Dear Rabbi Daniel and Susan,
I’ve been married for 9 years to a pretty great guy. We have two boys and a girl, also a dog. I have a full time job and I also take care of most of the inside-the-house chores and organize all the activities for the kids and family.
My husband and I have had several discussions and sometimes arguments about sharing the household workload. We make new agreements about duties that my husband can take on, but within a week these agreements have fizzled out. When I ask him to take on tasks with our children, such as bedtime or supervising homework, it generally devolves into screaming matches between him and the kids.
My resentment is starting to affect my sexual desire for him. I feel less like he’s my partner and more like he’s another child. I go all day from the time I wake up at 5:45 a.m. until I collapse into bed at 10 p.m.
Is this simply the reality of being a working mother? Do I have to abandon my dreams of sharing the child care and household duties?
Do I accept that my husband is doing his best and perhaps is limited by his parenting and organizational skills? Do I swallow my anger, do I fight for more or do I just walk away?
We got lost between the, “I’ve been married for 9 years to a pretty great guy,” and the rest of your letter. If, as you say, your husband is a great guy, something is off-kilter. Exhaustion, resentment and anger are pretty awful things to drag around in a marriage so we do think this is urgent to deal with. It isn’t surprising that with so much negativity, the sexual and companionship side of your marriage is suffering.
If we told 1000 people that we received a letter that began with “I’ve been married for nine years to a pretty great guy” and concluded with “Do I swallow my anger, do I fight for more or do I just walk away?” we doubt that even one would guess the content of the intervening eleven sentences.