Friday, September 20, 2013

because he deserves his own post too

The surest way to bring tears to my eyes: in your moment of vulnerability, tell me you love me.  I will feel honored, blessed beyond deserving and like the luckiest girl in the world.  This is something my husband gets.

I'm going to tread lightly with this next thought, because I love the freedom we have to write whatever is in our hearts and I don't want to heard as only saying I don't think women should be writing about women's issues... but, I have to say, it makes me sad how few articles, blog posts and even status updates there are praising the good men of the world.  Good men, like my husband.  Good men that work long hours at thankless jobs... just like their wives.  Good men that pull double duty, going to school and working full-time... just like their wives.  Good men that love their children, sacrifice daily for their happiness... just like their wives.  Good men that are overwhelmed with the various and conflicting expectations placed on their shoulders... just like, you guessed it, their wives.

Maybe it's because there are more 'mommy bloggers' than there are 'daddy bloggers' or maybe because there are more mommy readers, but it seems to me there is an unfair imbalance of articles and blog traffic about how great our men are.  There is a constant call for women to be appreciated, for husbands to understand how hard we work, for the men of the world to give us more girls' nights because, dang it, we've earned it!

It makes me sad sometimes.

Because it's so easy to get caught up in it.  The idea that men don't get us.  That my husband just doesn't appreciate how hard I work, how taxing it is to keep up with home and hearth and children going in five different directions.  I want to be validated; and reading all those blogs and articles about the woes of womanhood, and especially of motherhood, make me clammer all the more to be seen.

Here's the reality.  My husband does see me.  He loves me.  He appreciates me.  Does the fact that he often leaves his dirty socks in the living room floor mitigate that?  No.  Does his need to unwind after a brutal day at work negate his ability to see me and my needs when he walks in the door?  No.  But do I always understand that?  No.

I was watching a video months back, a TED talk by Brene Brown, in which she quoted a husband commenting to her once that men experience just as much shame as women and in much the same way.  He said (and I'm paraphrasing here): My wife and my daughters would rather see me dead than to see me fall off my white horse.  He said, in essence, that the women in his life had an expectation that he always be there to help buoy them up, that he stay atop his horse, that he remain strong, that he remain the protector and defender.  All the time?

This was a painful awakening for me.  I realized that I too was placing, had always been placing, that expectation on my husband's shoulders.  I wanted him to see me in my struggles, to reach out to me and help me, to rescue me because I was exhausted.  And I had no patience for him when he needed those things from me.  It hurts my heart that, honestly, for years I would (in my mind) demand he cowboy up and get back on that horse because he had no idea what I was going through and I needed him.  How dare he need me too?!?

And yet, he has loved me still.

Wedding Day!  June 9, 2000

I have learned over the last thirteen years to appreciate, completely, truly appreciate, all this good man does for me and our family.  Everyday he gets out of bed, puts on his uniform (be it camouflage, shirt-and-tie, or a embroidered polo) and bravely heads out the front door for an unrelenting fight.  And the fight begins immediately with the traffic.  The fight continues at work as the world and all its enticements are forced upon him.  The fight continues with belittling bosses and offensive coworkers.  It continues (for my husband) with criminally minded teens and used to continue with threats of global war and terrorism.  And the fight doesn't stop until he walks in our front door... or does it?  Does it ever stop for him?  Certainly not on those days when I refuse to see him and acknowledge his struggles and demand he swoop in on his stead and rescue me from argumentative children and dirty dishes.

How many of his battle wounds are from me?

And yet, he has loved me still.

Even in all those moments when he has been fighting his battles alone because I simply couldn't see past my own battles, he has loved me still.

And what does he get for all his valiant efforts?  A fancy house?  A yacht?  A membership to an exclusive country club?  No.  His reward, in his eyes, is far greater than any wealth the world has to offer and it is all that he has ever asked for: his reward is me; his reward is my heart and my love.  His reward is the product of our love, our children.  His reward is a knowing we are safe, well-cared for, that our needs are met.  Good grief, how did I ever get so lucky?

Happy to be together after months of being a world apart.

Women, love your men.  See them.  Tend to their wounds when they come home from battling the world for you... yes, they do it for you.  Please, don't forget that.

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