Feminist blogtopia’s been all over this “don’t marry a career woman” crap all week, but lisa in Steve’s comments said something I thought was very interesting:

Most, and I do mean upwards of 80 percent, of the women I know who have jobs, their No. 1 complaint about the husband is housework. As in, he sees it as women’s work. His mom did it; why shouldn’t his wife?

(And now I’ll prepare for an onslaught of men denying that THEY are that way.)

Because I don’t attribute this kind of phenomenon to one person having a career or not having a career. I attribute this to people just not fucking talking to each other like human beings. Seriously. Mr. A and I, when we moved in together, had the housework fight A LOT. Because he never said, “I want to be the one to clean the bathroom because you’re lazy about it and it squicks me out” and I never said “I really, really, really hate cleaning up after you cook because you use every pan in the house to make mac and cheese.” We just expected the other to just know, because, I mean, marriage comes with ESP installed now, right? Christ, we were dumb.

You can have that kind of fight, the little fight that starts out about the toilet paper roll and becomes about the whole entire marriage, whether both of you work or one of you or neither of you, whether you’re ditch-diggers or brain surgeons or a ditch-digger married to a brain surgeon. That fight, and most of the other problems outlined in that Forbes piece (children, cheating, money, etc) aren’t about careers, they’re about communication and maturity.

I have no doubt most working women’s complaints about their husbands is housework. I just wonder how often the husbands actually get to hear that it’s a problem, or if the wives (like I did, back when we got married a million years ago) stand at the stove and huff, and expect him to interpret the seething frustration correctly and respond. Because I gotta say, from my own experience, saying directly, “Please take out the garbage now” was a lot more effective than aiming thought waves in his direction.

And if you’re a guy, and what you really want is to never have to touch a dish in your life, well, if you’re not up front about that with your beloved, you can’t exactly blame her for getting peeved at you when you sit on your ass. If you’re a guy and what you want is to find a woman to have a family and stay at home, yeah, you probably shouldn’t hook up with a girl who’s really into her job. But there’s all kinds of marriages, all kinds of family arrangements. You’ve got to pick the one you want and be honest about how you see your future.

I mean, Jesus tits, you’re not from Venus, he’s not from Mars, so long as you both speak a common language there’s no reason you can’t work that shit out. It has less than nothing to do with who has how much work outside the house. It has to do with people being in a relationship where they either don’t know what they want, or don’t say. And you can work or stay home all you like, but if your problem is that you fundamentally disagree with your spouse about the direction your lives should take, no paycheck or lack thereof is going to solve it for you.