There’s a huge difference between being “whipped” and being a man who puts his wife first.
Being whipped is cowardly. And unsustainable.
Putting your wife on a pedestal and putting her needs first is heroic.
Because it’s hard. And I think one of life’s most-obvious lessons is that doing difficult things is a worthwhile exercise.
And that’s what I’m going to challenge you to do, gentlemen. To be heroes.
To be in the business of saving families.
In every marriage, the husband and wife dynamic is going to vary.
There are very submissive wives, as well as domineering ones. There are very alpha-male husbands, as well as those happy to let their wives run the show.
I submit that all of those power structures are poor choices.
Conventional wisdom suggests that in a healthy partnership, both sides give equally. 50-50.
But guess what? That’s not enough.
If you want your marriage to work—and gentlemen, I implore you to want it to—you have to give everything.
Unbreakable marriages are built from two people giving 100 percent. Both ways.
Time and time again, I see the wives giving more.
This is by no means always the case. But it happens far too often.
Perhaps your wife stays home with the children. If you’ve spent any time caring for multiple children at once, you should realize this has its own unique set of challenges. She probably does the vast majority of cooking, shopping, and cleaning too.
Maybe you don’t feel bad about this arrangement. Because she gets to stay home while you slave away at whatever you do for money, putting food on the table for your family.
I get it. We grew up watching our fathers and grandfathers live this way. It became ingrained in us at a young age. Men make money. Women make children and sandwiches.
But I know you know that’s bullshit. At least I pray you do.
And if your wife has a career? She has all those professional pressures to deal with in addition to the heavy load she carries at home.
Respect her struggles. Care about the challenges she faces. And help her with them.
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Make the Choice to Love
Step One is always going to be to genuinely love and respect your wife.
And I have to believe you do if you’re still reading.
Step Two? Don’t treat her as an equal. Treat her like something more.
- I know how hard this is. All humans can be shitty and unreasonable. My guess is your wife is no exception. And when you give a lot and she doesn’t act appreciative or even considerate of what you do, it’s going to hurt. You’re going to resent it. You’re going to be angry. And maybe even feel a little shame.
- Guess what? DO IT ANYWAY.
- Write this down and remind yourself of it daily: Love is NOT a feeling. Feelings are fickle. They change and come and go with such frequency, it’s impossible to build a foundation on them. Infatuation is a feeling. Lust is a feeling. Love is a CHOICE. A decision. It’s a verb. It’s an action. It’s something you wake up every day and choose to do. The sooner we can get every human being on the planet to understand this, the sooner we can do something about our depressing divorce rate.
If your wife is the anti-Christ, I’m sorry. We all make bad decisions. Especially me.
More than likely, she’s not. More than likely, she’s just a girl trying to make it through this challenging life. Just like you.
She has hopes and dreams, too. And you’d be wise to figure out what those are and try to help her achieve them, big and small.
And she’s scared. Terrified, even. When all the lights are off and it’s just her and her thoughts? If you’re not doing the right things, she’s scared. She’s scared you don’t love her as much as you used to. She’s scared there might not be enough money to pay for little Jimmy’s braces. She’s scared that she might not have the strength to keep juggling everyone in your family’s schedule. That she’s losing the strength to be the glue in the household.
And when your wife is scared, her defenses go up.
And then she nags you. To clean your shoes before walking through the house. About that leaky faucet you still haven’t fixed. About how you spend so much of your time watching the ballgame, playing video games, or working in the garage, and how you don’t spend enough time with the kids, or planning family activities, or making her feel good inside or outside of the bedroom. The sex becomes infrequent or nonexistent.
“I love you” becomes a thoughtless daily thing you’re programmed to say before leaving for work.
It’s human nature to take things for granted. I’m not going to beat you up about losing sight of the big picture once in a while.
But you can train your mind to focus on that which matters most. And boys, your wives and families matter most. And if they don’t, you’re in the wrong line of work.
Sometimes it takes losing your spouse or a child to truly understand what gifts they are.
I’m asking you to not be that way. To be mindful of their importance in your life and to consider how devastating the loss would be if they weren’t there anymore. So that you don’t have to feel the brutality of the alternative.
You’re going to have to disappoint your buddies once in a while when they want to take that golf weekend away, or tailgate at the college football game, or just go out drinking on a random weeknight.
You’re going to have to watch a cheesy romantic comedy once in a while, or take her to the theater.
You’re going to have to listen to music you don’t want to on road trips, and vacation places that aren’t your first choice.
The Righteous Brothers sang about losing that loving feeling. And maybe you’ve felt it in your own life. Maybe you’re not feeling motivated to get it back because she’s on your ass all the time about some chore you’ve been putting off, or because she never acts interested in you anymore, mentally or physically.
You have the power to change everything. You really do.
Dude. Just love her.
Love her by being kind. By small displays of thoughtfulness. By recognizing and respecting her contributions to your life. By being a strong father. By making her feel loved and wanted when others are watching. And by making her feel loved and wanted when no one’s watching.
Don’t sit around waiting for something to happen. It’s not going to. Nothing good, anyway. Don’t be a statistic.
Make it happen.
Show your sons what heroism looks like. How to treat women. Show them the path to a happy and sustainable relationship.
Show your daughters what it looks and feels like to be treated well and respected by men. That will pay dividends later.
And show your wife—every chance you get—that she is loved and valued.
Give without asking for anything in return. For it is in giving that we receive.
Find a way to be the bigger, more patient, more loving person during conflict. For it is in pardoning that we are pardoned.
Find a way to be the hero.
Because you are the man of the house. And it’s time to start acting like it.
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