I’ve been in a phrase-phase lately with my opinions on relationships. Everyone just wants an answer. An answer to what they’re supposed to do to make tolerating another human being for the rest of their lives a hell of a lot easier. The truth is, the more I speak in motivational Pinterest quotes the more I feel like these theories came from our society as a whole and not just my bias opinion on partnership.
“Nothing worth having comes easy”
“Life is too short to hide your feelings”
“Go where you are celebrated-not tolerated”
“Unless it’s mad, passionate, or extraordinary love, it’s a waste of your time.
As far as advice goes “happy wife; happy life” is the most simple and accurate of an allegation as they come. I get that it’s inherently sexist, but frankly I’m done being censored for the millennial’s of my generation who clap for things like divorce. I’d say happy husband, happy… Well, nothing rhymes with husband. Happy spouse, happy house? There. Responsibility for all. The pitfall in said trope is the definition of what makes for both the first part and the latter to be true. Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW it takes two to tango. But what’s a good man’s world without a woman by his side? I guess the same as a good woman’s world without a man by her side.
For fear of sounding pretentious, I don’t want to say I know exactly what it is, I as a woman, am responsible for when entering a relationship. But, I’m so close to being the spokesperson for a model housewife–it’s scary. In essence, everything I do for my partner is exactly what my partner should do for me. Because, after all, we are a team and our love should be parallel.
So with that said, what exactly does a “happy-enough-wife-for-a-happy-enough-life” entail? What are the man’s roles in a relationship?
Gentlemen, have you ever walked into a new job without knowing your job description? No. Cause that would be silly to be clocking in and wondering if you are the president of the company or if you are scrubbing toilets. In order to excel, you need to outline your duties and achieve your goals. Same goes for a relationship.
- Be a support system. The song wasn’t lying, we’re absolutely holding out for hero. Life is draining. It’s difficult. Frankly it’s down right unfair. If, in these moments of utter weakness, you are able to provide us with a glimpse of positivity even when the easiest route isn’t so, you’ve done your job. Encourage us without babying us. Be the backbone that bends, but refuses to break. Never let us be disrespected by others and certainly never let us disrespect ourselves.
- Provide. Gender roles in previous generations have geared the nature of men to provide to be mostly of monetary value. Previous to that; shelter. These days, swapping stigmas in such a way that allows your partner a “day off” from their gender role is endearing. Men should take on chores just the same as woman should bring home income. If we feel the need to work and provide, then men should make a meal, take out the trash, clean the house just the same as a woman does. It’s not about “who should do what”, it’s about mutually contributing in your relationship.
- Stay a prize. Someone once told me that if a man stays his wife’s boyfriend, she won’t go looking for another. Makes sense. A good rule of thumb for life in general is to never let yourself go. Never is life so certain that you won’t need to be your best to gain continued desire from your partner. There are many reasons why people stop focusing on their appearance, none of which should be “we’ve been together long enough”. Always maintain control of your own life so that guilt or blame can not be placed on your spouse. Attraction is essential for healthy longevity.
- Make decisions. The only reason people don’t make decisions is for fear of making a mistake. A man must stay confident in his jurisdiction throughout a relationship as options arise. We, as women, look to a man to provide resolution. I realize I have unlimited personal freedom, but as my partner having the manly decision making of a spouse is a role I feel needs to be filled.
- Love unconditionally. This is the show, not tell segment of a man’s role. The most important thing a woman can do for your relationship is to love herself completely; and without hesitation. The most important thing a man can do for his relationship is behave in a manner that is indicative of his affection for her without conditions. The way he reacts, speaks and touches his partner should always be in a way that shows her his love no matter what she does or doesn’t do. Loving her for who she is, always; despite differences.
It’s 2016, traditional roles are blurred, but the essentials are still intact. Sure, women aren’t just baby factories and laundry machines but then again men are no longer barbaric hunters who’s only job is to keep women and their offspring from perishing. No set of rules…err…roles will ever be suitable for every household or relationship. But guidelines help keep the idea of a woman’s needs less of a daunting task and, well…lets just say “manageable”. Good luck!