The book I Almost Divorced My Husband but I Went on Strike Instead caught my eye out of rows of books at the library, so I grabbed it. It’s the story of Sherri Mills, a working mother of teenagers who did all the chores in her household–from making dinner every night to packing and unpacking the RV for weekend trips. She even took care of the yard work. She was overcome with resentment towards her husband and planning on calling a divorce attorney before she realized that it was their lifestyle, not her husband, that she hated.
A study conducted by Linda J, Waite, professor at the University of Chicago, showed evidence that people who were unhappily married were no happier after a divorce. No happier! In fact, “divorce did not typically reduce symptoms of depression, raise self-esteem, or increase a sense of mastery.” In Waite’s study, couples that stuck together reported that they were much happier five years later, even if they previously rated their marriage as “very unhappy.” So apparently what married people really need is a game plan, not a divorce.
Sherri’s game plan was to quit doing housework . She went on strike for ten days, which is how long it took her husband to realize the hell she’d been going through. After the strike, Sherri gave him a a list of every chore that was completed throughout a given year and told him to pick the ones he wanted. She also gave it to her teenage children. And they lived happily ever after. Seriously.
Her method isn’t miraculous, but it deals an effective blow to a major problem in many households without extensive counseling, emotional battles, or petty arguing. It’s not just about the housework. What’s really happening is that the wife and husband begin to act as a unit again when the wife successfully strikes. They start making decisions together, encouraging each other, and acknowledging each other’s significance in the relationship. The result? The couple get to be sweethearts again, but with a deeper understanding and appreciation for each other.
Coming Up: Getting the Kids Involved