It's Saturday morning, although by the time this posts it will be Monday.
I am sitting in my pajamas at the dining room table with a mug of hot coffee and a belly full of banana pancakes. My husband is vacuuming the first floor while Little G follows the canister around and tries to beat it to submission.
These are Saturdays in my house.
A long time ago, before we were married, my husband and I discovered something about each other. It turns out he is hyper-motivated to get things done in the mornings so that he can relax in the afternoons. While I, on the other hand, have a much better day if I can ease my way into it with some coffee, breakfast and a magazine. Usually sometime around lunch we switch roles and I can be found puttering about the house while he surfs the tube for any type of sporting event to watch.
It took us some time to figure this out and for a period of time, I would feel very, very guilty in the mornings about not being the slightest bit motivated to help as my husband flitted about the house vacuuming, ironing, dusting, doing laundry, you name it. And he sometimes felt frustrated with me because he felt like he was doing everything. But I never asked him to do everything. When we finally figured out that it would be perfectly acceptable for him to leave some things for me to get done in the afternoon, our lives became much more agreeable.
Of course, then we threw a baby in the mix and things really got undefined...but we've managed to make it work for 13 months, so something must be right.
The key for us was being able to identify and respect the needs of the other person. However the answer isn't static. Every weekend, every day, every hour our lives change from what they were before, so we need to continuously react to the situations in our lives while also keeping in mind how we work best and how we want to provide the best home life for each other. This is how we functioned as a couple and this is how we are succeeding as a family.
I was given a book not too long ago that was written with the premise that all men need respect and all women need love. Needless to say, the book didn't stay in our house too long as I am not a fan of blanket generalizations. But it did make me think about love and respect in the context of working relationships. Can you have one without the other? Possibly. But can you have a continuously growing relatioship that reacts with the ebbs and flows of life without both love and respect?
Respectfully, I don't think so.