According to my blog editorial calendar, this post was originally going to be called “Why Wishing You Were Single is a HUGE Mistake” and I was going to spend the time talking about why the “whether or not” decision of “Do I stay married or return to being single?” is such a bad way to position the struggles faced in your marriage. And then, as always is the case, the Universe presented me with this beautiful video about love… (check the video out here–> http://www.youcantbeserious.com.au/blog/finding-love/) which then brought me to this extraordinary website about gratitude… and a few clicks and blogs later, I came to a post written by Dr. Cory Allan (he has a course called “Blow Up My Marriage”- Check it out here—-> http://blowupmymarriage.com/) giving 3 tips to help you relate better with your husband (interesting & practical; check it out here–>http://simplemom.net/3-tips-to-help-you-relate-better-with-your-husband/). All of this internet browsing and it dawned on me that even in a moment of serious marriage reconsideration, it’s imperative that we, as women breadwinners, get back to a state of gratitude.
Change rarely comes from judgment but miracles always come from gratitude.
So… if you’re having a day where you want to pack a bag and run away to a deserted island or you are so frustrated with something that your spouse said or did that you feel like delivering a supreme verbal tongue lashing, BEFORE you go there (and regret it later), join me on a journey and rediscover 5 reasons your husband (even if he didn’t fold the laundry properly or forgot to wash the dishes or didn’t go to the parent/teacher meeting) was sent from heaven:
1) He is an expert at appreciating and handling your particular type of crazy. Yes, I said it. We all come with a particular type of crazy. Control freaks, perfectionists, messy, sarcastic, anal retentive, over-the-top optimism or down-in-the-dredges pessimism, we all have our baggage and the spouse at your side has done a fabulous job of WILLINGLY handling your baggage. Whenever you think the grass is greener on the other side, stop and ask yourself, “Who else could handle my crazy as well as he does?” The answer: not many.
2) He’s man enough to support your taking the lead on things (some things, most things, hopefully not EVERYthing). A man is a man when he can take a backseat in major life areas and not feel his manhood threatened. Does that mean you’re married to a puppy dog who sits at your feet and says “Yes, dear” 24/7? No… I do not know of one relationship where that’s the case and if you’re in one, be careful. Men don’t like to be married to their mothers and wives don’t like to be married to their sons. Eventually, we all grow up and a man who’s a boy in the relationship will wind up growing up and looking for what he considers a WOMAN (not a mom). And that’s a whole other post. What I’m saying is simple: Appreciate the fact that he knows you run the show (in certain areas) and he still feels like a man and actually enjoys your level of power in the relationship. I heard one woman breadwinner say that her husband calls her his “sugar mama” and they both laugh at the idea. Laughter, in a relationship, is a good thing.
3) He’s a master at household management and activities you’d REALLY rather not do. You don’t have to go shout to the world that your husband is a whiz at laundry, cooking, and waxing floors nor do you have to make a public declaration that you hate all things domestic but let’s be real: if you’re a woman breadwinner, it is probably not your dream life to spend all day cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, decorating the house, and doing all things housewifery (I just made a word up). Own you and appreciate the fact that you married someone who does the things you’d prefer not to do.
4) He knows how to have fun and keep it light. Very often, my clients tell me that their husbands balance them out. They are the driven, ambitious, workaholic types and their husbands are more laid back, more fun, and more appreciative of down time. In this way, their spouses become the personal compass for “Hon, it’s time to rest…. Why don’t you take a break? Let’s go do something fun.” When you’re a person who loves to work or who goes 100 miles a minute, you need that type of person in your life. What better person to fulfill that role than your spouse?
5) He loves you for who you are and has no desire for you to be somebody you’re not. One of the big resentments I see surface in women breadwinners who don’t like their role is this: Why can’t he just be the provider? Why can’t he be the one dealing with all the financial pressure? Why can’t I be one of those women who married a co-breadwinner, a doctor, a lawyer, someone who’s got ambition and drive just like I do? Be careful what you ask for. While not all equally driven, ambitious, overachieving men are the same, take a moment and reflect on what it takes for you to be that way. How many hours a week do you devote to your career? How much work has it taken you to get where you are? Now, if there were TWO of you having to put in all that time into your careers and work, what would be left for togetherness, fun, playtime, having children, raising a family, taking care of a home, doing laundry? Yes, you could hire maids, nannies, and housekeepers but what if that’s not the life you want? Also, sometimes, when you marry someone who’s on the same kind of fast track you’re on, they expect a certain kind of wife. They might expect that when their career hits a peak, you’ll quit your career to support theirs. They might expect that the moment you have kids, you become a stay-at-home mom and that’s the end of your career until the last child goes to kindergarten. They might expect that if a great job offer comes up across the country, that you’ll clearly see the importance of his career and give up your job to move across the country. These are all speculations but rarely do two overachieving, ambitious, highly driven people come together (before they get married) and have an honest, frank conversation about their expectations of each other. There’s a yin and yang to all relationships. Be grateful that you’re with someone who gets your yin and provides the yang, a person who isn’t expecting that you’ll sacrifice your career, your dreams, or your life for their ambitions. Can you get that in a co-breadwinner marriage? Sure but expecting that both of you will be CEOs of corporations and will have all the time in the world to build a life together (without the help of nannies, maids, housekeepers, and the like) is a bit unrealistic… even Sheryl Sandberg talks about the choices that you make when both of you are highly driven and top earners.
At the end of the day, every relationship brings with it opportunities to feel grateful. But you’ve got to choose gratitude over complaint. You have to choose to see the good rather than what needs fixing. Your ability to appreciate what you have comes from your desire to see the beauty in your life and the joy in your relationships. Until you are willing to see the good in what is, you will continue to look for what’s missing… in yourself and others. Don’t do that.
Love what is.
Life’s always better that way…