Philanthropist, Melinda Gates Unveils The Simple Principle That Has Helped Her Marriage To Bill Gates Grow Stronger

Most household chores are generally presumed to be the work of women, especially in Nigeria where men are often ridiculed for helping their spouses with something as little as doing the dishes. Perhaps these Nigerian macho-men can learn a few things from billionaire Bill Gates, American business magnate best recognized as the founder of Microsoft Corporation, who has been married to his lovely wife Melinda Gates, for more than 2 decades.

In a recent media interview with Business Insider US Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell, Melinda who co-founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private charitable organisation with her husband in 2000, revealed the secret to their blissful marriage.

One secret to Melinda and Bill Gates’ long-lasting and happy marriage can be boiled down to a simple principle: Make sure your partnership is balanced.

In the chat, the Billionaire philanthropist Melinda Gates also discussed her new book, “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World,” and share musings of her career and marriage.

READ ALSO: World’s Richest Man, Bill Gates, Won’t Let His Children Inherit His Wealth. See Why!

The Gates have been married for 25 years. The power couple met in 1987, when Melinda joined Microsoft as a product manager. The pair were unexpectedly seated next to each other at a work dinner and hit it off.

When Gates asked his now wife for a first date in two weeks’ time, she initially rejected him because he was not “spontaneous enough.” Gates called her two hours later and asked for a date that night.

The two have since founded the world’s largest charity, which is focused on ending poverty, and have raised three children: daughters Jennifer Katharine Gates (born 1996) and Phoebe Adele Gates (born 2002), and son Rory John Gates (born 1999).

Despite their busy schedules, the two make time to do the dishes and other housework as a family each night, Gates told Shontell.

It might sound trivial, but splitting this kind of “unpaid” household work, which takes a lot of time and traditionally falls on women more than men, is key to helping solve gender inequality, improving poverty, and boosting the overall economy.

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Gates says that women, on average, spend seven more years doing “unpaid” household work than men over their lifetimes. And if women are able to lower their weekly unpaid work from seven hours per week down to five, their workforce productivity is boosted about 20%.

Divvying up chores can make relationships stronger too. Gates writes in her book that when she was first pregnant with her oldest child, she felt alone in her marriage to Bill. Her husband was working and traveling all the time as the CEO of Microsoft. And Gates didn’t know who she wanted to be in her marriage.

Over time, and through a series of important conversations, the couple learned how to become more balanced. One of those balances turned into family dish washing, after Melinda had a fit of frustration at the dinner table. Gates told Business Insider:

“One night I realized I was still in the kitchen a good 10, 15 minutes after everybody else doing the last-minute things.

“Sometimes in the moment my frustration or anger just comes out. So one night we stood up after dinner and people in the family started to melt away, like, off they go upstairs. So hand on my hips, I’m, like, ‘Nobody leaves the kitchen until I leave the kitchen!’”

Since that night, it’s become a Gates tradition. The Gates family, including Bill, do the dishes together every night before going to bed and no one needs a reminder.

READ ALSO: Pentecostal Preacher Chides Men On The Archaic Believe That Kitchen Is Only Reserved For Women

The night before the Business Insider interview, Gates says she and Bill divided up the dish washing after dinner.

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