I feel like too much of the responsibilities of being an adult fall on my shoulders, and that my wife does a lot more taking than giving in that regard. I would like our relationship to be more of an equal partnership where I feel that I benefit from it too. Don't get me wrong, I love her dearly, and the romantic side of our relationship is pretty good, but there's also a practical side of two adults living together and that's where I feel like I get a raw deal.
We had a big fight this morning over the silliest thing, because she was upset at me for not refilling the coffee maker after using it (which is not a thing in our house, I usually have to refill it in the morning before I use it myself.) But it really struck a raw nerve for me, and opened up an argument about how I want her to do more around the house.
I'm ten years into my career, and I've been quite successful at it. She's just starting out. I work 60+ hours a week, she works about 35. The difference in income is more than 10x. She keeps her money that she earns to herself and uses it for personal things, and I pay for all of our expenses, rent, food, vacations, eating out, etc., plus I give her a monthly stipend that she can spend how she likes. Given the difference in our income, I don't mind that so much - I feel she could contribute in other ways.
I handle the garbage, the supermarket, and the finances, bills, and taxes. I manage to get 1-3 hours each evening before bed, plus half a day off each weekend to spend with her. In order to work as much as I do and still do all of that, I have no life or friends outside of work and marriage. It's hardly balanced, but I'm happy enough like that because I know I'm working towards an early retirement and secure future for my wife and I and our future kids.
I think if she could just keep our tiny 500 sqft apartment clean, and have supper in the fridge for ~5 days a week (which should mean cooking 2-3 times a week.) that would be the minimum contribution. I don't think that's too much to ask.
In reality she gets home from work tired, spends some time unwinding with her smartphone, and then spend 1-3 hours with me watching netflix or other activities. Then she'll often stay up late on her phone again, and I go to bed early because I get up at 4:30 and start work. She gets up late, gets ready and goes straight to work.
The dishes pile up, the kitchen, floors, and surfaces get dirty and accumulate junk. It gets worse all week until near the end of the weekend when she finally makes an effort to do something about it. It's a good week when the apartment is relatively clean by the time the next week begins, but that's rare. She cooks about as often as I do, which is maybe once every two weeks. I got fed up last weekend and spent a couple hours vacuuming and packing things away, but I really don't have time for that.
If she can't pull her weight now, how would things be when we have children together? When we have a larger place and all the demanding needs of children? The thought terrifies me because I can't take any additional responsibility, and I'm scared I'll end up having to carry most of that alone too. There's no take-backs on the decision to have children.
I need things to change soon and gain some level of confidence that I won't be alone in this before it comes time to start a family. I don't know how to approach it. We argue over this a couple times a year but nothing ever really changes. There are some short term changes, and then that terrible smartphone comes out again and things start to degenerate until we're back to where we were.
I know it's hard to paint an accurate picture of a marriage in just a few words, and harder still given you only are getting my side of things. But I'm really at the end of my rope here and I don't know what else to do.
How can I ask my wife to share more of our responsibilities, in a way that encourages long-term changes?