L works for a firm that is largely Japanese. His coworkers are all really nice people. They take pity on me, because they know that although I’m Japanese I am terribly out of touch with my homeland culture. Also, they think I’m cool because I am full Asian and speak perfect English. I think I act inappropriately at times (maybe too brazen for a traditional Japanese woman), but they laugh and generally make me feel good about myself. I like them. They also came to our wedding and formed a dance train at the reception. Yes, I like them very much.
Anyway, many of the married Japanese men bring their lunches to work rather than go out. By bring lunch, I mean that their wives cook gourmet Japanese food the night before or wake up early to fry things, make sushi, and mix concoctions for their husbands’ bento box lunches.
When L told me about this, I found that my way of slithering out of feeling bad that I didn’t slave over the stove all night to make my husband lunch, was to convince him that going out to lunch was good for him. He needs some fresh air, some social time, and it is nice to leave your desk every once in awhile. It’s true, right? Well, my plan foiled when eating out daily became a strain on our budget, and he decided he wanted to bring lunch a few times a week. Crap, now what?
I swore that when I was married I would never ask myself these questions, but here I was, asking. “Am I supposed to make my husband lunch?” I had never really thought about this before, because frankly in American culture, this isn’t really the custom. Moms make lunches for their children, but their husbands are mostly on their own. Also, did no one get my memo? I’m the LESS than domestic goddess. Being domestic isn’t my bag. “Umm, honey, do you want leftover Papa John’s pizza or peanut butter and jelly?” Seriously, if I’m feeling fancy, maybe it’s grilled cheese.
For some reason, this whole situation gave me a bit of wifely anxiety. However, I rationalize it as this…
If I start making L fancy lunches and sandwiches with the crusts cut off, what is going to happen one day if/when I STOP doing that? I would be creating a system of high expectations that, knowing myself, I would likely flub it all up at some point. I’m not a high expectations kind of girl. Okay, that sounds terrible. How about this rationale? My husband is an adult. I make my own daily lunch arrangements. He should, too. He’s not going to love me any less if I don’t spend two hours a day making him lunch.
Late one night, L and I were chatting and I incoherently blurted out all of my thoughts on this lunch subject. He laughed at me, and said that he had already made his lunch for tomorrow and stuck it in the fridge.
Part of me was very happy that he understood. Another part of me still felt a gnawing feeling that he would be sitting there at lunch eating a bologna and cheese while his coworker dined on salmon rolls and chicken katsu. I know I’m being stupid. I have mostly gotten over it. But still, despite the cultural differences, maybe I let wifely expectations get the best of me?
Have any of you married folks been in a situation that has made you feel like a sub-par spouse?



  1. Reply

    Geek in Heels

    March 3, 2010

    I know exactly how you feel. After all, I mostly work from home on a relaxed schedule while my husband slaves away at his corporate job to put the roof over our heads.

    Sometimes I'll package up some leftovers in Tupperware for him to bring for lunch, but that's it. That's probably the most I've ever done for him in terms of providing lunch for him to consume at work.

    Do I feel bad? Yes. But luckily he's never said anything about it. I really do wonder why he decided to marry me sometimes.

  2. Reply


    March 3, 2010

    I think the most important thing is that two of you are on the same page. There are lots of "shoulds" in life. Someone always thinks someone else "should" do something different. As they say in Sex in the City – "Are we Shoulding ourselves to death?" It's a great question.

    If he's making himself something small, he is probably totally okay with it.

    When I was married, my husband was going to school and often working nights. If he had a late night, I'd make dinner for 2 and keep a plate for him in the fridge. He loved it, but it wasn't a consistant thing. Some nights he had to make his own meal. Wasn't a big deal, just a nice "plus" when I did it.

    This is probably some of the anxiety men go through when it comes to doing things for women. They are probably wracking their brains worrying "will she like it"???

    And in the end, it usually turns out alright. 😉 Even if it's an epic fail, we appreciate that they made the effort.

    What works for you two works for you too. 😉 Consider yourself a progressive wife that keeps/creates her own traditions with her husband. 🙂

  3. Reply


    March 3, 2010

    Wade makes me lunch 3-4 times a week. It's always peanut butter and jam. He just makes two sandwiches of the same thing.

    Yep, I'm the anti-wife. And I'm okay with it. So's Wade. (Most of the time!) I do other things, like clean. He hates cleaning chemcials. So that's my thing. He does laundry b/c I don't fold the socks right. Seriously – he says I don't fold the socks right, so he just does the laundry!

  4. Reply

    pink helicopter

    March 3, 2010

    PHubby doesn't like leftovers. So generally I will make him lunch. Nothing fancy though. Usually it's either a sandwich, or I toss a frozen burrito in a ziploc bag. Certainly no cooking/frying/gourmet (he wouldn't eat it anyway – he doesn't like to reheat food). Me, I am the leftover eater. And PHubby usually gets my frozen leftovers out of the freezer and hands them to me before I leave. We're both really busy all the time, but we also have to eat!!

    The funny thing is that it really is "my" job to make him the sandwich. My morning feels wrong if I don't do it. So now if I'm running behind he'll go so far as to get out the meat and mayo and bread and cutting board and knife — but he won't assemble it. That's my job. Don't be takin' it.

  5. Reply

    Mrs. Hot Cocoa

    March 3, 2010

    I couldn't have put this anxiety better myself. I don't make my husband lunch, but I do cook every night. Mostly because he makes a mess when he cooks and has ADD so can't really put together a meal with multiple components unless we're willing to wait hours upon hours to eat. But also because he has an awful awful job, and I feel the least I can do is make sure he has a hot, semi-nutritious meal when he comes home. That being said, there's a small part of me that's like "how the hell did we become the kind of couple where the wife cooks and the husband brings home the bacon"? Blech.

  6. Reply


    March 3, 2010

    i am the biggest sushi fan – but a bento box for lunch every day?! come on. people need variety.

    also, i used to feel terribly guilty for not making alex lunch for work. he did a pretty good job of making his own and sometimes he would make one for me.

    try making too much dinner and just packing up leftovers for the next day.

  7. Reply


    March 3, 2010

    p.s. very cute blog.

  8. Reply


    March 3, 2010

    I feel like that sometimes but I don't care. I'm also Asian but I was never the domestic type. My husband doesn't care too much either. He usually makes his own lunch, but on occasions when I'm preparing mine for my work, I do his lunch as well.

  9. Reply

    Chic 'n Cheap Living

    March 3, 2010

    I have a love hate relationship with cooking. I do all of it but just can't stand it sometimes because I HAVE to do it. Well he'll get cheap food in Singapore so I don't worry about lunch. I do worry that my inclination for partial messiness means my house is unkept. My mom reminds me about being tidy all the time. Sigh.

  10. Reply


    March 4, 2010

    I was at my hair stylist's last night, and mentioned how my fiance and I make lunches (we take turns), and my hair stylist was astounded! "You make his lunch???" "Well, no, we'll both make both of our lunches…" I agree that he is an adult and should not expect me to be his servant and make his lunches for him. I love to cook, but fixin a lunch ain't cookin- do it your damn self. Typically I make dinner (he's not the greatest cook, and I love cooking) and he'll wrap up the leftovers for lunch the following day, and one or both of us will put together snacks to go with it. It works pretty well. Sometimes he'll "joke" or hint that I should be making the lunches, and that results in me being less than thrilled with him for the rest of the day- or a few hours, or whatever. 🙂

  11. Reply

    honey my heart

    March 4, 2010

    oh my, i understand the feeling! luckily, the hubs works 5 minutes from home and goes home for lunch daily. he usually heats up leftovers and rarely buys. for a while i tried to make sure we cooked extra dinner or bought extra take out so that he could have leftovers the next day. that was my contribution to his lunch ;). i don't know what we will do if we move!