The Husband as a Human Being

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Anyone who’s been through Psych 101 or English 101 knows about archetypes. These collectively inherited representations of people. One that I find myself fighting the good fight against every day is the Husband (with a capital H!). I have a slowly simmering pot of hatred for the farce that we have made of married men.

Our society plays a cruel joke on these people with a penis by pretending that said penis prevents them from being viewed as people once they are wed. There’s a whole other post that’s bound to come in the future regarding the female version of this plight, but for now, let’s focus on the guys, shall we?
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Once a guy is married, he is expected to become the quintessential Husband. Regardless of what he was before he “put a ring on it.” He must be both a pillar of emotional strength for his wife to lean upon and attuned to not only his own emotions, but hers as well. He must do all the handy work about the house and make time to plan special romantic gestures for the privilege of loving his wife. He must read his wife’s mind by virtue of marriage (decoding “nothing”s with accuracy and care) while also asking her about her emotional state to display his love. And these are just the rules decided for him before he ever meets his blushing bride.

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Married men are displayed, on TV and in real life, as selfish buffoons. Small wonder there is a general fear of commitment. I suffered from such fear myself pre-husband. Women buy into this representation almost completely by the time we have graduated from high school. Then we burden the men of our lives with stupid expectations that have no grounds in reality and nothing to do with the man who stood in front of the altar with us. I’m lucky enough that I was not a fantasize-about-weddings/marriage kind of girl. Those ones seem to be hit hardest by the shock of real-life marriage. They have NO idea that they are going to be married to their husband the human vs THE Husband.

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And what’s so harmful about believing in THE Husband you might ask? It blinds you to the fact that your husband is, in fact, a human. If you feel special when he brings you flowers and want him to do more of it, do NOT sigh and whine about how Sally at work got flowers on her birthday. He is a human! He is an adult with plenty else to worry about! You need to say, “I really appreciate when you go out of your way to bring me flowers. It makes me feel special that you think of me and work to make me happy.” Then follow that up with something that makes him FEEL appreciated. Like smokin’-hot sex initiated by you. Or at the very least a trip to the hardware store to acquire the parts for the labor he’s agreed to do on the weekend for you.

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When women choose to believe in THE Husband, there is an underlying expectation that our needs will be met without any coherent, direct communication on our part. And, worse still, when those needs are not met, HE is to blame. He just doesn’t love you enough to do what he needs to for your marriage, for you. Because if he did love you enough, he’d know what to do to make you happy, right? Wrong. This is your unrealistic expectations taking over your mind.

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Women expect things of their spouses that they wouldn’t expect from their best friend of twenty years. This is because we see our friends as people, and our husbands as characters in our life story. It is grossly unfair and it is past time to own up to it. It is time to recognize that our society has littered social media with memes and quotes telling us all about what a “real” Husband should say and do. And that, mostly, that litter is a pile of lies.

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The person sharing a life with you deserves as much, if not exponentially more, courtesy and communication as that co-worker you always complain about him to. Take some time to acknowledge that he is not merely a poor human substitute for the fantasy, self-sacrificing, romantic prince of your imaginings. He is a person, a human being. He has his flaws and strengths and you chose him.

Be aware, friends.
– MM

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Imbalance

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I have found when talking to anyone that is struggling with dissatisfaction that there is often a problem of imbalance in their lives. They poured every ounce of their effort into a relationship that eventually dissipated, or they used all their emotional and financial resources to get ahead at their job just to look around and find themselves yearning for a life partner, or they gave up their whole identity to raise their children, who suddenly want nothing to do with them, and a friend or job is not to be found. We live lives of utter imbalance. This is not to stay that a stay at home mom cannot enjoy parenting instead of a corporate career or that a career woman must get a man or be depressed. What we need to recognize is what each one of us holds as our true needs and what our balance should be.

Mandatory reading for my job at one time was the book Juggling Elephants. An entire book dedicated to the idea that we sustain a lifestyle that doesn’t allow us overall satisfaction, let alone happiness. The book goes on to tell you that you simply have to give each part of your life the attention it is due.

Are you a career badass that desires a partner but hasn’t gone on a date in months? Balance that out! Are you a stay at home mom that desperately wants to work on a kick-ass program and watch it succeed? Balance that out! Are you a girlfriend who wants to feel like more than just half of a relationship? Balance that out!

Clearly if it were as easy as that, we wouldn’t find ourselves in this position so often. How on earth do we end up imbalanced to begin with? Often, it’s because we go after low-hanging fruit. An intelligent person with a knack for training and a great handle on office politics, that person gets easy satisfaction by excelling at their job. Then they add a little more effort and garner a promotion. Give it a bit more, and there’s an opportunity to travel the world on behalf of the company. Suddenly that person finds themselves traveling five out of seven days a week and is never rooted long enough to find a mate like they planned to back when they started that job. So what to do? HOW do you balance it out?

1) Recognize the different areas of your life. Work, relationships, and self. Also recognize that they should be of fairly equal importance.

2) Time study yourself – Four days in a row, say Fri-Mon, write out what you are doing/thinking about and for how long. Spend 3 hours daily texting your man? Eight hours at work plus another two thinking about it? Write it all down.

3) Take this information and sort it out. What goes under the Work category? Relationships? Self? Are you seeing a pattern? I know I did.

4) Get rid of as many things as you can in your over-full category. Don’t text your boyfriend three hours each day. Call or meet up with him after work for an hour instead. Don’t spend your whole weekend Pinning things and reading in your pajamas. Make a date with your sister to actually MAKE one of those damn crafts. You see where I’m going with this.

5) Make goals and track your new balance. Getting out of our comfort zone is usually a pretty anxiety filled endeavor. So make a plan. Send out a calendar invite to your sister, don’t just tell yourself you’ll get around to asking her. Have a sit-down with the boyfriend telling him you are going to focus more on moving up at work and won’t be texting during the day. Then lock that phone in a drawer. Tell your boss that you are interested in local job opportunities and ask her to keep you in mind for them. Just take action! When you try your time study again, it should look more balanced.

Balance is key to finding happiness. You wouldn’t want to only eat chocolate cake for the rest of your life. Eventually you’d think, “I would kill for a carrot right now!” So don’t allow your life to become so one dimensional. It’s not about “having it all.” It’s about not being consumed by one thing. Be multi-faceted, friends.

MM

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