It occurs to me, that over time when you are in a good relationship that many things occur. You find that you balance each other out. What one is good at the other might not be and so you fill those gaps for each other. You slip into defined roles and those roles can become quite entrenched.
In our household for example – I cook, he eats – he doesn’t cook and has no real desire to learn, even though it would be handy if he did. He does the dishes and stacks the dishwasher. I put dishes in the dishwasher and he ‘tuts’ and shifts them where he feels they should be. He mows the lawns. I don’t. Like his reluctance to learn to cook, I have no desire to learn to mow the lawns.
Then, there are things we do together but balance the jobs out between us. I have a small greenhouse and that is very much my domain, my project. But we share the other jobs in the garden. We often do it together with me doing what I can which involves some physicality and him doing the really heavy stuff. All in all, we work well together and things get done one way or another.
The thing then is this. What do we do if one of us can’t perform our customary roles? Will my ‘non-cooking’ husband suddenly be inspired to learn to cook if I can’t any more? Or will I be doomed to a life of eating canned beans and soup? Will I become the foreman overseeing his attempts at cooking? What if cognitively I can’t remember how to do things in the kitchen myself?
What of my greenhouse? Will he tend it for me, or will it become a mess of dying plants. Lots of little things he may not be aware of that I do, I wonder who will do them if I can’t. If I can’t tell him what they are will he notice? Will he refill the handsoap when it runs out? Will he water the house plants? Worm and flea the cat – though we both are pretty slack on that one – will he remember?
When one of you has a decline in function, for whatever reason, the other person then has to think and act for two. They may have to be the carer, the cook, the person who does the vacuuming etc, etc, etc… with very little time for anything for themselves. They can become overstretched and stressed and very much in need of help. I only hope that my husband and I accept that help if and when we need it.
And maybe, just maybe…. he’ll learn to cook someday! 🙂