Equality in a relationship doesn’t mean that everyone earns exactly half of the income. It doesn’t mean that you do the dishes the same amount of times he does each week. In reality, an equal relationship means that each of you contributes a fair amount and that all contributions have value. Do you want to build more equality in your relationship? Here are some helpful tips.
- Start by having a conversation about what equality means to you both. People can have different ideas about what equality in a relationship means. It’s important to be clear about that before you can start the process of developing a truly equal relationship. Talk about your vision of an equal relationship. How will it make you stronger as a couple? Is there any situation in which that changes?
- Focus on respect. If there’s a lack of respect on the part of either partner, a truly equal relationship cannot exist. Respect means open communication but it also means listening without interruption. What are the boundaries in the relationship both as a couple and as individuals? They need to be respected. Speak kindly and support each other’s goals. Respect is basically giving your partner the same treatment that you expect to receive.
- Make running your home a partnership. Household chores and money management are two of the topics that couples complain about when they talk about a lack of equality. Don’t expect that he will automatically do all the outside work because he is a man. Perhaps he would rather do dishes than mow the lawn. This is where communication comes in. As a couple, you need to work out all the tasks that have to be done in your home and decide who will do them. Maybe one week you’ll wash the walls while he changes the oil on the car and then next month you can change tasks. Or maybe neither of you likes doing those things. In that case, you’ll have to pay someone to do that. Is it in your budget? Your home is something you run together and that means making decisions together. Talk about the management of your home and money on a regular basis.
- Talk about making decisions. There are many decisions to make in a relationship. Do they need to be made together? What kinds of decisions can be made without talking about it with the other person? Are there certain factors that require consulting your partner, like money or in-laws? It’s important to know what your partner’s expectations are when it comes to making decisions. You should also have a plan for decisions where the two of you are divided about what you should do. Do you talk to a third party or give it some time? If you know how to deal with decisions beforehand, the process will be more equal.
- Is your money his money? Is his money your money? Money can be a huge cause of trouble in a relationship if there is not a clear understanding. First, there are bills that need to be paid. Who pays them? Do you distribute the bills evenly or does the person who makes less money have to contribute less? Then there are extra costs. Her makeup. His grooming supplies. Are they factored into the monthly budget or does each person pay for their own personal products? You still have to talk about big purchases, too. If you want a new big screen television for gaming, do you have to talk to him first? Does it come out of the household budget or should you just spend your own money on it if you want it? And if you spend your money on it, is it your TV or does it belong to both of you?
Relationship equality isn’t only about dividing up the household chores equally anymore. Equality in a relationship is about minimizing or eliminating power dynamics.
Each person in a relationship should feel comfortable talking about the household or the relationship. It’s important that your voice and his have equal value. Relationship equality is about not giving one person’s income or contribution to the house more value than the other’s.
Both partners’ boundaries, feelings, and ideas should be equally important in your relationship. This makes you both feel safe and secure. When you are on equally footing your relationship can grow and become stronger. If one partner feels “less than” the other, there could be cracks in the relationship that will get bigger with time.