I’d been on my husband for years about his eating habits and considered it my job to educate him about how to be healthy, just as I do with our kids. When I first met my husband, he was going to the gym every morning at 5:30am. He was also 40 pounds lighter. But after years of harping on him with no results, I couldn’t shake the feeling it was my fault my husband wasn’t taking care of himself.Most women discover, too late, that they prefer the man they married to the one they remade according to their imagination. Leave him alone to be who he has always been. You'll like him better.
Naturally, I didn’t see it this way at first. Why is it my fault if my husband makes bad choices? He’s lucky to have me guiding him! I’m just being helpful! But what controlling wives call helpful, husbands call something else. A man’s reaction to being told what to do by his wife is to do the exact opposite.
Indeed, it wasn’t until I stopped getting on my husband’s case that he began to take care of himself. Huh -- go figure.
My light bulb moment didn’t end there. Once I saw the connection between the two -- my dictating and my husband’s lack of motivation -- I started thinking about other ways I was behaving that would cause him to react negatively. Like the times I’d tell him how to drive, or I’d correct his language, or I’d complain about whatever he wasn’t doing well and tell him how he could improve.
Then one night I saw myself in Ken Burns’ documentary, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. The narrator said this about Franklin in reference to his wife Eleanor:
He wanted someone who had all the devotion to him that his mother had had but not the admonitory part -- that part that told him what to do and what not to do. And sadly, Eleanor couldn’t be worshipful and had to be admonitory.
Eureka. My mother was an Eleanor Roosevelt. So was I.
Friday, February 10, 2017
She's not helping
Like Darth Vader, a woman discovers that the more she attempts to control her husband, the more his behavior diverges from that which she desires: