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Every work day, my husband comes home, changes out of suit into sweats, and either does his weight workout in the basement or dons his reading glasses and sits down to play chess. On the dining room table off to his right, Keith places a tattered book, its cover chewed by our dog when he was a puppy, the binding often repaired with Elmer’s glue, then positions dark and light magnetic pieces on the metal travel board, chooses a game in the book of classics and begins with the opening move. Other than our usual “How was your day” and any pressing communication, the house hears nothing except the sound of dinner preparation and the click of wooden pieces moving on or off the board. The lines of Keith’s face relax in concentration as he marches one after another across the 8-by-8 checkered battlefield. He knows which side will win; it’s the strategy and tactics that pique his curiosity. Players in prescribed roles, pawns, rooks, knights and bishops hop and scoot, protecting their Queen and King until the end. When I hear the swish of each side being scooped up and placed back into their respective felt-lined drawers, I know that Keith is ready to be home.

“What kind of music would you like to hear tonight, Sweetheart?” he asks, and lights the candles. During dinner, I jabber to my heart’s content, and afterwards, Keith does the dishes. Role-playing and division of labor – it’s a marriage thing.

Who does what in your household?

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