We cut ourselves a lot of slack. Many times, too much. We work hard and then use that as an excuse to be lazy. We come home, and expect our spouse to do all of the household chores. “I owe it to myself to take it easy tonight.”
There is a critical problem with this mentality. Your spouse probably worked just as hard. Maybe they have a job. Maybe their job is to maintain the household. Just because you drove to work doesn’t mean that your work was more important.
There is a second fatal flaw. When you got married, you gave up “I.” Not in a bad way. You adopted a new identity in the Sacrament. “Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mat 19:6) You both have responsibility for the maintenance of the household.
This mentality becomes even more dangerous when it finds its way into your financial life. You can literally ruin your financial future by following this mantra. “I work hard, so I deserve a nice car.” “I did really well this year, so I owe it to myself to get this 60” TV.” The problems go deeper when you leave your spouse out of the decision process.
You do work hard. You do provide for your family. You have every right to thank God for honest work and a just wage. We just need to rediscover the principle of contentment.
What we don’t realize is that when we get home from work, we are presented with numerous opportunities to love our wives. We can get changed and help with dinner. We can finish dinner and do the dishes. We can finish dinner and then help with laundry or cleaning. Each impasse presents us two choices. We can serve ourselves or we can serve our wife.
It is difficult in the moment to see the opportunities to love. They’re hard to see because they look like work. It is better to prepare yourself. Before walking up to the door, envision the opportunities that are about to present themselves. Then, when you go inside, you will see requests for what they are: opportunities to love.
It will take some time. It won’t be easy. You will be tired or mad. Remember, when you get home, leave work at work. You have precious few hours to spend with your spouse during the week. Dedicate those hours to her and let nothing steal your attention. Love her well.