don't have to be unconditional

I think I ask too much of my husband sometimes.

I'm not talking about the little household tasks, or even the bigger challenges I lay at his feet - help me reinforce the necessity of Chicken keeping his butt on a chair while eating tomato soup, for example.

I think I ask him to be wiser than I am, about me. And I think that's too much. 

I want two relationships, simultaneously. 

I want a partner who sees only my virtues. I want a partner who thinks I'm a brilliant woman with flawless judgment, a woman whose choice to stay at home and raise children reveals her creativity and work ethic. I want a partner who looks at the work I do and thinks, "she is amazing. No other woman could have folded all that laundry." I want a partner who sees my foul mood and thinks, "something must have really hurt her feelings or frustrated her. She must really be hurting right now." I want a partner who loves me exactly the way I am, no matter how I am, forever and always. He thinks I'm perfect.

But I'm not perfect.

Oh shit, I forgot to say "spoiler alert."

Most of the time I don't feel brilliant or flawless or creative or hard working. Most of the time I feel messy and slapdash, and uncomfortable with it - a tidy soul who has been colored outside my lines. And most of the time I also feel like I'm not doing enough. Not just in the piles-of-laundry sense, but in the life-flashing-before-your-eyes sense. There are things I want to do with these days, and if I want to do those things I will have to be uncomfortably busy, pushing a little too hard, a willing participant in a march up a hill. Mr. You're Perfect Guy doesn't help me keep that fire lit. He doesn't help me stay a little uncomfortable while I'm stretching out, trying to grow. Ugh, that's so annoying that I just wrote that.

So I also want a partner who recognizes my flaws. I want a partner who thinks I'm a competent writer who could be better if she dug in and did some boooooooring workshopping on structure and voice. I want a partner who thinks that my choice to stay at home and raise children is worth questioning - won't you be bored? Can't you do more? I want a partner who thinks I can do more than I do right now, who wants to help me get there. I want a partner who loves my potential as much as my current state, who challenges me to be better, forever and always. 

But my life can be exhausting - all of our lives can be completely draining. And Mr. You've Got More Than This Guy, sorry, he can kind of take what's left of the wind out of my sails. "You can do more," comes into my mind as, "but you haven't because you're lazy and willing to accept half-living the only life you're given." 

Let's take a made-up example.

I say, "I'm thinking about training for a triathlon."

To Mr. You've Got More Than This:

I'm thinking about training for a triathlon.
Really? Wow! What a great idea! I think you should totally do it.
Are you excited about this because I'm fat?
What? No! I'm excited because it'll be great for you to get out of the house!
I get out of the house. What, do you think I just fucking sit around all day? Do you think my life is so small that it fits within these walls from sunup to sundown? Do you think I'm that boring?

To Mr. You're Perfect Just The Way You Are:

I'm thinking about training for a triathlon.
Really? Wow! Are you sure that now's the right time? It seems like you're already doing so much.
Am I fucking something up?
What? No! I'm just wondering if, you know, with your volunteering and the kids and the house and the blog, now is the right time to add I don't know how many hours to your schedule. Won't you be exhausted?
So you don't think I can do it. OK. Message received. Loud and clear.

In fact, there is only one way for him to respond perfectly, and it is made up of all of the words:

I'm thinking about training for a triathlon.
Really? Wow! I am so impressed with your willingness to put yourself in unfamiliar and challenging situations. I also fully support you taking time to care for yourself and get out of the house, because I know that while your work here is incredibly hard, important, and fulfilling, you also have unplumbed depths of strength and grit, and the wild spirit of a gypsy who just wants to run sometimes. How can I support you in making this dream a reality?

Am I crazy? Yes.

Am I contrarian? Just ask my mother.

Am I just the worst? Oh, no doubt.

And orange you glad I'm not your wife? 

it's ok
you can come out now
i'm done writing the post
now
read it

4 comments:

  1. This is so true. I want my husband to be able to push me and bolster me at the same time too. And it's something I try to do for him, but I don't think they need it as much. They aren't as hard on themselves I think.

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    1. I don't know if it's that they're not as hard on themselves, or that they're HARDER on themselves, because they don't ask for as much from us?

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  2. You wild-hearted running gypsy, you! That part made me laugh so much. I can totally relate to being a contrarian. It is tiresome to be around for me and my husband! Also, this reminds me but of the book Mating in Captivity. Have I told you about it? Part of it talks about how we expect our spouses to be all these things for us and to us and how confusing that is for all of us?

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    1. Funny story, I got that book from a Little Free Library! It's on my shelf! I will never read it! Or at least not until the children are in high school!

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