My marriage is lovely. It's not always easy, but it's lovely.
It's not easy because I am married to someone who is not like me at all in some ways and a whole lot like me in other ways. One way that we are very similar is that we are both always moving. Our brains, our bodies. Go, go, go. Constantly. We are both exhausting. I'm only slightly less exhausting because I'm Southern and talk slower than he does.
If you think this sounds annoying, you are correct. Sometimes our conversations are unproductive because instead of listening to understand we are listening to respond. That's never a good thing.
A few days ago we were out on a coffee date, which is something we try to do a couple of times a week. The people at Starbucks know our order (we're also very predictable, another thing we have in common). We drink our coffee and talk. We sit still (other than gesticulating wildly since one of us can't talk without using their hands), don't look at our phones, and just chat.
We came home and Jason was in a rush to do something. I can't even remember what it was, but he was in a hurry. I was trying to tell him something unimportant. I honestly don't even remember what it was. I told him it didn't matter. Go ahead. He stopped and said, "No, please go ahead and tell me."
Right after that, he was leaving for whatever his errand was and he stopped, came to me and said, "Is there anything else you want to talk about before I go?"
There wasn't. But he asked.
I keep hearing that men are being made weak. That they are being emasculated. That men are supposed to be rough and rude and talk ugly. That being that way is normal and should be expected.
To that, I say no.
My husband respects and listens to me. Does he always respond the way I wish he would? No. Do I always respond the way he wishes I would? I'm sure the answer to that is also no. I still reject the notion that men have to behave in a certain way or they aren't "real men".
When people tell me I'm lucky that my husband does laundry or cooks I sometimes roll my eyes. I am absolutely lucky. Amazingly lucky, blessed, highly favored, and damn appreciative. I am not lucky because my husband does laundry and makes a fine Chicken Cordon Bleu. He's a grown-up and a contributing member of our household. He does not consider himself lucky that I do laundry and cook. We all cook. We all do laundry. We all sweep, mop, set the table, do the dishes. Work has no gender and it never has. Not in our house.
He is not perfect, nor am I. He has his flaws, as do I. He talks to me like I'm worthy, because that's how men are supposed to talk. He makes me feel I'm valuable. He listens. He respects me, even when we don't agree (and believe me, we don't always agree). He thinks I'm beautiful and tells me every day. We help each other. We're in this together and I never, ever doubt that.
I deserve to be treated this way. You do too. Don't believe it if anyone says anything otherwise. This is how real, strong, good men talk.