11 July 2008

Find out what it means to me

Marriage experts emphasize that husbands need, above all, the respect of their wives. But just as these experts warn wives against trampling their husband's feelings due to some ignorant belief that it doesn't matter as much to men, they are wise to point out that wives need respect (the real thing, not a kinder, sillier, wife-ier version) from their husbands too.

Just a little bit!

My husband and I spend our lives in very different worlds now, and it's easy for me to schlog into the swamp of bitter thoughts about how my talents are being wasted (oh, I'm so talented! :P ) and the world is passing me by and a friendly idiot could do this job (better than I do, in fact, what with being friendly). Knowing that Dad knows all these things to be false goes a long way toward keeping the babies from spending their days under the dark cloud that likes to materialize over my head. He understands that reading a pile of picture books every frakking day, having every single thing I try to do interrupted by crying, and good old endless excreta are not somehow easier for me just because I happen to be female and this happens to be my vocation.

An imperfect example, of course

Wives especially need respect when they leave the rat race (whether school or work), with its included provisions of self-worth and collegial respect, for the rugrat race and its impossibly slow yield of gratifying results for all the long days and nights. Nothing means more to me than when my husband seeks out my opinion on something, when he expresses admiration for something I've done or said, when he shows me that he considers me his complement and meet helper. A relatively sane wife doesn't have to feel like "the help" (at least, not for any damaging amount of time) if her husband doesn't want her to.

NB: Obviously I wouldn't be able to post this if my husband weren't very good at it.


Susan said...

I totally agree with what you say about how buoy-ing it is to have your husband's respect, to know that he values your brains and your opinion, and to know that he is appreciative of your work to bring up his children and care for their daily needs.

But for some reason, one thing in this post really captured my attention and is making me wonder. (I have no answers, just a lot to wonder about!)
>>"Wives especially need respect when they leave the rat race, with its included provisions of self-worth and collegial respect, for the rugrat race..."

You know what that means? That means we have respect for ratrace. Sure, we can point out all sorts of things wrong with it, and why there's not lasting value there. But we like the strokes. We quietly accept the pervasive societal belief that "out there" is where we're real people. No matter how much we know better, no matter how much we love our children and even enjoy being with them, no matter how much we believe otherwise, we still believe the ratrace is where it's at, and we have respect for it.

Reb. Mary said...

<< the real thing, not a kinder, sillier, wife-ier version >>

Absolutely. We've used Emerson Eggerichs' *Love & Respect* and *Cracking the Communication Code* for premarital/marital counseling and classes, to good effect. People really relate to his framework and anecdotes; it's easy to remember and to translate into practical application.

But there's a danger of skewing his Love/Respect sketch too much, so that all the wifey's little problems are solved by some cuddling, empathy, and general head- and hand-patting from her husband. Not so! Thanks for posting this reminder.

Rugrat race, lol!

Reb. Mary said...

Susan: Too true; we just can't help buying into the idea that "out there" is where the real stuff of life happens, even when we know oh so much better.

How do we stop being so silly? :O

Susan said...

>>How do we stop being so silly? :O

Well, silly Reb Mary, we get our husbands to hold our hands and pat our heads and give us a little empathy.... That solves all life's problems!


Rebekah said...

Well, out there people admired our work and told us we were smart and laughed at our jokes (these darn babies never appreciate my jokes!). I think the low esteem in which the rugrat race is held is partially due to its democracy--any woman, no matter how simple herself or just under-educated, can be a good mother. That only requires love and personal sacrifice, of which nearly all people are capable. And hey, if that stupid chick can do it, why should I have to? I'm too smart to do what she does! Plain old pride.