Fairly early in our relationship, Hillary and I largely had our routines of chores down. We were a team and all that. There was little complaining unless one of us was having a particularly tough day.
It wasn't often, but there would always be times when one of us was tired, sick, or just worn down and facing whatever household task we had ahead of us seemed insurmountable. It was the other person's job at that point to either just do it or give tacit permission to skip it for the day. The house wasn't going to fall apart because the dishwasher wasn't emptied first thing in the morning. That sort of thing.
It quickly became unspoken and by the time the kids were both on the scene, this became almost an unconscious part of our relationship.
Because it became unconscious, I still find it happening to me.
Today, I had unpacked the car, put clothes away, and done some dinner prep. I had even reflected on how Hillary and I relatively efficiently handled the return from a night away.
I opened the dishwasher and looked at what appeared to be a full load of clean dishes. I closed it again. I could feel that quiet part of my brain trucking along with, "Well, that's a chore I always do, today it can be handled by oh shit."
What gets me right now is that part of what is making today tough is the lack of Hillary in my life. But had she been here and I was in the same mood for other reasons, that's exactly what would have happened. I can almost guarantee she would have shooed me outside to sit for a bit.
This part of our relationship, like so many things, ended sometime during the cancer as the chore breakdowns fell largely to me and the family who was around to help us through that time.