals for us after Rhys was born- although he find’s that browning meet to be one of the most tedious things he can think of. He would also like me to add that two major reason he doesn’t cook more is to A) take care of the responsibilities that he knows I want no part of: washing dishes, shoveling snow, yard work, handling home repairs, etc. If I were interested in doing some of these, he’d entertain swapping responsibilities; and B) so that he is available to do the take part in the responsibilities I DO ask him to share, such as getting up with Ransom in the mornings, doing learning activities with him, and being present to the kid’s needs at night.

    Dave feels he has now be represented accurately.

    • grace

      Dave also want to add that the incorrectly spelled words in the last reply are because there is no spell-check function on this blog, and because I refused to proofread for him, which is, after all, a basic responsibility of a wife. He says he’s just kidding. He ends by saying, “Our ‘egalitarian’ marriage is characterized by me doing most of the ‘traditional’ chores of a husband because my egalitarian wife won’t do them, us sharing most major decision making because my wife insists on it (except for those choices she insists on making without me), and me taking on additional ‘man of the new millenium’ responsibilities in the home because my wife wants us to ‘share the load.’ If you look at it from that angle, we’re functionally egalitarian except for the areas where my wife doesn’t want us to be, and except for those areas where my wife insists on wearing the pants instead of sharing a leg with me.” Dave’s final punctuation of this thought is his loving smile towards me.

  • andrea huang

    i just wanna say that this whole conversation on here is totally cracking me up!!!! i’ve been thinking through the egalitarian issue lately… good food for thought from you wise iv staff w/ so many years of marriage under your belt!

  • April

    There are “man” jobs that I make JB do, but that’s because I do all the woman jobs and half the man jobs, because I’m cool like that. Or motivated like that.

    However, several times I have asked JB to do a “man” job because I had no desire to do it and I secretly feared that he would ask why I didn’t do it myself. Then I would have had to say that it’s a man’s job and he should do it. Then the truth would come out that (gasp!) I’m a hypocrite!

    I really don’t want to be one of those June Cleaver types, so whenever I encounter a “man” job, I try to do it myself, at least once, to prove that I can and will do it, if necessary.

    But I do believe that God made men and women different and better able to do certain things. So if I’m the one who has to grow a baby in my gut for 9 months (while it kicks my ribs) and then shoot it out of my crotch, then my husband can climb into the creepy crawl space to work on the plumbing. Fair is fair.

  • Lisa

    Grace and April are hilarious. What a discussion.

    This has nothing to do with anything, but I once told Jeff that I did not care what or how we contributed to the house as long as he: always cleaned his chopsticks, never left his clothes on the floor, and something else that I’ve since forgotten (probably become so used to I can’t imagine him not doing it). When I told him that was the only gift I wanted, his response was fake crying because he knew he could never do it. πŸ™‚

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