Well, nonsense! You can love someone and not want to pick up socks or sit through a musical. You can respect and care deeply about someone and not want to take ownership of the carpool pickup schedule or monitor the number of trash bags left in the house. Just as you, Marina, can love and respect and care about your fiancé but still not want to initiate doing something he would very much like you to do.
For you, there seems to be something important about “ownership.” Maybe in your mind taking on more of the coordination role makes you feel like less of a team—like the management of the household falls to you and you alone, like some pre-feminist nightmare. But having different roles requiring equal effort toward a mutual goal doesn’t make you less of a team—it makes you the very definition of a team. You say you “want a partnership, not a person to delegate to,” but it’s only because you’re in a partnership that you have the luxury of someone to delegate to.
So what are your options?
1) You can sit down together and come to an agreement that works for both of you on who does what, when, and how. This will give each of you clarity and accountability along with the freedom to manage your respective responsibilities.
2) You can reconsider whether being the initiator/coordinator negates an equal partnership and instead rejoice in the fact that your fiancé “gladly and without complaint” does the tasks you ask of him. In this scenario, you don’t have to do more, you just have to delegate more. In fact, depending on how much you delegate in exchange for the mental exertion that managing requires, he might be the one doing more.
3) You can continue to devalue his equal but different contributions to the running of the household, and gradually turn his cheerful teamwork into resentful compliance. (Note: If you tell someone every day of your marriage that, essentially, you want to marry somebody else, you’ll likely end up not married to this person anymore.)
4) You can call off the engagement and marry someone who naturally takes more initiative—but who might have a less agreeable attitude about doing his equal part, not share your bigger-picture goals and values, and/or lack all of the other intangible qualities that you love about your current fiancé.
5) You can stop picking up the slack in the hope that your fiancé notices and takes initiative himself, but be prepared for the more likely outcome: You’ll be far more bothered by whatever falls through the cracks than he will. (Let’s call this the Bite Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face option.)
The choice is yours. Meanwhile, congratulations on your engagement.
Dear Therapist is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, mental health professional, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.