Men imagine your wife sitting you down and giving you a beautifully wrapped gift. You peel away the paper and you see a picture. A picture of a list. Not just any list, but a list that states 25 ways to communicate respect to YOU. 25 ways to make you feel at peace; make you feel like the man of the house. 25 ways to piss off every feminist ever created. OK maybe not every feminist, but a majority of them, like 99.9%.
Let’s just say I have a friend of friend, who knows a friend that found a list typed and framed, sitting on the dining room table. In which it stated “25 Ways to Communicate Respect to (inserts loving Husband’s name here).” The title alone made my face frown because I had no idea what I was about to read. “Communicate Respect?” I thought to myself. “You mean like Please and Thank You right?” Like a “Hey babe can you please stop annoying me while Scandal’s on? Thank you!” Nope. That clearly was not what the list was stating.
As I read each number I felt myself cringe more and more. What the hell was I reading? And…why do I agree with most of these? Was I not the modern day, independent woman I thought I was? Was I (takes a deep breath) a traditionalist? Now I will confess, as I got older the thoughts of being submissive to a man did feel like something I could embrace. I mean what’s wrong with being submissive to your man? And I’m talking in all aspects of submission, if you know what I mean *wink, wink*, but that’s for another article.
In this day and age where feminists come in all shapes and sizes, us “sluts” are walking for our rights, girls running the world, and women becoming the next iconic founders, who wants to feel like we’re setting ourselves back 50 years by following a rule that states “Resist the Urge to Correct”. At this point it’s a catch 22. I sat and thought to myself “Do I really have to follow these rules to show respect to my husband? Wait. Is this how I keep a man?”
A couple of these rules did make me and my single girlfriends scream “Oh hell no!” But one may ask themselves in the same breath, Is this why I’m single? For years our seasoned Aunties never failed to remind us at every family function the secrets to keeping a man, and making him happy. Always make his plate. Give him sex every day, who cares if you’re tired!? Never go to bed angry. Pray together. But as the years went along, and we women started standing in our own light, one may say we have become…selfish. Yep I said it; selfish ladies.
Plenty of times we become so consumed in our own progress, our children, and trying not to fall into the shadows of our men that we leave them on the back burner. When we do finally pay attention to our men it’s when we complain about something that hasn’t been done right.
Now I’m not saying that we should bow down to their feet and hush our mouths. But if we have an amazing man who holds the house down, gives you physical and emotional security, makes you feel beautiful, and puts it down on a regular basis, why not “follow a couple rules”? If you do not completely agree with some of the rules why not tweak it a little bit?
When I showed my young, married, ultra-feminist, agnostic coworker these rules she surprisingly thought that these were excellent things to concentrate on. She even suggested ways to make the ones she didn’t fully agree with work for her, “I would replace #16 with something like “Help Each other”. I think “Be Content” is too close for comfort to “stop trying to improve” She then proceeded to say, “One of the best ways to continue to foster love in a relationship is to continue to dream together. I would replace “Be Content” with “Share in each other’s dreams” …being unafraid to rely on your partner for some sort of future happiness is one of the truest kinds of commitment.”
The more I read these rules, the more it makes me question the infamous phrase “Happy wife, happy life.” Can we truly be happy with following a list like this? Should it be reciprocated? I cannot tell you that, but what I can tell you is that marriage is built from the climate of love, harmony, intimacy, and hard work. My newlywed guy friend said it perfectly, “Marriage you learn [stuff] as you go along…there’s no how to manual. Men and women’s unrealistic expectations of each other, and their abilities to do stuff like this list immediately, are what causes strife… this list is something that is learned over time.” A one sided plan can never stand, it takes two. So communicate and find that balance for you and yours, it just might work out in the end.