Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fairness - not the best goal

Every spring for the past five or six years, I've faced the same dilemma. One of my husband's high school buddies has gotten married each summer, and it became a tradition for the guys to get together for a 4-day long bachelor's vacation. Since they're all married now, the trip has morphed into a "spring retreat". I'm glad that they've managed to stay so close despite the different paths they've taken and being spread out across two states. The problem is that this vacation always falls very close to my birthday. In the past this has resulted in my husband not being around on my birthday. To give credit where it's due, last year he persuaded everyone to change the date so there won't be any direct conflict. But every year I've been rather jealous, wondering when I'll get my turn.

Last week I decided, and even told Jon, that this year I want to commit to renting a place for myself for a couple of nights and inviting a few friends. He agreed completely that it was a good idea. Here's the rub: regardless of what's fair, our finances and budgeting needs haven't changed. On top of that, it is absolutely a must that we make a trip down South to see my grandmother this year. I want her to meet our little one and visit with her while we still have the opportunity. It's going to take every little bit we can save up of what's left over from our "debt snowball" to manage the airplane tickets. So the only way left to be "fair" this spring is for Jon to miss out on the spring retreat. I don't want him to miss out on that, and even if I did, I think it could lead to resentment. But how do I protect myself from feeling resentful when the spring trip rolls around?

I have a similar problem with everyday "division of the housework". We're both full time graduate students, so it seems like splitting housework 50/50 when we get home is an obvious and fair answer (factoring in, of course, the non-housework things that Jon does for our family, like changing the oil in the car and splitting wood). But it just doesn't work out that way. Fair or no, things simply have to get done around the house. With youth group events and board meetings and helping out around his parents' place, a lot of it gets left on my plate. Again, he has my full blessing for all of these things. They're important, and I believe God has called him to each of them.

So I think I really have to let this whole idea of "fairness" go. I do what I can, he does what he can, and we'll get around to the rest when we get there. Aiming for fairness is bound to lead to frustration and resentment. If, on the other hand, I remember that we're working as a team toward the same goals, I don't have to feel so alone or overwhelmed.


  1. I totally understand. I end up feeling somewhat resentful when Peter "gets" to go places, out of the house, when I am here so often. I try to remember that he is a homebody and would prefer to stay home. It is still hard. Fair is such an unreal concept. It's kind of like perfection. In this life, with sin infiltrating it, there is really no possibility of fairness. Sin stinks!

  2. Oh I SO understand! You wouldn't believe the running lists of "What I do around here" vs "What he does around here" I kept mentally. Exhausting. And I was also sold the lie that marriage should be 50/50. Not at all what God's word says...

    I know of a controversial little book that helped us/me/ourmarriage TREMENDOUSLY. (if you want to know, e-mail me!)