What is it, exactly, that you want? What do you want for your future? For your children? For your present? The problem is that the male population doesn’t have it as easy as we would like to think they do. Be a gentleman, but let me open my own door. Be romantic but let me order my own food and drinks. Be polite but rip my clothes off like you just can’t stand another moment with them on. As women, I’m not sure that we know what we want exactly.
When I met the man that is now my husband I was fresh out of a one year relationship with the epitome of a rebound guy. He was younger, more adventurous, less responsible, and wanted nothing more from me than light hearted fun. At first I was all about it. I was a newly divorced single mother who had vowed to never get married again. I wanted easy. I wanted a good time. I wanted to feel pretty and desired. I did. For a short time. Then before I knew it I was pressuring him every time we got home from a night out…. “what are we doing?” “What was I doing?” is the question I should have been asking. I wasn’t being honest with myself. In my heart I wanted more and because I couldn’t be honest with myself… I couldn’t be honest with him.
After an awkward break up that lasted weeks I went out with my friend. For lack of better words… she drug me out. Kicking and screaming, with no make up on and not dressed to be in a club on it’s grand opening. I found a spot at a booth and quickly ordered my double tequila on the rocks with an extra lime and tried to hide as much as possible. It didn’t work. He spotted me the minute he walked in the room and whether I’d like to admit it or not, I spotted him too. I chucked it up to another summer fling… partying and dancing our way through the weekends and texting away the weekdays. I fought with myself the entire time. Catching myself upset that he hadn’t called that day or swooning because he did.
Fast forward almost four years later and here I am. Married again. Four children, all together, living in our home. Barely making it through the week’s activities. Always wishing he would help more, take me on dates more often, offer to rub my back on stressful days… but not wanting to divulge exactly how much I spent at TJ Maxx or Target… ripping tags off of shirts before he gets home… staying late at work after clients to drink my glass of wine in silence. Complaining to my friends about how insensitive he is. All the while he is complaining about the nagging, never being happy, him never doing enough. So which is it? Do I want the space to be his equal or do I want to be up under him and provided for?
My grandfather passed away three years ago. I always said that I wished they made men like my grandpa today. He was a true provider. My grandma never worked if she didn’t want to. She stayed home, raised babies, made dinners, cleaned the house… he adored her and he showed it. He appreciated her and realized he couldn’t have the life he had without her. And she realized the same. They loved each other and picked at each other right up until the day he died. I worried about my grandma being alone in the house my grandpa had built for her so I visited often. Slowly I heard her saying things that I could hardly believe. She didn’t know how to pump gas! What?!?! My grandpa took both cars once a week and filled the tanks. She hadn’t eaten a taco since she was a girl… My grandpa didn’t like them. The only pizza she had ever had was supreme… because that’s what he liked. I began to realize that she was finding herself in her 80’s! Things I had done in my teens… things I had learned about myself years ago… she was just now figuring out. And the best part… she wasn’t mad. She didn’t resent him for it. She didn’t seem angry or reckless… she seemed… happy. She had given her life to him… literally… and she was ok with it… because he gave his life to her too. This is what it was meant to be like to love someone. We aren’t supposed to be so self focused that we grieve losing ourselves to have a good marriage… we are supposed to find joy in discovering who we are IN our marriages. Who we are as a couple. Who we are as two people who are now one. It’s not about being underneath him… or him being over me… it’s about giving up our lives for each other… finding the gate that suits all four legs. This is why we are so torn as women… giving up our lives to be what he wants is frightening because that’s only half of the equation. It’s about caring for each other using our strengths. It’s about putting the other person ahead of ourselves and attempting to meet their needs because you desperately want that person to be happy. Not because they deserve it. It’s about being co-dependent on each other. Submitting to each other. Sacrificing tacos and time for each other. And not resenting each other. So in truth… we want both. To be his equal in sacrifice and to be able to count on him for doing the same.