Friday, February 27, 2009

The Secret to Happy Marriage - Division of Labor

You've heard the phrase, "Too many roosters, not enough hens", or perhaps, "Too many chiefs, not enough Indians". These phrases are used to determine the cause of dissent and inefficiency within a group of people. To have an organization, a company, a family, or a team humming like a well-oiled machine, each person in it has to have a specific role that is suited to their strengths and abilities without too much overlap or interference with anyone else's role.

That's the foundation of a happy marriage. One person is the hunter, one person is the gatherer. So what happens when the hunter cannot hunt for whatever reason?

The gatherer might strangle the would-be hunter.

I've tried really hard to be a good supportive wife to my husband who is currently out of work. I'm sympathetic, I don't suggest that he's failed in any way to fill his role, I give him time and space to job hunt. But after three weeks of having him under-foot, I'm ready for him to go to work, and not just to earn money - that's the nice side-benefit. So here's the week-by-week unemployed husband progression.

Week 1
The first week was with filled with a flurry of emails, calls, and research as my husband contacted friends, former co-workers, and former bosses to see if any company was currently hiring. He also researched different companies and what they were currently developing. It's a rotten economy so there aren't too many places hiring and there are a lot of people looking.

Week 2
The next week yielded a few interviews with companies and a couple of recruiters. My husband actually shaved (I thought he was going to hold out until he got a job, but really, who's going hire Grizzly Adams?), got dressed and left the house. He felt good about how the interviews went and some of the anger and despondency of week 1 abated to be replaced by a nervous energy.

Week 3
Three interviews required follow-up interviews and requests for references and background checks. The digging up of contacts and research of week 1 has all but stopped since at least one of these follow-ups seems sure to yield an offer. The nervous energy has peaked. My husband has taken to pacing the house, throwing a plastic ball repeatedly across the room (practicing his curve ball, he tells me) and babbling (well, as much as he does). He did leave the house once to go snorkling with his sister, but he took his phone in a dry bag with him.

Don't get me wrong, it's really nice having my husband around so I can leave my little one home as I drive the big kids around to school and activities. He's been helpful doing dishes, folding laundry, vacuuming, tidying up, and it is nice having an adult to talk to all day long. But, he's always there when I want a little quiet time reading or on the computer, bouncing on his heels asking what we're doing, asking me to bat his curve balls, or suggesting beach-visits or kayak-trips. He's got all this excess energy with nothing to focus it on but me.

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, surely the inverse is also true.


Ambie said...

welcome to my life.....
Some may dream of husbands who spend more time at home but it is actually quite difficult to live with someone constantly in your territory. Imagine a husband who cooks .. heaven ? Now along with that, imagine your backside expanding to astronomical proportions.

Heather said...

Still working on our end. Buddy has put out a few feelers but nothing as of yet. I promise to keep you posted and we both promise to help in any way we can. We love you guys.

ray said...

Heather, thank you so much!! We appreciate any and all leads we can find at this point. While Kiewit might leave Christian with a bad taste in his mouth for a while, it's better than starving.

Ambie, I still miss waking up, taking the kids to school, and coming home to Alex cooking something wonderful for breakfast, then taking Faith to the beach. It's a wonder you are not 300 lbs, you ingrate!

Kristine said...

So I'm thinking about you, and hope you guys have some good news soon!! Preferably in the Week 4 update. I have nothing more helpful to offer than that, just good karma and warm fuzzies.

(I'm a big believer in the division of labor, time, and space... And I'm NOT looking forward to the show when my dad retires, and he and my mom drive each other CRAZY!)

Happy The Man said...

Hmmmm, so that's what my wife was thinking...

I discovered a web site called odd todd, a guy who got laid off and did some animated cartoon work in his time off. He was single so he lacked any real responsibilities. He drops the f-bomb a lot and is somewhat inappropriate. But the underlying storyline is that he struggles to motivate himself to get off the couch and get out there.

It helped me a little, to kind of find some humor in my pathetic existence. I could relate to his frustrations, but I couldn't really relate to his single life monotony, having a large family and a large honey-do list frequently looming.