Monday, July 11, 2011

Thoughts on men and marriage.

Someone posted this Facebook status the other day:

Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep. Wait for the guy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when in your sweats, who thinks you're pretty without makeup on... One who is constantly reminding you how much he cares and how lucky he is to have YOU. The one who turns to his friends and says, that's her....
The person who posted this... take a guess whether they were male or female???

Hmmm... well, however that may have turned out, it was a girl. I hope that's obvious! I don't know this girl very well, so I didn't post my disagreement in response. And in any case, no matter how badly I may want the job, I can't be the Opinion Police all the time.

I see statements like this a lot. It's a continuation of the sentiments in most romantic comedies, chick-lit, and other media geared toward women. Find a man who WORSHIPS you. I can't decide if it's feminism at it's strongest ("a woman is so powerful that she deserves god-like status") or the female ego at its worst ("I need a man constantly praising and validating my existence"). Either way, in my opinion, the expectation is a terrible basis for any relationship.

First of all, Brian is the best husband in the world. But he does not do these things. Stay awake and watch me sleep? HECK no! Like any normal human, he values his sleep, as he should. If I'm having a bad dream about snakes and spiders crawling into bed and I freak out and scream and run around the room in my sleep, does he gently calm me with soft words and a tender hug? NO. Covering his ears, he hollers from his pillow, "There's nothing THERE! Lay down and go to SLEEP!"

Does he call me 'beautiful' instead of 'hot'? Does it matter, if your man is complimenting the way you look? Sometimes he calls me 'pretty'... oh no! 'Pretty' isn't worshipful enough!

Here's the one that really gets me: Does he want to show me off to the world in my sweats.... or, for that matter, ever? Yikes. Let's dissect this one, shall we? Say I'm a young woman looking for a suitable mate, and (bear with me here) I'm compiling the list above as my desired husband-credentials. And here's the crux of my list: I want him to treat me like a priceless princess, delicate, gentle, exquisite, and beautiful (don't even try to call me 'hot', buddy). But then at the bottom of the list, I add that I want him to drag me around town 'showing me off' to the WORLD? Like... Queen Vashti? Like a fabulous new car or a cute new puppy? So my dream husband will - ideally - announce one morning, "I'm taking you to Crabtree Valley Mall tonight, baby! I'm going to parade you around and holler that you are MY WIFE! And then we're going to come home and I'm going to start a blog called, and I'm going to take lots of pictures of you in your sweats and then I'm going to learn how to optimize my blog in the search engines so that the WORLD can see you and know that you are MY WIFE!!!"

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, that would be so romantic. Wouldn't it?! SIGH. Girls, let's get some 100-calorie packs and rent Beastly, shall we?

Does Brian constantly remind me how LUCKY he is to have me? Does he constantly remind me how much he cares? Not in the way that Facebook status meant it. Brian's a man of few words, and he doesn't spend them sitting me down on the couch, resting his chin in his soft little palm and spouting poems about how God showed His love by sending me to light up his life with love and laughter.

This is my whole point: that list above, that's not what you should look for in a man. Brian doesn't do most of those things... at least, not on a regular basis. But you know what means more to me? Brian might call me 'hot' every now and then (horror of horrors!)... but more importantly, he never speaks badly of me to family or friends or raises his voice to me in anger. Brian might not stay awake just to watch me sleep (ok, does that not have an 'ick' factor?)... but more importantly, he wakes me up early to go jogging with him before he leaves for work because he wants my company. Brian might not want to show me off to the world when I'm in my sweats... but more importantly, he's content to spend an entire weekend with me, just hanging out with me. I'm enough.

He might never gush about how beautiful I am without makeup on... but more importantly, he entertains my crazy opinions
about a million different issues and reluctantly participates in my hypothetical quandaries, respecting that we can disagree. He doesn't constantly remind me how lucky he is to have ME... but more importantly, he makes a 180-mile round-trip each day, to bring in a paycheck and provide security and stability for us. He doesn't open my car door for me... but he wants me to be a stay-at-home mom when we have children. He doesn't tell me that I am his 'precious princess', but he does support and encourage me to believe that I can do anything I set my mind to. Brian is super-stubborn, hard-headed, and occasionally pessimistic... but on the flip side, that means he is rock-solid, diligent, realistic, and careful in his decisions. And that's important to me.

If I ever have a daughter, I will encourage her to look for a man just like Brian. I'll encourage her to view marriage as a relationship between two equal children of God, esteeming, respecting, and being grateful for each other. I'll tell her not to look for a man that makes her feel 'happy' or 'beautiful', but instead who makes her feel like part of an unstoppable team.

And if I ever have a son, I'll tell him to run fast and far from a woman whose only desire is for a man to worship her. I started out my marriage with that expectation, and I therefore spent much of the first year or two feeling disappointed. Along the way, I've learned from a thousand sources that feelings ought to be thrown into the trashcan... and that the more I focus on changing myself into a great wife, Brian 'becomes' (or rather, I notice him as) a better and better husband. I married a deep, diligent, stubborn man, and I feel like I won the lottery.



  1. I totally agree with you. I feel like hubby and I are quite a force to be reckoned with- truly an unstoppable team. If there is something we are committed to doing, we are going to knock it out of the park. He is also a man of few words and cheesy romantic gifts, but I know without a doubt how much he loves me and our little girl, and that he would do anything for us to be safe and happy. I hope our little girl looks for a man like him, too!!

  2. Yay, A! Yay that we both got good ones! I just reread parts of 'The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands' a few nights ago. So many really good ones get looked over or go unappreciated because they don't fit a different, more dreamy, romantic mold.

  3. I love this...completely. Awesome. I feel like it needs to splash all over teen mags. Golly, you said everything perfectly!

  4. Thanks, Kathleen... you're so sweet!