12 In Love

A relationship is a two-way street

A relationship is a two-way street

Everyone who knows me knows that D is the main cook in our household, .

He’s brilliant at it AND passionate about it. Me on the other hand, well, in the past I have hated cooking so much so that it stressed me out to the point of tears and tantrums.

A few months back I was giving a presentation whereby I explained how thanks to Pinterest I had been inspired to enter the kitchen to cook. I was personally really proud of this achievement, as the dishes I’ve tried have made the ‘will eat again list’, and some have even been devoured but the kids! But I was quickly pulled up by someone in the audience who advised that I had made a huge mistake stepping foot in the kitchen, and that once I started cooking and once we we’re married – well, then that was it.  I’d be chained to the kitchen sink.

It quickly became a woman vs man joke with the audience, with me being the butt, so in order to keep momentum, I kinda left it at that. I was nervous enough giving a speech. I didn’t to start an argument with an audience member!

And then it happened again.  I recently attended a workshop, which has been liberating, but made the mistake of saying that I was proud of my efforts in stepping up in the kitchen, and that what made me happy at the moment was seeing D happy when eating the food I have prepared him. I was quickly told that I had made a vital mistake by doing this, and that she could tell me a thing or two about relationships and the way it goes.

Something that jumped out at me recently whilst reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandburg (awesome read, highly recommend the book to all of my women followers) was this:

Anyone who wants her mate to be a true partner must treat him as an equal – and equally capable – partner.  – Sheryl Sandburg, Lean In

You see, a relationship is a two-way street. Yes, in the past, the womans traditional role was ‘in the kitchen’ and looking after the home.  But that is no more.

D and I have always gone 50/50 in most things, right from the get go. Household chores, bills – ok, not cooking. Which is why I see it as only fair that I make an effort to balance that out. I mean, IF we want to be treated as equals we must treat others as equals also, right?

I’m pretty sure I’m not being naive. D and I have been together about 9 years. Out of those 9 years I can honestly say D would have cooked for 8 1/4 of those (well, deduct the times we have eaten out or got take out…which is more than I should admit). So getting hitched SHOULDN’T change that. There are plenty who will tell me that it will, but I’m positive it won’t. Maybe I’m lucky. Maybe I’ve scored a ‘good man’. I don’t know. But my word to anyone is this:

Set the expectations early on both sides, and don’t molly coddle men. Men aren’t children, and I for one refuse to become a nag.

  • Afifah
    December 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    I love this article Janine. It’s true what you say. We as women should stop nagging to our partner. I have read a bit of Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus and the author says that women should not nag..I totally agree

  • Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.
    December 16, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Hey, there! I no longer have a lab in the house- so I NEED the kitchen to feed my chemistry withdrawal. And, you know what us Type A do when folks enter our domain….

    • Janine Ripper
      December 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm

      Oh yes I so hear you – probably another reason why Ive been fearful of stepping foot into our kitchen…D is quite anal in regards to his knives, cutting of vegetables, etc.

      • Kat Yew
        January 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm

        haha! yes.. knives… there’s a whole world of information was wasn’t even aware of before meeting jake. needless to say he is more of a cook than i, as well.

        • Janine Ripper
          January 29, 2014 at 2:55 pm

          I must admit I do like a man who cooks!

  • jpagemanuel
    December 17, 2013 at 1:05 am

    I never understood why some people seem to view cooking or any domestic work as a sign of enslavement, or subordination. I think that you not making an effort to learn to cook or enjoy it is a disservice to YOU, not to anyone else, first and foremost. If you cook for D, you do it out of love, completely voluntarily so I don’t see why it should be a power issue. It’s the same for him, I suppose. And yes, I have always believed in that saying “Start as you mean to go on / set expectations early”. In reality though, if you think about it, we constantly adjust, both our expectations as well as our behavior. As long as two people love and respect each other, abuse, being taken advantage of, issues of power won’t really be ‘real’ issues.

  • Muriel
    December 24, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    I think that it is all about taking it one day at a time. As long as you respect each other, who cares about who does the cooking?

  • Barbara Klein
    December 26, 2013 at 3:03 am

    Lovely post, Janine. Sharing tasks in a relationship should be normal in our days, no? The hag naggers (or is it the other way round?) probably have blindly stepped into it … I do look forward to the day we can all share some meals together!

    • Janine Ripper
      January 2, 2014 at 7:17 pm

      You would think so, wouldn’t you Barbara. Unfortunately things in Australia can still be a little ‘old school’.

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  • Agent Spitback
    March 14, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    That is true. A relationship should be complementary. Not everything can be a strict divide.

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