Last month, in the spirit of romance, I penned a love letter to my husband called, “The Man Behind How I Have It All.“
It was a little tribute to the wonderful partner whom I have in life, the man who is always supportive of me and is truly a team player when it comes to parenting.
But, as many things go when it comes to judging another couple’s marriage, many were quick to jump on the “bad wife” wagon.
Some of the comments I got went a little something like this,
“What exactly does this woman do all day? It sounds like he does almost everything!!?”
“I wish I was a pampered princess.”
And I admit, I bristled a bit at the implications. Hey! I thought. How can anyone try to judge how much I do in my marriage, even if it were a competition — which it totally isn’t, right?
But then again, the comments made me take pause and wonder:
Do I do enough for my husband?
I’ve praised my husband up and down for always getting up with the kids at night, changing the baby’s diaper and swaddling like a master before handing the bundled-up babe off to me for a feeding. I’ve been grateful that he has always been willing to support my writing career by letting me have time to myself. I admire how he never complains when his hobbies got pushed to the middle of the night, long after the rest of the house has fallen asleep.
And although I think it’s so important to take the time to be grateful for my husband, if I’m being honest, I will say that I also need a gut-check if I’m being as equal of a partner as I expect him to be.
It’s very easy for us to find articles and magazines and blog posts that proclaim men need to do their fair share and that women “deserve” those breaks because, after all, we’re working and baby-rearing and scrubbing toilets, gosh darn it.
But the truth is, I don’t “deserve” any breaks out of my day any more than my husband “deserves” to have a wife who cares for his children.
We do these things for each other because we choose to, because we believe that love means forgoing ourselves for the other sometimes. I’m not “in charge” of my marriage, and my husband isn’t some roommate who has to be on his best behavior around me while I’m busy having it all because that’s my right as a woman.
We both sacrifice and lay down our little offerings of love at the feet of the other, hoping to be understood and recognized for our offerings.
So, yes, commenters of the less-than-admiring variety, I admit that it’s good for me to take the time to realize that “having it all” isn’t all about me. It’s also about supporting and respecting my husband, in both big and little ways. My contributions of love may not look the same as his, nor do I think they will stay the same our whole lives, but nonetheless, there you have it: the ways I show my love to my husband are the ways I help make sure he has it all, too.
When I take the time to make his lunch every single night, I am loving him.
When I decided to take on the responsibility of all the house cleaning, I am loving him.
When I stay home with our children to raise them in the way we both feel is right, I am loving him.
When I get up every two hours to nurse a hungry baby, I am loving him.
When I will push with every ounce of strength I have to deliver the baby I am carrying, I am loving him.
When I keep track of the family finances, I am loving him.
When I organize a monthly calendar and take our children to the doctor and remind him of his meeting, I am loving him.
The older and wiser I’ve grown, the more I’ve realized that marriage is a two-way street.
And sometimes, I have to make sure I’m not taking a little detour.