Why This Husband Loves His Domestic Duties
My name’s David and I’m a Landscape Designer and Contractor. I live a hyper masculine daily life crammed full of “MANtivities”. Sometimes I’ll come home so full of perspiration that I won’t allow my wife to kiss me until I’m out of the shower. The thing is, I’m usually the first one home anyway. You see, my wife is an attorney, living a commuter’s, pack-mule like existence at a law firm in New York City. And so, most nights, I welcome my spouse at the door like a 1950’s Norman Rockwell wife.
I have shopped for her favorite drinks and picked up good food, on my way home, so she has something pleasurable to come home to. And it pleases me to no end to be able to do it. Not only do I perform my husbandly duty by ending the life of the spider crawling across the clean, Lavender Sachet scented 400 thread count sheets, but I’m the one who chose their design, ordered, washed and folded them!
I’m the one who spends the parties in the kitchen talking recipes with the other wives, sharing my secret tips on removing rug stains or discussing our crazy domestic schedules while my wife discusses the latest courtroom battle with the other legal eagles in the other room.
Now don’t get me wrong, being the only man in a room full of professional men who knows how to change an alternator, use a laser level or build a new front stoop, I do get invited into the bear den too. But after ten minutes of watching the game or being bored by prima facie evidence of a case I know nothing about, I go back to where I feel most welcome. Amongst the wives!
Because my father died when I was four, I was raised in a household primarily surrounded by women. I was therefore allowed to develop a deeper emotional life, mostly because it was the only example I had to follow. And while this led to a bit of a puzzle trying to figure out what it meant to me “to become a man”, (and I tried on many hats), that emotional vocabulary never left me and is still “home to me” to this very day.
When my wife and I got married, I’m the one who wrote a poem describing what the union of our lives meant to me. I’m the one who takes care of the shopping, cradles my wife and makes sure she has Advil, a box of Kleenex, a cup of tea, toast and a kiss on the forehead when she’s sick. When I’m sick? I want to be left alone in my den like any other guy.
It’s a subject I’ve thought long and hard about and in the end I’ve realized it’s all about balance. We all speak about being non-judgmental and putting ourselves in another person’s shoes but I truly believe that my unique marital situation has allowed me to put this into practice. By understanding what a woman goes through in her day to day battles to run a home, it has made my marriage an utterly different animal than the ones I hear about during my workday or at the quarries I buy my wall-stone at.
My mother told me to listen to my wife. But that doesn’t always mean I always “hear her”. However my experiences, actually doing what many women do, have opened up a more complete understanding of why many wives feel the way they do and allowed me to appreciate my marriage from a viewpoint I never fully understood until I lived it.
Let’s face it, all relationships are about communication – and marriage is the ultimate example. Sure, many men will kick in and help watch the kids while his wife vacuums, maybe even take one child to the doctor while his spouse takes the other to the piano lesson. But until you truly taste what your wife’s daily existence is truly like, as far as I can see, you are just “listening” to her day, not “hearing” it.
I constantly hear my employees and friends discussing their latest argument, or, for the luckier ones, the latest “conversation” from the night before. They’ll try to tell me what the fight was about and invariably roll their eyes, implying something to the effect that “She just doesn’t get my life” or “The whole issue was utterly ridiculous.” And I want to say to them, “No, YOU are the one who isn’t getting it!”
Even if these husbands listened, they aren’t HEARING their spouse. And make no mistake, these misunderstandings travel across every boundary of race, creed, color and socioeconomic status. Because I often deal with wealthy clients, I see the same levels of miscommunication among the well educated as I do among my employees.
The solution? “A Spouse-cation”. Next time you have a three-day weekend, or even an entire Monday through Friday why not trade places with your spouse for a few days? Isn’t it worth a week of genuine effort to get to truly understand what life is like “on the other side of the fence?” I’ll hear men complain that, “I’m the one who has to wake up and go to work and sweat my cojones off on a daily basis, while she gets to stay home with the kids.” What they don’t realize is all the planning that went into the lunchbox, the clean clothes on the kids’ backs, the driving, the tantrums and the other things their wife has to deal with during HER day, in order to meet them at the door with a kiss, a dirty martini and a hot meal ready on the table. Trust me – it isn’t easy!
If we simply spent one week of our life living in our spouse’s shoes, I can only imagine how many households could be filled with the love, acceptance and true understanding that I find myself lucky enough to experience. Isn’t one week of our time worth the potential decades of greater understanding we might reach?
Sure, there are always imperfections in any relationship, and marriage is work. But it’s my favorite job now. It is the career I am most proud and despite the complete and utter absence of awards, or other recognition in this area of my life I don’t need a Trophy Wife because I have something exponentially more valuable… a Trophy Marriage.
David Freeman is a Landscape Design & Build Contractor, and a freelance writer growing his life, marriage and gardens in the NYC/Tri-State area.
You may contact him or simply view a slideshow of the work he loves to create at www.dcfreeman.com