The Guilt Bank

New ways couples use to divide household duties -- and why someone is always in debt

Let me start off by saying, my husband is a very, very nice man. Sweet and thoughtful, he's even been known to buy me flowers on occasion. I lucked out in the husband department.

But when I am an overtired, often-cranky, stressed mess (which is a lot of the time, I'll admit), even Prince Charming himself would annoy me. His horse would be too stompy, or his crown would get in the way. More than likely, I'd be jealous he had all that time to look after his appearance.

My husband tries to soothe me in these moments. He suggests yoga, or a nap, or a walk around the block. Like I said, he's very nice. But this niceness appears to come with a price. The cost: Points.

Now, just as a refresher, let's discuss how the point system works. Simply put: Your Loving Partner offers to let you unload one of your tasks onto him. Or perhaps he suggests you take an hour or two off and have a pedicure/curl up with a book/lock yourself in the basement cupboard. These may be offered with the most generous of spirits. He knows that a relaxed woman is a better wife and mother. He knows that if you have to juggle one more thing it's going to get seriously ugly. He wants to help. He may even be really nice about it, like my husband.

But beware. You're going to owe him.

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