Life and relationships are a mixed bag. Sometimes it’s green beans in spaghetti, arguments over pilfered socks, dessert envy and any series of other mishaps, miscommunications or minor disappointments. Other times it’s drowsy conversations at 3 a.m., text message check-ins, lunch drop-offs, holding your hair back when you’re spewing offerings to the porcelain throne, or other little things that let you know your partner cares.
I’m very fortunate to have a spouse that can be incredibly supportive, thoughtful and considerate. Can be. On the flip side, some of the strange things he does, which I can only describe as having “man brain,” make me chuckle and shake my head.
For example, it was great when he had the kids lay out their clothes for the next day when he knew I was working late, but as he didn’t check their outfits, I came home to a swim shirt and the wrong sized shorts in one pile, and dirty clothes in another. It was a nice thought though.
Just when I’m about to get frustrated, however, he tends to find ways to turn things around and put me in a better humour. In the process, without meaning to, he reminds me to try to be a better person.
Recently, we had a bit of a blow up over socks. To make a long story short, I steal his socks and for some reason he doesn’t like that. Afterwards, he didn’t say a word, but I found a pair of my own socks he’d found and matched laid out in the middle of my dresser the next day. The next, he’d set one pair out for me on the top of his sock drawer, knowing I’d come looking.
A day or so later, he’d dropped dinner off to me at the office. The order was wrong, which was mildly frustrating. When I got home though was when I was really ramping up to feeling indignant, as I discovered the evidence of an enjoyed chocolate cheesecake — the empty sauce container —on the table.
There I was starting to mutter to myself that hey, I might have liked some cheesecake if I’d been asked, and now there’s also a mess to clean up, when lo and behold, I found right beside my keyboard, where he knew I would find it, half a piece of cheesecake.
He’s very helpful and will always run to the store when I need something, but I should have learned by now to read the labels of everything he buys. For example, last week he picked up cold and sinus medication for me, but I failed to notice there were both nighttime and daytime capsules in the box and I wound up having an extremely productive, late evening.
Recently when I asked him what things I do for him that make him feel considered, he stared at me like a deer in the headlights … and promptly fell asleep. Message received. So, I’m working on learning to reciprocate.
Another funny thing he does that I don’t quite understand, but seems to bring him endless enjoyment, is constantly hiding behind things to startle me. Sometimes he will lay in wait for over half an hour to spring on me. I don’t enjoy being scared, but his obvious delight to my reaction is a bit infectious. And I admit I do kind of admire the commitment.
As the saying goes, it really does seem like men are from Mars and women are from Venus. We just think differently, and that’s OK.
However, there are some generational, antiquated gender role ideas out there that still need to be squashed. For example: If you’re a husband who still thinks watching your own kids is babysitting, or doing your fair share of household chores is ‘helping’ your wife, please stop.
A partner should be just that: a partner — however you divide up tasks or responsibilities.
In conclusion, life has ups and downs so try to choose a companion to go through it all with that makes you feel grateful for them every day. I’m pretty lucky; I married my best friend.