“I don’t know if I’m going to want quesadillas for lunch on Thursday, August 14th.”
This sentence fell from the lips of photographer tonight. He was referring to a quite detailed menu the wife of a friend had put together for an upcoming trip to Hilton Head. In an effort to save money on eating out, the two couples had agreed to buy groceries and cook in the condo during their stay. Makes sense. What followed in an email blast however seems to move beyond sensible and run headlong into obsessive. The wife had planned out three meals a day for four adults and various children for 7 days. There’s planning. And then there’s PLANNING. The photog also shared how during a birthday party for this woman’s husband, she, without fail, snatched every one of his gifts from his hands after he’d opened them, and announced what she was going to do with them. “This antique surfboard will go in the boys’ room.” “This gift card we’ll use for new blinds.” And on and on. While this was all second hand, I have witnessed this controlling behavior myself. The woman who dictates how a man will spend his free time. The woman who criticizes what her husband orders to eat. The woman who belittles her husband or even more awkward, picks a fight with him in front of you so you can now be privvy to their problems. This has become such a cliche that now every ad seems to feature the nagging wife and the idiot husband, played for a laugh. I’m confused. How do these relationships work exactly? Do these women feel so out of control they must then control everything around them? Do these men like being told what to do? Are both parties just tired of pushing back and find it’s easier to comply? I simply don’t understand. When you decide to marry and join your life with someone, don’t you respect them and their wants and needs just as much as your own, if not more so? Yes, I remember taking a vow that was something to the effect of “forsaking all others.” Ok, now for a moment of brutal honesty. I am a control freak myself. No, no, it’s true. I keep a fastidious house and desk at work. My closet is color coded. My propensity to toss items that are still in use are a punchline in my house. I take joy in organizing and cleaning. But what I don’t do is force this onto my husband. His hobbies, his things, his meals, his free time – are his. He is a grown man who knows where things are and go, how to spend his own money, how to dress and feed himself. It’s quite something to behold! I love this man enough to leave him the hell alone sometimes. When we chose each other, we chose a partner, an equal. We make the big decisions together and leave the small ones to however we’re feeling right then. Does he want to strangle me with the vacuum cord as I’m cleaning around him? Probably. Do I cringe when he drops more money on an online game? Sure. But there were other vows said all those years ago about better and worse, rich and poor, in good times and in bad… ring any bells? We are in this together, he and I. And I’ve found by respecting the man I married and giving him space to be himself that he becomes the man I want and need.
“It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. It’s compromise that moves us along. My heart is full and my door’s always open. You come anytime you want.” -Maroon 5