Thursday, March 29, 2012

Let Him Be the Man

A few nights ago, my husband was putting together our tax paperwork to mail the next day.  As he was doing so, I asked him several times if he remembered this specific paper or that specific W2.  When he was done, I told him I wanted to look through it all to make sure he had everything.  He turned to me and with frustration in his voice said, "Let me be the man."

There wasn't anything particularly wrong with helping him make sure he had everything.  Except that wasn't what I was doing.  I wasn't asking to be helpful, I was asking him because I didn't trust him.  This was a minor incident, but it exposes an underlying problem.  I have a hard time letting go and let my husband take control of aspects of our life together.  

My husband doesn't question me when I make decisions about the care of our daughter.  He supports me as I often struggle with keeping our household running smoothly.  He is not critical when he comes home to see that the house was messier than when he left and that there aren't any groceries for dinner.  He trusts me.  So why can't I trust him in his role as provider?

The ugly truth is that while I do trust my husband specifically, I unconsciously think of men as incapable, prone to failure, or at the very least unable to function without women fixing their mistakes.  How many times has the plot of a sitcom been yet another screw up by the bumbling husband.  How often have you heard "That's just how men are, they can't get anything right!" from your acquaintances, friends, or perhaps even your mother.  And I'm afraid that sometimes men do prove themselves to be incompetent fools.  But it's not because that's all they're capable of, it's because we as women don't hold them to high standards in the first place and when they do make mistakes, we more often than not belittle them for it.

I know these are generalizations.  Perhaps you have no trouble trusting the men in your life.  As for me, I'm going to be spending the next few months supporting my husband and building him up.  I'm going to let go and trust, so that he can learn to trust himself to provide for us too.  I'm going to let him be the man.  Who knows, if I can learn to trust my husband to provide for me, I might even be able to trust my God to provide for me.

Have you ever had trouble trusting your husband to care for you, to provide for you?
How do you show your husband that you trust him?

16 comments:

  1. This is such an important issue.  Men are not children, and it seriously drives me crazy that society shoves that feminist agenda down our throats. 
    Thank you for posting about this - I don't really have any problems trusting my husband as protector and provider, and I find myself at peace knowing he has that aspect under control - but I know that a lot of women struggle with this and it's important to bring it to light.
    We aren't the only competent ones!
    (A great book on this topic is Love & Respect.)

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  2. I have a major problem with this. We finally had a discussion about it a month or so ago after going to the Ignite conference (it was sort of addressed in one of the talks), and I've been working on it but I have a loooong way to go. I'm a bit of a control freak in general, plus I just have way more 'life knowledge' than he does... but me continuing to control it will never give him the confidence to learn and do it himself. I needed to read this today! 

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  3. I've seen this go both ways. I know a girl when she was married to her ex husband she tried to file their taxes and he wouldn't let her and went to a tax person to do it. I bet it can be hard on both sides. I am SUPER independent and I know that things like this are going to be hard for me esp. when it comes to budgeting/finances/money stuff. Esp because I don't like to spend money stupidly. 

    I always think of this one episode of Roseanne where Dan wants to help Roseanne with the house work by cleaning the dishes and she FREAKS OUT because he "won't do it right" but we have to let them mess up so they can help us in the long run :) 

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  4. I think that it is awesome that you are examining the ways that stereotypes are hurting your relationship! I think that it is always a challenge when it is about "being the man" or "being the woman" and what makes it easier for me is instead seeing my husband as himself rather than "the man." Which I think is what you're hinting at by saying that you trust your husband specifically, just not as a man?

    We handle taxes differently because we file jointly. I fill out our tax forms (because I think it is easy and Josh always hired an accountant before we were married) and then ask Josh to check them before he signs (because we file jointly so we both sign). The thing is, if you're signing, you're legally responsible to make sure that everything is accurate, as that is the entire point of requiring both people to sign.  And Josh's version of "being the man" would be to not bother checking things because he would assume that I did it correctly. But some things (legally!) require both of us to do our best rather than just rely on the other to take care of it.

    So filing taxes is a sticky issue if you're filing jointly, but your underlying point of not trying to control your spouse is well taken.

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  5. With all of the guys who want to remain boys, it's nice to have a man. It sounds like you chose well. Enjoy him. The more kids you have, the nicer it will feel to have somebody by your side who can get things done instead of an overgrown boy. 

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  6. This is a very important thing in a marriage.  It sounds like you're working on it early on instead of waiting till you've been married for 20 years (much harder to do, trust me!) I read two very good books on the subject:  one Protestant called "Created to Be His Help Meet" by Debi Pearl and "How to Change Your Husband" available through Caritas.  Both are excellent books on the subject.  Speaking from experience, if you can learn to let your husband "be the man" it will make a huge difference in the depth of your marriage!  God Bless.

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  7. We file together as well, but the problem wasn't that I looked over it, it was the nagging part and the fact that I was clearly doing it because I didn't trust him more than "just to make sure".  Yeah, my point was not that I need to treat my husband as "the man" as opposed to "the woman", more that I have to treat him as an adult instead of a child that can't be trusted to do things for himself.

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  8.  Exactly! My husband is not my child and shouldn't be treated as such!  I have enough responsibilities taking care of my baby as it is without making my husband into one!  I'm definitely going to be checking out that book. 

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  9.  Yes, I think the control freak in me just adds to the problems (I also have more life experience!)  This issue makes me worry that I'm not going to be able to let go and let my children make mistakes on their own either.  At least with children though there is the opportunity to grow as parents as they grow up, with marriage, you are kind of just thrown into it!

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  10.  Thank you, I just ordered "How to Change Your Husband" through Paperback Swap.  Can't wait to get it!

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  11.  That's true, many men use it as an excuse to be lazy and juvenile!

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  12. I hate the show Roseanne (and David loves it), but I have to admit, sometimes we are so the same! 

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  13. Sarah @ BeatencopperlampApril 1, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    Wow, this is so true. Sometimes you just have to bite your tongue and let him figure things out. I've noticed that if I suggest something and just give my fiance time to mull over it, he'll realize it's a good idea. I'm trying to learn how to balance not being a nag (definitely one of my marriage resolutions) with speaking up about things that are important to me. 

    PS I think Rosanne is a hilarious show, and her marriage to Dan has some admirable qualities. Most of the time :P

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  14. yeah it's one of those shows I just watch when nothing else is on. :) 

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  15. Woah, I have the same problem. I am always "just checking"  with my husband. I'm with you, I'm going to start trusting him and see what happens. I'm guessing he'll take me by surprise.

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  16.  I've found it takes my husband about 4 months to suggest something or agree to an idea that I've suggested.  I have to remind myself that I shouldn't say "but I suggested that months ago"

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