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Wives Who Don't Cook

You have been working a brutal schedule, and you expect a little extra help from your mate. After all, you both benefit from the overtime or the raise that comes from your efforts. However, it's dinner time, and nothing is ready to eat. What do you do?

You can focus on the work. You do more. She should do more. Doing less? Unfair! You are mistreated. You deserve better! She has no respect for you!

Or you can focus on your wife. Assume Love. Ask yourself what might keep someone with a lighter schedule than yours who loves you dearly from cooking you a meal.

Here are some possibilities.

Cooking feels like drudgery, harder than other chores. She puts her energy into less unpleasant shared chores. You two need a Third Alternative, a way to get an evening meal with less of a burden on your wife.

Cooking must be done at the lowest energy point in the day. She wants to feed you, but often finds herself curling up with a book or heading to the gym for more energy. Again, a Third Alternative, like cooking together on the weekends and reheating in the evening, might help.

Cooking seems pointless, except to please you, and something has happened recently that makes pleasing you less pleasing. Repair the relationship. And consider a Third Alternative like eating a big, cooked, midday meal, followed by a salad you can both enjoy in the evening.

Your wife is doing something else for you in return for all your extra effort, and you have not yet noticed. Look for what it is. Or ask. Then take your turn at cooking or discuss a Third Alternative that works for both of you better than this mismatch does.

You can tell yourself you are owed a home-cooked meal if you work harder or more hours. You can find other people to agree with you. But in the end, you might want to ask how this story works for you. Does it make you happier or angrier? Does it make you powerful or helpless to change things?

I discovered after my first husband was dead that I could have gotten rid of my long commute. But for two years, I focused on what I felt he owed me because we lived near his job and far from mine. I made him miserable. I made myself miserable. Expect Love. When you expect cooking—or anything else you wish you did not need to do—you make yourself unhappy.


I absolutely love your blog and counter-intuitive approach to flipping the negativity in long term marriage. Changing the game from the closest place of influence; ourselves, is a novel and direct way to happiness. What it cost you in experience to model this for us all I regret, but am grateful for the unique perspective. I digress though.
My Love and I each cook and derive great pleasure from preparing food many times with our pre-teen daughters. It is however, a place where fights can start immediately over method so we don't share the same days on deck, if you know what I mean. I'm a Renaissance man and she's a 'Semi- homemade' gal.I'm growing though, and our third alternative has become frozen entrees from the frozen food section. The girls love that breaded chicken and it's quick.
LOL and Assuming Love,

Thank you, Jon! Sounds great that you are modeling Third Alternatives for your daughters.

Hi Patty! We just wanted to inform you that we're analyzing this post in our english IB class!

I am honored, Camilla! (I am also the mother-in-law of an IB science teacher.)

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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