Something I can see much better today than I could when I was young, is how high women’s expectations of men can be, how much responsibility we can pile on them. I think there’s some sweetness there, one of those biological truths that can be so delightful to discover and unwrap. However, things that are natural, biological, instinctual, sometimes go unnoticed, unseen, and can start to border on the irrational, the unreasonable.
I myself happened to marry Batman so the expectations on him are high, the burdens heavy. You can perceive that two ways, the woman hates me…..or she’s under this misguided impression she actually married a superhero. I would go with the superhero persona, myself.
When I was younger I had this “honey do” list, not just of chores, but emotional things too, spiritual things, lots of things needing to be done and fixed….like the entire broken world.
I remember one day hubby came home and asked what I needed before he sat down and I thought, “The kid’s hamster has died, could you resurrect it before she gets home? Also, the gutters need to be cleaned, most annoying the way the rain drips all wrong, and do you think you could rope the moon for me?” I really only thought these things silently while staring at hubby soaking wet, all covered in mud, exhausted, so patiently delaying his own comfort to see if I “needed” anything from him.
He’s kind and responsible, but he does have a pretty good self-preservation reflex too, so he would say things over the years like, “lions sleep 23 hours a day.” All in good humor, but it is somewhat miraculous we ever learned to communicate at all, given I was thinking of roping the moon, while he was speaking some nonsense about sleeping lions.
I mention this because I ran into a guy at the grocery store near tears, or what would be tears if he wasn’t such a guy, but he was feeling overwhelmed, working all day and then going home to pack at night, to move them into a new house, and of course she wants everything done perfectly and nothing he does is ever going to be perfect enough. Criticized, overburdened, overwhelmed, during what should be a joyous time in their lives.
I ran into her later that day too, and said as gently as I could, “I think you need to cut that poor man some slack, he’s working very hard.” “Why?” she said, complete innocence in her eyes, confusion, and in that moment I saw my younger self, my younger self thinking, this is Batman, why shouldn’t Batman just do what he does, what he is actually designed to do?
Women, especially moms, can be a bit mercenary, heartless perhaps, self-absorbed. One of the blessings of having been married for a long time, of having survived your younger selves, is that you get to rediscover the actual person you married, the human being behind the accessory, the soul of the one you love that exists somewhere beyond it’s utilitarian purpose in your life.
That is if you don’t crush it completely before you get there.