Renee and I have been married for almost 13 years now and I believe are entering into the sweet spot of our marriage. It has never been more real, rewarding, intimate or functional than it is right at this moment. If you are unmarried but would like to be, please read this. If you have been married for a short time and still feel like you are honeymooning read this. If you are fighting read this. If you aren’t fighting…..well still read this too. We have people to the farm almost daily and one of the recurring themes to the ensuing questions are always along the lines of “how do just the two of you do all this?” This following is the short version.
I have become convinced that a wife who wants an intimate and best friend kind of relationship with her husband only need do one thing to facilitate it. Sure it may take on subtle different approaches from time to time but the goal is always the same. The one thing a wife must do is only to maintain her husbands ego. Simple right? Glad you think so, now let’s get about the work of discovering what that means. If I may be so bold let me help a little along the way with a real life example courtesy of the fresh from the salon smoochy faced lady in the picture.
If you spend even a brief time with me you will discover that I am a confident man and that sometimes my confidence can push the arrogance boundary. I pride myself on being a leader by example, having a strong back and a willingness to work until the job is done. Beneath the beard also resides a mind that wonders to the potential of all things around me and a very tender heart for people who find themselves in a vulnerable spot. My ego, or sense of self, isn’t very complicated and it would sound a little like this if it had a voice: ‘you are a good man who loves others sacrificially. You’re a good dad who is available to your kids and will be their first hero. You’re a strong and tender husband that knows Renee like no one else could. You’re a talented and hard worker that does something noble with his life’s ambitions’. You get the gist right? One little caveat before I tell my story here, as I can feel every woman in my life rolling their eyes at me. I am not suggesting it is a wife’s roll or obligation to OVER inflate that ego, but only to keep it on firm and positive ground. So just simmer down those rolling eyes , cocked to the side head and twisted “uh huhhh” lips.
This past week I sat in a chair and had to watch someone do a job that I used to do weekly, only he did it way way better than I ever could have done. Renee was sitting next to me all the while I sat and stewed and hoped for a miserable failure to occur at any moment. I hope for maybe like a heart attack or something to happen to the guy and the only thing that could make the show go on was me to step in and save the day. Basically I was hoping to be a hero in a Greek tragedy and stories would have had to been told about this day that lived on in history. After all I AM ……uhhhh i mean I AM FARMER. See how petty I am deep inside my own thoughts? Who thinks that kind of thing? Jerks think those kind of things, that’s who. I decided to open up and write about this because I think there is at least one other person who is like me and would appreciate me going first to bring it up. I do understand it isn’t really acceptable to share this kind of thing about ourselves publicly, but following cultural mores has never been a strong point of mine. This internal conversation raged on and all of it was drowning out that little voice that typically maintains a healthy ego and makes me the kind of guy you would like to be around. Just as I was entering the 7th layer of self pitty and rage fantasy, my wife puts her arm around me and pulls me closer and gives me ‘the look’. And then as if the look couldn’t break my spell she comes in with the crusher “I love you”. In an instant I was deflated and no one knew any of this except her. To anyone else in the room I have the same dumb bearded face I always had, and was hiding behind sun worn smile lines. However there is no fooling Renee, she sees right through my weak defense and knows in that moment she had work to do that only she can do. With out a big scene, Renee with love reminded me I was off track and when I go bad mental places I take her and my family with me. My ego had metaphorically gotten the twig above the berries so to speak and her actions required that I get back in the ego bubble that I belonged in. My thoughts easily changed to how lucky I was to have Renee as my partner in this life, how much Layla lights up my face when I first see her and how proud Seamus makes me as we work together. I reminded myself that my job and my farm are good things that bring healing and joy to hundreds of others. She led me to a place that was full of light and love and was not a fantasy at all but was living back in the truth of what our lives actually are. He is the good news. Every wife can do this for her husband. It is possible, free, doesn’t take much time to do but has made our marriage a deeply intimate one. Renee has taken the time to know me and I’ve taken the time to share my naked heart with her giving her the place in my life that no one else gets. Even if the noble cause of helping out your husband by maintaining his ego didn’t seem worth doing on its own merit, let me remind you that with an intact ego your husband will act in the way you need him to act the most: lovingly. A husband that is complete becomes free to act, and is not in a emotional quagmire that will suck the life right out of relationships. Plainly, he will turn his attention to you and your kids. Men, ever the fixer of problems, are relentless in fixing themselves but can only do so much without you. Once “fixed” they will move on to the real business of a marriage and that is learning to be present or together with the girl of their dreams. Now go call your wife and tell her you were thinking of her.