Question 2 
Who will take care of the household?

Default answer:  The wife will take full responsibility
for day-to-day household tasks such as shopping for food,
cooking, washing dishes, cleaning the house, & washing clothes.

     By custom and law, the husband is the head of the household.
As such he owns the services his wife provides.

     If a man hires a housekeeper to take care of his household,
he will be expected to pay her as a domestic servant.
But if they marry, she will render the same services without payment.
And a wife becomes part-owner of what used to be the husband's property.

     Under most marriage laws, the husband owns the work of his wife.
It is her customary obligation to do all the housekeeping.
And if she produces any income from her work at home
(for instance, in running a business or a farm), that also belongs to him,
because the husband is the legal person to whom she has become attached.
When they become 'one person', that person is the man.
If someone injures his wife in an automobile accident,
he can sue that person for the loss of her household services.
Such losses are often measured by the cost of hiring someone else
to do the shopping, cooking, cleaning, child-care, etc.

     In common law states, no matter how long and hard
she may toil on his farm, in his business, or supporting his profession,
all the income and assets accumulated belong to him.

     From this perspective, even tho they might share much affection,
she voluntarily fulfills all of these obligations, like a domestic slave.
When slavery was a legal practice in various parts of the world,
slaves were human beings who were owned by their masters.
They had an obligation to perform services assigned by their owners.
Slaves were not paid, but food and housing were provided.

     Another analogy would be farm animals: Livestock belong to the farmer.
He provides them with food and a place to live;
and he benefits from their work or the products they produce.
In ancient marriage-law, the wife, the slave, and the cow
all did useful work, but it all belonged to the husband.
(The very word "husband" has deep roots in the soil:
It comes from the Old English for house-holder
and is related to animal husbandry.)  

Question 2:        WHO WILL TAKE CARE OF THE HOUSEHOLD?        by James Park        25



Above you have the first page of Question 2 from Designer Marriage.
Some alternative ways of organizing the household are suggested in the remaining 5 pages.



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Designer Marriage: Write Your Own Relationship Contract


Created April 4, 2009; Revised


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