There are always going to be those days when it seems the world is focused completely on your partner — and not at all on you. Maybe he or she has a big meeting coming up at work, or maybe he or she has just come down with the flu. Whatever the reason, there may be those moments where you ask yourself, “Is this ever going to be about me?”
In any relationship, there is going to be give-and-take as situations and circumstances change, but you should also feel that, overall, your value in the partnership is equal to that of your partner’s. Too often, individuals find themselves in marriages where they are not valued emotionally and financially. And, too often, these individuals don’t do anything to resolve that situation. Below are some ways to assess your value in your partnership, as well as some tips for creating equality in your marriage, if necessary.
Assessing Your Financial Value
- Analyze your contributions: In an equal marriage, both partners should be giving 100 percent to ensure that the partnership and household are running smoothly. Sometimes contributions have a direct monetary value, like a paycheck. Other contributions may be supporting a partner or managing the family home. At the Equality in Marriage Institute, we believe that if both partners are giving 100 percent, all assets garnered during the marriage period should be joint property. Talk to your partner about your opinions on the subject. If you are a stay-at-home spouse, discuss how your contribution is valued. It is important that you feel like a financial equal in your marriage, and not like a secondary citizen.
- Be prepared: We all like to thing that “happily ever after” is our destiny and that our circumstances won’t change because of negative things like death or divorce. However, we must also be responsible and prepared. Even if your partner handles most of the financial transactions, it is important that you have an active understanding of your household’s assets and debts, and that you know where to find all important financial paperwork. An equal partner knows about the marriage’s money matters and is an active participant in financially related decisions.
Assessing Your Emotional Value
- Communicate: Do you feel comfortable bringing up any concerns you might have about your marriage, or do you often walk on eggshells, trying not to create controversy by voicing issues? A consistent inability to communicate concerns about your partnership shows that you are deferring your emotional well-being and happiness in order to avoid conflict with your partner. Examine why you are afraid to represent yourself in the marriage and look for ways to improve that situation.
- Go for your goals: Whether you are a CEO or a stay-at-home spouse, you will have long-term goals for your life. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go back to school and finish that degree. Maybe there is a career path you’d like to explore. It is important that both you and your partner’s goals and dreams are taken into consideration when you create a blueprint for your future. Both you and your spouse should have the ability to dream and plan for the future and continue to work on your individual goals. One person going after their goals while another defers theirs to be a supporter can create a feeling of inequality. Make sure these issues are addressed and discussed.
- Stay balanced: In today’s busy society, it is sometimes hard to take the time we need to relax, exercise or rejuvenate. Many times, one person in a partnership may have a schedule that allows some time for personal maintenance, while the other is too overwhelmed with obligations. If this is the case, make sure you discuss ways to compromise and share responsibilities so that both of you can take the time you need to keep yourself healthy and balanced.
These are just a few of the ways you can assess and define your value in your marriage. It isn’t a matter of keeping score or staying even, but rather is a way of ensuring that you feel valued in your partnership and that you can express your concerns or needs and are a joint CEO in running your household.