For me there is this resentment that is tied into this conditioning and grooming.
In my younger years, when I got my own home, I cleaned my house religiously. I believed I needed a clean home with floors you can basically eat off of. There is no rhyme or reason to that kind of upkeep. I lived alone. And I still continued to do it. And I remember resenting my mother for teaching me this “value” as if it was the only most important attribute for a woman. (This was also taught to her by her own mother. As a woman who has only had a fifth grade level of education, she is only as good as her own “role model.”)
My mom used to show off to her friends how I can cook and clean really well. I took that and I used to write in my dating profile that those were things I did well. Then it dawned on me that I was basically advertising myself as a free maid. Like WTF! When I realized that, I remembered how much anger I felt towards my mother. There were so many other paths that I could have chosen had I known that I was much more than that. It took so many years of self-awareness and constantly working on my value to break free from that; that other things are so much more important than the time I took to clean my house. I could have been gaming, sleeping in, reading a book, or just anything else that could have positively contributed to my life. Additionally, I could have also avoided relationships where I was only seen as the trophy girlfriend. I mean, if I couldn’t give myself value and was offering up free home cleaning and cooking services, what average man wouldn’t take advantage of that. It took being more invalidated and hurt for me to realize that I didn’t want that anymore. When you get stuck in those cycles, it’s so hard to break free because you also unknowingly perpetuate the very things that keep you unhappy and unhealthy.
I wonder if your wife is in this constant state of angst that she just can’t resolve. On one hand, she wants to show that her cooking and cleaning is tied into love for you, but she just can’t move into that idea and believe it because those things are just so tainted for her now. So there’s this dilemma, when you say you can do it too, there’s this guilt that can be attached to that because it’s already something that she feels obligated to do and you doing it makes her feel like she is not a successful wife; instead a failure. But when she does it alone, there’s all this anger and resentment that’s tied to it. I hope she can find a way to clearly understand that housework and the traditional and very much conventional idea of a good housewife no longer come in that package.
We don’t live in the era where basic survival skills are needed in order to survive. We’ve become much more advanced, and our needs lie in deeper emotional connections with one another.