Recently, I was perusing over at The Atlantic, and I came across an article called “The Gay Guide to Married Bliss” by Liz Mundy. In the article, she argues that heterosexual couples could stand to learn a few things from homosexual couples in relation to marital roles.
Mundy lists three “rules” that she thinks are present and praised in homosexual couples.
Rule 1: Negotiate in advance who will take out the trash and who will clean the bathroom.
Mundy writes that homosexual couples do not operate along the same gender-specific task list that traditional heterosexual couples use. Because I’m a woman, it’s assumed that I will be the one to cook our meals and clean our house and wash our clothes. But in a homosexual couple, Mundy points out that many of these daily tasks are divided up more evenly, based on preferences and giftedness.
I understand how this could be desired in marriage. Oftentimes, I focus inward and think Mike does this and I do this instead of thinking that what we do daily in our marriage is done with the same goal in mind; we are on the same team. We aren’t merely getting things done and following the rules of who is to get them done; we are, by God’s grace, growing our life together. With that in mind, I am helped when my husband cooks dinner for us. It didn’t happen because we woke up that morning and drew straws to see who was getting the “dinner task.” Mike recognized that helping to get dinner started before I got home would be a kind gesture, even if that wasn’t his responsibility that day.
Rule 2: When it comes to parenting, a 50/50 split isn’t necessarily best.
In the realms of childcare and “bread-winning,” homosexual couples do not yield to their gender to know what they are supposed to do, something heterosexual couples should see and make note of, Mundy claims. Research out of the University of Virginia shows that the involvement of homosexual couples with children is greater than that of heterosexual couples, primarily because the roles are not divided based on gender. Lesbian mothers and gay fathers are seen as very involved with their children, whereas the heterosexual wife would greatly desire more parental involvement from her straight husband.
My husband and I do not have children yet. We both work full-time and love what we do. We are currently a dual-income family. While I hope I am able to stay at home with our children one day, I understand that whatever is best for our family is most important. If that means I am to keep working to care for our family, I will work, even if the traditional marriage model is for the wife to stay at home.
Rule 3: Don’t want a divorce? Don’t marry a woman.
A group of homosexual and heterosexual couples were interviewed about how they resolve conflict. The research showed that homosexual couples were joyful and less-irritated in conflict, while the heterosexual couples admitted to struggles in conflict resolution. It comes down to a belief of Mundy’s: straight woman see themselves as less powerful than men, and therein lies the relational hostility. Whether or not these couples have children plays a role in how conflict is solved; the research suggests that lesbian couples with no children are happier than other couples, gay or straight. Mundy cited Swedish research that shows lesbian couples having a higher level of perfectionism in their relationships. Rather than individuals in our culture seeing woman as nurturing care-givers, they are choosing to see them as nagging, needy, weak, and sadly, a threat.
- QUESTION: Can Gays and Lesbians Save the Institution of Marriage? (gayguidevegas.com)
- Lesbian Myths, Debunked (alternet.org)
- Gay Married People, They’re Just Like Us! (blogs.forward.com)