In the beginning…there was a him and a her – and nobody’s agreed on anything since. In this column, we present both sides, as if we may eventually come to a conclusion…you decide!
Ok, while I mentally prepare myself for the deluge of backlash I will receive for all that I am about to pontificate on for this ultra-touchy subject, I want to start with some basic thoughts on the subject of relationships in general: I truly and unequivocally believe in equality in a relationship. This is not lip service, nor is it said to carry any undue weight with the women out there. In fact, the thought that some relationships do not work this way, is to me, a foreign concept. Further, given vastly different cultural expectations of what a relationship should be, there is a good chance that I have lost many of you already.
There are many locally who might see such definitions as a weakness of a man, though I couldn’t disagree more. I believe that it takes more strength to allow for equality, than it does to blindly assert power, and thus the stronger man will always be the one who helps his spouse ahead of him, rather than pushes her behind. That said, that does not mean there are not roles that my wife and I both readily, and not so readily, fall into (manly and womanly-type roles, at times, though not always). However, it is important to note that sometimes this equality does not always work out in favor of my significant other.
With this in mind, lets talk about the phrase “happy wife, happy life,” and dissect what it is really saying. On the surface level, I agree that this is a wonderfully placating response to whatever it is that my wife might want from me, and that by agreeing with her 100%, I will no doubt be in for less conflict in my life. For some people, that lack of conflict is all they are looking for. However, in my opinion, that does not make for a happy marriage overall. I think this takes only a quick-fix type of mentality, while actually creating a gap between two-people that will further open up and expand over time. I would rather have the daily fight about the thing at hand than ignore it until one of us is so unhappy that we break. One simply cannot swallow pride and preference over the long-term without feeling at least a want to get out (regardless of whether they follow through or not).
One of the things that has been quite interesting about this little marriage thing, is noting that I am (so I have been told) a strong-willed man, who has married a (so I am telling!) strong-willed woman. To say that this may leave us open for conflict would be an understatement. However, I happen to be of the belief that fighting is a good thing—so long as it is done in a respectful and safe manner. Any success that we have had as a couple can be attributed almost solely to our ability to fight well! We need to be able to discuss the places in which our perspectives are different, or we are in for trouble in the long run.
The problem with phrases like “happy wife, happy life,” is that they are true to an extent, and easy for the woman to agree with, as at face-value it seems to place her preferences over the mans’. How could she ever disagree with a statement that so obviously places her at the helm of her destiny? However, the deeper reveal proves this an oversimplified view that actually does not value her opinion at all. It says, in short, let her buy those KD 1000 shoes, regardless of what it might do to that bank account overall, as she is just a silly woman who does not understand why that might not be appropriate given your common goals! It says drop everything you’re doing and go fix that thing in the house, rather than show her how to potentially do it herself, as she wouldn’t understand anyway.
Say what you will about who should do what around the house, the checkbook, and society at large, but for my part, I would want my wife to be as empowered as I would want my (future) daughters to be, and part of that includes knowing why they can’t have everything they want just because they want it. It also includes being strong enough to know that in the end, they do not need me, as sure as they do not need any man.
All that is to say nothing of the fact, that anyone who only does something for their partner all the time, is being taken advantage of, which will never serve the long-term prospects of a healthy relationsh–– (oops, sorry I didn’t get to finish this article. I had to pick up my hamati from the airport, paint my wife’s toenails and go buy her a new handbag).
I cannot begin to stress how there is such universal truth in this statement. My dearest male friends, you need to rest assured that the day you decide to get married, your happiness will be directly proportional to that of your spouses. Like it or not, it is an absolute truth.
There’s something that happens to the entire notion of ‘find your own happiness’, and all that lovely philosophical mumbo jumbo when it comes to marriage. I can hear the feminist cries as I type this sentence, I’m aware that they disagree profusely, but I simply don’t care. Whether males or females, or both, wish to dispute this argument, I’m here to tell them that they’re wrong.
Just like a typical loving wife would be extremely annoyed, and upset for her husband’s shortfalls and endless bad days at the office, she expects the same from him. Yes, my happiness, as a wife, guarantees that I will love you more and work harder to make our lives happier. Exhibit A: If my better half thinks that he could escape my unhappiness when he’s at work while I’m miserable at home tending after the children, he’s gravely mistaken. I will make it shown to him, via every social media tool I could install on my smartphone-Whatsapp, Twitter, Facebook messages, he will know I’m not happy. If a rant to the social media gods about how the kids are driving me crazy at home doesn’t capture his attention, and if he dares to pretend that he’s too busy to read about it yet he is perfectly happy to post the sweetest birthday wishes on his female coworker’s Facebook wall … well…. Eventually he will come home, and trust me when I say, it won’t be pretty. And that’s not the happiest of pictures now, is it?
Any typical husband believes he’s fully knowledgeable when it comes to fulfilling his ‘husbandly’ duties, and by simply assuming his Alfa male role, therefore the pretty wife should want nothing more. My dearest male companions: you couldn’t be more wrong. A wife’s happiness, for ensuring not only your physical but also your mental wellbeing, can be attained with the simplest of gestures. Understanding a wife’s need to shop will effectively ensure that you make it to the next guy’s night. Supporting and encouraging that need to shop is a totally different story; that automatically results in her picking up that dress you liked but she thought was too inappropriate. Helping out around the house will score you the best homemade double chocolate cake with all its delicious fixings, or that lamb roast dinner that takes an arduous three hours to prepare. Now, doing the housework when you’re not even asked, or God-forbid nagged to do so, makes for a triple score. Now, do you see where this is going?
When we practically consider this statement, while taking a closer look at the everyday dynamics of a couple’s married life, you will see the light. A happier wife will ultimately make for a happier life. Start with these tips right now for eternal marital bliss:
Letting her buy that Chanel bag will pay off for you in the future, just wait for it.
Taking your wife’s side, at least once, when a heated debate arises with your mom. Yes, man. You know you do it. We’ve seen you do it. It now needs to stop.
Not criticizing your wife when she’s craving chocolate, and NOT reminding her of the latest diet she’s on, will earn you some newfound respect. Understanding every wife’s mysterious relationship with chocolate is not easy.
Acknowledging that she’s been talking to you, even though your glazed expression may beg to differ, for the last fifteen minutes, will ultimately make her happier, and actually make her want to stop asking you, ‘what are you thinking about?’ all the time!
Recognizing the astounding power of what hormones can do to a woman- WITHOUT belittling or mocking it. That merits the ‘husband of the year’ award.
And finally, for the record, it’s the outfit that makes her fat, definitely not her body. Always.
Stay tuned for the next chapter in the heated battle of the sexes.