Friday, September 11, 2009


Most people have a friend or friends who play World of Warcraft or similar computer games for hours a day. My last semester in college, I had roommates who would play every evening late into the night, and resume play the next morning. I would shake my head and think "They're on the computer way too much," and I'd try to convince them to come out to club meetings or sport activities with me.

After talking with Child today, I really started to realize how many things in our lives are simply a matter of opinion, or motivation, or goal. I thought my roommates spent too much time on the computer--but Child probably thinks I spend too much time on the computer. And I know my mother would in turn think that Child spends too much time on the computer. Going on, I've no doubt that the Amish think ANY time on the computer is too much.

It really is just a matter of interests and motivation.

Child and I come from two very different backgrounds. Child's mother did everything, from cooking to cleaning to laundry. Child was never allowed to cook, much less encouraged to.

My siblings and I, on the other hand, had regularly assigned meals to make. We had a large enough family that us children made most breakfasts (oatmeal, scrambled eggs, or pancakes), and we regularly helped with laundry and all the other usual household chores.

So I get into college life and I'm more than happy to spend $1.50 on a loaf of bread rather than making it from scratch. Which I did at home. Regularly. It takes hours. I evolved laziness to an art form, or per the point I'm trying to make, I assumed a different set of values. I valued time and convenience over superior taste and healthiness of food.

Moving on, I get married. I take my college values into married life and do my best to avoid "work." Why use five dishes to make a meal when you can eat straight from the pot and get away with three? Why vacuum every day when you can vacuum every other day and your visitors are none the wiser? Why start a large chair-refinishing project when you moved away from home to get away from that?

This resulted in an interesting disconnect between Child and I. Child thought I didn't make meals because I didn't know how, while I simply valued my time over an elaborate meal. She thought I didn't do laundry because I didn't know how, while I was simply...well, lazy.

Ironically, at the same time she thought I didn't know how to do laundry, I was secretly thinking I'd be better at doing laundry then her, just because she never did laundry growing up while I did it all the time. I was smart enough not to say anything because then I'd end up doing the laundry, but that was where we stood.

So after some long discussions with Child today, where I clarified that I was lazy because I valued my time over most other things, and where she clarified that I better stop being lazy, I realized that there's really no "right" or "wrong" values (unless you're talking about religion or ethics). However, making a marriage work requires that you at least understand your partner's values. If you don't, you won't understand what makes them tick and it will cause a lot of problems.


Unknown said...

It appears that you were blessed with a wonderful mother.

The Writer said...

Rereading what I wrote, I realize my comment about you could easily be taken as a criticism. It certainly wasn't meant that way, it was just an observation about our different upbringings. Kayla turned out okay. :)

Charity Z said...

Ha ha Dave tried telling me he didn't know how to do laundry once. I told him that anyone who spent 2 years selling complicated electronics at Sears could probably figure out a basic washing machine. plus, I figured somehow he managed to have clean clothes before he met me!

Phaedrus said...

Ah, you put it so well, I would agree that many of your values relate very closely to mine, time is of the value, sleep, food, dishes, laundry...all secondary. Thanks for the articulated post!