I think we all enter marriage disillusioned and foolish. I watch dating shows and chuckle at the silly singles who think that their “one and only” is going to “complete them”. No honey…they won’t. No matter how amazing that person is, they will still fail you. They are imperfect just like you are. In fact, in the years (or months!) to come, no matter how much you adore them right now, you are going to treat them like the scum of the earth at some point.
Society tells us that relationships are about finding the person who makes us feel good but in nearly 15 years of being together, I now realize that a truly successful marriage puts a heavy emphasis on making the other person feel good. It lets go of that unrealistic expectation that someone else can fulfill your heart’s desires and it selflessly serves whether the person deserves it or not.
I now see how those unrealistic expectations and disillusionments were sabotaging my own happiness in our earlier years. The school of hard knocks taught me to refuse society’s norm of self-serving relationships (which is bound to leave us wanting) and by releasing Tim from my laundry list of expectations I gained an amazing marriage! I am happier than ever and we’re crazy in love. What more could you ask for!
On that note, here is a post from my archives that still gets me fired up today, four years later.
The Problem with Women
Equal pay, maternity leave, the right to own property … these are all good things that resulted from the feminist movement. I get that. But somehow, what was meant for good, has spiraled out of control and created a new breed of woman. A woman that is less of a woman if she stays home with her children. A woman that thinks she needs to not only wear the pants but is armed and ready with, “Honey, know your place or I’m outta here.” A woman that can’t go a week without seeing her girlfriends and emotionally “venting” about all her man’s faults.
Somehow, bra-burning turned into man-hating. Turn on the TV, read a novel, check your email—you can’t go very far without getting your fill of man-bashing. Think of sitcom characters like Doug and Carrie from The King of Queens. He’s a big doofus and she’s a super-hot fiery woman that makes it clear he’s lucky to have her. Or reflect on the zillion and one email forwards you receive with jokes about inferior, lackluster, and downright dumb men. Our men.
Have we women just created our own self-fulfilling prophecy? In ridiculing men, both publicly and privately, have we lost sight of their strength? Some of us devote so much time and energy into complaining about them that we allow little or no time at all for appreciation. I know I spent enough time in this category and it doesn’t end well!
Do you believe that your husband truly believes he is a great husband? Or a great dad? How about just a good dad? Because I’d venture to say that if you could really read their minds, you’d hear inner thoughts that would shock you. Thoughts of not being good enough, smart enough, tough enough, kind enough, rich enough…the list goes on and on.
Perhaps their not as impenetrable as we like to think. Shaunti Feldhahn, in her survey and studies on the male psyche for her book For Women Only, calls it the “Imposter Complex”.
“The majority of men do want to be good husbands. But in the same way they worry that they may not know everything about being a good employee, they secretly worry that they don’t know how to succeed at being a good husband, father, provider, or handyman. Not surprisingly, men said they judge themselves—and feel that others judge them—based on the happiness and respect of their wives.”
If this is true, then we as women have incredible power at our fingertips. By our honest affirmation, we calm their inner fears, encouraging our men to tackle anything. By our disdain, we only affirm the inability they feel, whether it’s true or not, and create apathetic men afraid to do anything for fear of being wrong … again.
“Home is the most important place for a man to be affirmed. If a man knows that his wife believes in him, he is empowered to do better in every area of his life. A man tends to think of life as a competition and a battle, and he can energetically go duke it out if he can come home to someone who supports him unconditionally, who will wipe his brow and tell him he can do it.”
With all this stirring in my heart, imagine my reaction as I passed by a Hallmark store the other day. On their most prominent end-aisle display sat gifts and wrapping supplies “for Dad,” including a gift bag that said in giant lettering: “Mr. (kind of) Fix-It” and a paper weight with the bolded statement “If I only had a brain.”
Please tell me which husband or father has either of these gifts on their wish list! Whether the statements ring true or not, I don’t know of a single man who wants to be reminded of inadequacy by the people he wants to impress the most…his wife and children.
Today, I challenge you to spend some time thinking about how great your man is and then go tell him about it. He’s all ears.
Natasha Drisdelle (aka Domestica) is a mom of twins, baby-weight survivor, and health & fitness blogger who lives in California’s Silicon Valley. She posted her before-and-after pics on the immortal internet as living proof that morphing into a gelatinous baby-growing-factory doesn’t have to mean your bikini days are over. You can find her on Google+, Facebook and Twitter, cutting through the myths and guilt that keep women from realizing true health.