GUEST BLOG POST: W is for Wife

Friday, May 31, 2013

My mother is fantastic. Since I was born my mom has been my backbone, my support system and my best friend. Through some of my toughest times in life she has always been the one to lean on, giving me advice and helping me when I’m in need (whether it was my fault or not.) To this day, I don’t think I can give enough thank yous, foot rubs, kisses or hugs for her to really realize how truly thankful I am for her and everything she has given me (her caring nature, her humor and most importantly adorable looks haha). I love you, Marmee, more than you know. Xox

I have been a wife for almost 34 years, a role I welcomed with open arms at the age of 20.  To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect or what was expected of me.  My role models went from one end of the spectrum to the other.  My mother was a housewife for over 40 years before going back to work; however, she went back to work when I was in elementary school so I only remember her as a working wife.  Her marriage was tumultuous.  She was a hot-tempered red head know-it-all and my father was a mean drunk.  This combination always made life “interesting”.  Then there was Carol Brady, a stay-at-home wife with 6 perfect kids and a live-in maid.  See what I mean?  Normal existed somewhere.

My parents at their Junior Prom at Methacton
I’m pretty sure at my wedding I promised to obey.  I never thought to look at the vows ahead of time and I never would have asked to change them if I had.  I, like my mom, am also a red-headed know-it-all (although the hair color does not come naturally, the temper does).  Me obey??? Not so much but you say what it expected of you at the time.  You hopefully marry the love of your life.  I moved in with my new husband and desperately wanted the Brady thing.  I’m still waiting.  I married a mechanic who wears work clothes and comes home filthy dirty.  No suits or briefcases at our house.  There has never been a cleaning lady and 95% of the time dinner is literally on me.  But that’s okay.

In the 60’s, a wife was responsible for the house, dinner, laundry and the kids. Most women then only worked out of necessity.   In the 80’s, some wives stayed at home and some worked, not out of necessity but because they wanted to.  I was always a wife who wanted to work.  I liked the satisfaction of doing a job well and being acknowledged for it.  I complain on a regular basis that I do everything (mostly because I do), but I wouldn’t go back and change anything.  As a teenager, I cooked dinner for my father and brother because my mom worked nights.  I also grocery shopped as soon as I was able to drive and was expected to help clean the house.  I was a little bit resentful of this, especially when I felt like a wife and my friends were going to the mall or a Friday night football game.  So I was happy to become a wife at a young age.  I’d rather be taking care of my own house.  I was probably at an advantage over most people due to my extensive training!

Here are a few valuable lessons I’ve learned as a wife:
1. Your husband can talk trash about his family all he wants.  You may agree and have actually been waiting for this opportunity to add a few flaws he’s inadvertently missed.  DON’T DO IT.  His family may have burned down an orphanage, but as soon as you say something, you are a bitch and your family is worse than his.  It’s best to just listen and then trash talk about them to your friends behind his back.  This saves a lot of grief and heartache.  Take note this also works in reverse.  He better not say anything about your family either.  You know what I mean?

2. Never assume your husband knows what you want.  I’m not talking birthday and anniversary gifts, I’m talking about taking out the trash or helping clean up after dinner.  You can’t be pissed off because he’s playing video games while you’re doing everything (see above).  You have to be specific with your requests.  While this often gets construed as nagging, you got to do what you got to do.  However, be prepared for the nagging thing to come up in a future marriage counseling session.

3. The tone you set at the beginning of your marriage often last for the next 34 long, long years.  If you expect him to share all the responsibilities, start that way from the beginning.  I have friends who make their husbands breakfast and lunch before they leave for work and they are happy to do it.  I also have friends whose husband will pack them lunch.  Our house is like Switzerland.  I don’t pack him lunch and he’s never packed mine.  There is no right or wrong here.

Circa 1982-83ish??
4. At some point in your marriage, you will have to Shout out the skid marks in his underwear.  It’s a fact of life.  This is another one of those things you may not want to point out to him until he’s in the right frame of mind.  At our house, this could be dinner table discussion but we are twisted in the head and proud of it.

5. Lastly, try to be kind.  A kind word or gesture goes a long way.  Fight fair and remember anything you say can and will be used against you in future years.  Your husband may forgot to take out the trash or what time it is when they having “one more drink” with friends and he’s already an hour late, but a nasty comment from you will be remembered for a lifetime.

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