Everything You Need to Know.
This post was originally published October 24, 2010.
And you won’t believe where we’re going…
A year ago I reviewed a book calledSpilt Milk, and while I enjoyed the entire book, there was one passage in particular that never left my heart. Author Linda Vujnov writes:
“‘All men are idiots, and I married the king of them.’ I was stunned as I read the license plate frame while leaving the grocery store. Although I had a few ideas of my own for a personal license plate frame, this one wouldn’t have made the list of options. The disrespect was pooling in the parking lot stall…When we find a man who becomes our husband, wonderful things transpire. Not only does this man acquire new titles like husband, lover, and dad; he no doubt becomes our rock of Gibraltar, protector, best friend, and biggest fan. As wives, the importance of encouragement, respect, and support for these men whom we love should be forefront. Equally important is reminding them how much we love and need them.”
I promise we’re heading to the hotel room now…
A week ago I flew to Las Vegas to speak at BlogWorld and New Media Expo. I enjoy speaking at various conferences around the country partly because it is my only chance to spend time with blogging and social media colleagues, and BWE is uniquely enjoyable because the crowd of 4,000 attendees is far more diverse than many of the other events I attend. I especially was looking forward to hanging out with a dad blogging buddy this year and also had the pleasure of getting to know three of his colleagues during our whirlwind night after a long day of networking and learning at the conference. During some downtime between evening events, the five of us crashed in one blogger’s room and chatted for about an hour. I was struck by the fact that I suddenly had this unique window into the mind of dads other than those in my own family, and what was most compelling was how different they were from my own husband.
A word about my husband: he has faults. Tons of them. He is not terribly handy, tends to miss details in instructions, and particularly when it comes to our rambunctious son has a short fuse. But he is also intelligent, supportive, hard-working, loving, kind, and unbelievably loyal. He is just as willing to come to the aid of someone else’s wife as his own offering to pick up medicine at the store and drop off food to friends in need or during times of illness. Despite the fact that he and our son are like oil and water, in general he is better with children than any other man I’ve met, keeping them occupied, entertaining them, teaching them, guiding them through tasks, knowing instinctively how to care for them and meet their needs better than many moms I’ve met. His support has allowed me to change my focus on a dime and take my professional life in new directions. Not only did he tolerate my shift from devoted housewife to work at home mom, but he purchased the laptop that facilitated this change and without prompting, took on more of the household responsibilities, all while excelling at his own job, which takes him out of the house for eleven hours a day.
Our marriage works for me because my impulsive and entrepreneurial spirit has been yoked with a steadfast, constant old soul. Even as my income has risen to match his, there is an unspoken understanding that his job carries more weight in his responsibility to build our retirement, secure our family’s health insurance, and earn the pension that will cushion our savings in our golden years. He is the anchor that allows me to travel without fear on uncharted waters…
But what happens when the impulsive and entrepreneurial spirit is the husband? In that hotel room I could feel that I was with kindred spirits, idea people, dreamers. And yet the weight of responsibility that intrinsically comes along with being a father and husband – yes, even in 2010 – was palpable, almost stifling. At one point I asked one of the dads if he feels like he is less able to chase after his entrepreneurial goals because he is “the man,” and without pause, his answer was yes.
I am not saying that this is the case in every relationship, but the same internal and external cues that not only pulled me to leave my career in education and stay home full time to raise my children also exist for dads, telling them that instead and above all else, it is their responsibility to provide their family’s financial security. I have long thought and written about the complicated choices that women face, and I wonder now if men in actuality have fewer choices than women when it comes to the direction of their lives…
I gave my husband a knowing look and a wink when the “honor and obey” part of our marriage vows entered into discussion with our pastor, but the bottom line is this: My husband is the blessing in my life that has allowed me to live a blessed life. The responsibility of fatherhood for those who truly take it seriously is a weighty one that I do not believe I will ever fully understand and which fills me with awe. I respect those men in that hotel room, the ones who are providing their wives and children with a soft place to land and at the same time, in stolen moments, are trying to create a greater life for themselves and their families. It’s so easy to take jabs at our husbands, that tribe of idiots from that unhappy woman’s license plate, but let’s instead make an effort to praise and support them.
What are you going to do this week to let your husband know what he means to you?
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