Today's installment of Tell the Truth Tuesday is brought to you by the myriad of marriage bloggers out there. In the last few weeks, I've seen a huge influx of posts on facebook and pinterest about making your marriage "better". "Ten tips to a happier marriage" "Marriage isn't for you" "Tips from a divorced man" and so on and so forth. Lots of people have been sharing them and more have been reading them.
I'll be the first to admit that I like to read things like that; I am always looking for ways to improve our marriage, however, these things are getting pretty obnoxious.
The underlying theme in all these articles is that the WIFE is supposed to be the one making the grand gestures, the WIFE is the one who should be forgiving, the WIFE is the one who ought to be complimenting her husband and thanking him for taking the time to watch his children. The wife, the wife, the wife. Oh sure, every once in a while you see something about what a husband should do but the overwhelming majority of these articles are aimed at how wives ought to be doing more. You should be praising your husband more, you should be having more sex at HIS request, you should write him love notes, pray for him, and accept that as a man these actions do not come naturally to him.
Wait a minute. Men aren't capable of thanking their wife for dinner? Men aren't capable of respecting a woman who says NO when they aren't in the mood for sex? Men aren't capable of being an equal emotional partner in a marriage? What kind of asshattery is that?
Why are we telling women that the sole person in the marriage who is responsible for emotional happiness is them? Why are we telling women that they really should cut their husband slack for not watching the kids because it's just not in "their nature"? It's bunk, plain and simple.
All marriages are different and some, I suppose, work well when one partner is constantly building up the other and forgiving all of their "transgressions". Many years ago my mother imparted the following wisdom to me "Marriage is never a 50-50 relationship. Sometimes you are 75 and he is 25 and sometimes you are 10 and he is 90, the important part is that you are always at 100% and no one feels neglected or like they are doing too much" That has always stuck with me. I remind myself of that when I am doing dishes after I've made a huge meal for the family and Geo lays back down to go to sleep even though I really could use the help....but on the flip side of that, he works 12 hour shifts so I can skip a day of work once in a while to go hang out with the kids at school for school functions. Sometimes, I pack Geo's lunch and write him a sweet note, and sometimes he leaves a diet coke for me in the fridge and a text that says "left the last diet coke for you, love you". And sometimes I leave him to his own devices for lunch and HE drinks the last diet coke. It's not perfect BUT it works for us because we both realize that marriage is a balancing act. It's not all about ME making all the gestures and it's not all about HIM being a useless jackass as most of these articles seem to suggest.
The one good thing that has come out of all of these recent posts? People are talking about marriage and about what hard work it is and how NO it's not just the wife who should be building the husband up, the husband can do the same. That husbands are capable of being good fathers and don't need constant praise to do so. And sometimes wives aren't perfect and sometimes husbands aren't perfect but at the end of the day, we feel good in our marriages and if we don't, we should talk about it.
And, that, really is the bottom line. Talk about it. Don't assume your partner is a mind reader and don't assume that they will pick up all the slack when you aren't pulling your weight.
What's YOUR best marriage advice?