Some of you might remember the very first Reclaiming Wife post ever, when I quoted Cindy (who’s wedding I talked about here) as saying, “Meg, I love being a wife. So far in life, it’s been my most satisfying and challenging role. So here’s to the rest of yours and David’s life. Cheers.”
And then everyone screamed at me because I said I didn’t think she was talking about the minivan mass-media image of wife and people thought I hated everyone who had a minivan or whatever nonsense? (And she wasn’t really talking about that, by the way, as she’s a motorcycle girl. And I’m not a mini-van OR motorcycle girl, so that’s just that.) Well, Cindy wrote me this amazing email last week, that, at risk of getting slaughtered in the comments again (but we have reporting buttons now!) I had to share with you guys. Because she’s just so right on, and I love the way she explains how you can have a traditional role in your marriage and be doing it not because it is or isn’t traditional, but because it’s right for YOU. Kind of like our weddings, yes?
It’s Cindy, from the infamous, “I love being a wife” comment. Well, I’ve been married a year and a half now and have to admit, I still love being a wife. I never knew that I would be so well-suited for such a thing. I thought I would find it confining, trapping, and full of unhappiness but it has opened my heart to a whole new perspective I never thought imaginable because I chose to be a wife, and I have chosen to play the role in marriage that I do, which is actually quite traditional.
I’m not much for the 9 to 5. I’m not much for the rules and frustrations of the working world, and for the endless willingness to bend your will and sell your soul that comes with a paycheck. I simply don’t work like that. But I excel at counsel, compassion, cleanliness, and mowing the lawn. Since I met my husband, we fell into rather traditional roles. Not because we had to but because that is the people that we are and it works for us. Surprisingly, I found that it doesn’t make us old fashioned or conformists, it makes us simply who we are and, honestly, my wild heart could use a little taming …
My husband is very much a businessman, a small businessman who likes to get his hands dirty and be a part of the show. He believes that everything in life that people have they should, “Work for it and stop waiting for a god damn handout. Life isn’t going to happen for you.” I’ve never met a man so determined to make his own way in the world and while some of my friends shunned him for his fiscally-Republican ways,* I saw a man who who picked up garbage out in the woods, recycled more than any other person I’ve ever met, knew who he was and what he wanted out of life, and I wanted to BE A PART OF THAT LIFE.
The person I’ve become since I’ve met him is motivated and strong, able to negotiate, stand up for herself, and be whomever she wants to be. I am totally and completely free. He holds me back from nothing but encourages me to “go out there and live your life. Oh, you want to do that on a motorcycle? Okay, I’ll get one too and we can go live life together.”
He knows I’m flaky, anyone who knows me does. He accepts my random acts of impulsiveness and occasionally joins me in a harebrained idea. He never says no to adventure. He never backs down from my crazy ideas. He listens to my counsel in regard to issues with his business. He lives to see me happy, and that’s the best damn feeling on Earth being loved like that.
So I married him and five years into our relationship, and a year and a half into our marriage, I came to realize I’m so much more than a cooking, cleaning, gardening machine (things I would like to point out that I actually like doing because I do them ). Yes, I am a wife in a traditional sense as much as I am a wife in the sense that I am a partner to someone. I am a part of something so big it blows my mind every damn day.
But I’ll let my husband say it, because he said it best (editors note: this is from Cindy’s blog post, and you must go read the rest right now):
He said, “When I’m working these long hours, I think about you. I think a lot about you, actually, about what a good wife I have. I thought about how when I get home, you won’t nag me about anything, you’ll just start the shower and make me a sandwich or have a plan for us to go out and unwind somewhere together. You listen to me talk about what a clusterfuck everything was, or how great the LD was, or my stories about the crew, the crowd, the hi-jinks with the union. You don’t get mad when I work late. You don’t resent that I love what I do. I couldn’t have gone off on my own without you and I know that I can’t do this without you. You’re a bigger part of my business and my life than I realized. You’re not just a good wife, but you’re a good partner. I really love you.” I smiled and blushed, said, “I love you, too, Bug. Cheers.” and we clinked glasses because I didn’t know what else to say.
I’ll let this picture from our wedding day speak a thousand words about about us. I really like the way he kisses, me, just saying.
*I told to Cindy that for all my hard-core belief in the social contract, we had lots of super socially liberal but fiscally conservative small business owning friends (hi Kathy!) that I get on famously with. I love them, they are smart, they are wise, and they like to talk about being a business owner (score!) and they agree to do things like go to a hand gun range with me without any hand wringing at all. So knowing Cindy through the blog, I had a sneaking feeling I’d really love her husband. And then she tells me he owns a theatrical lighting business, and I start grinning. Because OF COURSE HE DOES.