I have this really embarrassing confession: I love my husband. It's embarrassing because it seems like these days, being generally annoyed with your husband is the "in thing." Often, when I gather in groups of women, I feel pressured to trash talk my other half.
Certainly we are not the first generation to partake in such squawking but we do seem to be more public and forward about it these days. There's even a website devoted entirely to complaining about husbands. I know we need to vent but after a while, it all sounds very mean.
It starts off innocently enough.
“Sorry I’m late girls, my husband didn’t get home in time even though I reminded him 10 times about it.” It’s usually punctuated by a rolling of the eyes and a head shake.
That one little sentence, while seemingly simple, can trigger an avalanche of comments that get more and more hostile as the contest of having the worst husband in the world gets revved up. What starts off as one woman making a complaint can morph into a mob mentality where after an hour of complaining, all of the women are wielding pitchforks and screaming, “Off with his head!”
Lord help the innocent husband who comes downstairs to ask a question during one of these discussions. He is likely to be turned into a pillar of salt. And if you happen to be one of those women who don’t want to spread your dirty laundry in public, prefer to not bash your husband when he’s not present to defend himself or worse, say something nice about him, be prepared for some looks that say, “stop thinking you’re so perfect.”
I don't think that at all. I hug my imperfection daily. Neither do I think that my husband is perfect. Let me just take a moment and laugh at the hilarity of the last part of that statement. I could unleash a scroll 10 miles long with detailed complaints about him. Being married to a man with ADD is like sitting in the passenger seat next to a circus monkey. He's friendly and funny but he's unpredictable.
That being said, damned if I'm not totally head over heels for the man. By some struck of luck, I found not a perfect man, but the perfect man for me; a man who gets me and makes me feel like the most loved and adored woman on the face of the earth. It's not that there isn't anything to complain about, it's that I'm trying to love him enough to see past all of it.
There is a quote in the book Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott that says, "A good marriage is where both people feel like they're getting the better end of the deal."
I definitely got the better end of the deal because most of the time, I offer up way more crazy than he does. I yell. I never put the lid on the toothpaste. I sometimes try to read through the lines and twist his words into something else. This exasperates him but he's so good at overlooking it. I'm grateful for that, for how he never sees my mistakes or points them out to me.
It drove me crazy when we were first married that he wouldn't tell me when something I did bothered him. When I yelled at him for his flagrant disregard of battle engagement, he said, "I'm just going to get over it anyway." That is the definition of unconditional love and true grace, when the well of forgiveness is so deep that there is no point in trying to fill it up.
I'm not so good at the grace part. I like to point out his flaws and beat him over the head with them. This, too, he forgives which says to me that in the never-ending game we play called, "I love you more," wherein we argue back and forth, "I love you more, NO ... I love you more" and then settle the dispute with a round of rock, paper, scissors — he is most definitely the winner.
He loves me more and not only am I OK with that, it endears me to him in a powerful way. I stand dependent on him, knowing that at least in the physical sense, he is what I cling to, as necessary to me as air. He was out of town last week and his absence felt like an amputation. I was like those people who have phantom itches and pains in limbs that are no longer there.
I anguished at his loss. I'm no good without him. I grope around like a blind person. My heart has been removed and it's flying on an American Airlines flight to Las Vegas for an IBM conference.
It’s interesting to me that one of the biggest complaints women have about their husbands is that they don’t feel loved by them. Yet, the same women will share their husband’s secrets, speak badly about him and plot revenge tactics. I’m thinking that might make the husbands feel equally unloved.
Marriage is not easy. It takes a lot of work and patience from both people and I know two things is for sure, my husband doesn’t complain as much as I do and he’s never said bad things about me to his friends. I feel that I owe him at least the same respect in return.
I haven’t always been the best at this. I admit to having participated in the past but have learned that it feels wrong for me and that I end up feeling worse about my husband when I do it.
Not only do I respect him, I think he’s the cat’s meow, so you will pardon me if I do not wish to complain. I don't want to go out for drinks with the ladies tonight. OK, maybe you can convince me to go out but just for a little while because by 9 p.m., I'm already longing to sit next to him on the couch.
Maybe it's not "cool" anymore to be in love with your husband, to think that he's the most magnificent man in the whole world and you are your happiest when you orbit around him like a moon, magnetically and forever attached through some invisible force field.
Maybe that's corny and dramatic in an Elizabethan kind of way. I don't care. May it go down officially in the records that I'm a swooning lady.