My Goal is to Help Her Be the Best She Can Be
Let me tell you a little about my wife as she’s exceptional. Not only is she really smart (has two doctorate degrees in health care) but she is really driven to do her best. Her work ethic is at a very high level and she truly cares about her patients (when practicing) and her students (when teaching). Moreover, she’s classy in every way and she’s a great mother to our four kids. Most importantly, she has great faith, ethics and morals. She has changed my life for the better in so many ways. She was the reason that I became a Catholic and I’m so glad that I did. She keeps me on the straight and narrow – wives are good at that.
In college, she was a nationally ranked gymnast and I really think that competitive spirit has influenced much of how she operates – i.e. be your best, work hard, set high expectations. I’m not afraid to say that early in our marriage I was intimidated by her successes on all fronts. She had a much better resume than me (still does), was out earning me (although not any more) and was very vocal on her expectations of me and our marriage (I got yelled at a lot). I really don’t think that she meant for this to happen but her strength and attitude certainly contributed to turning me into a submissive husband. I was always so desperate to please her and win her over that I became driven to serve her. I’ll admit that I’ve had submissive tendencies since I was a teenager and have always been in awe of the female gender but her forcefulness and ambition in the first several years of our marriage set off a mindset for me that has not changed since. My wife is superior, she knows it and I have to keep her happy. Hence as part of my desire to please her, because of necessity and because I have some nontraditional tendencies , I became what I understand every wife needs and many want– a wife. Once it started there was no turning back and I would be lost in another role.
How did this evolve? My wife was working and going to school while our kids were young. She was trying to do it all (as they say), including the housework. She was and still is somewhat old fashioned. It was planted into her mind that it was the wives job to care for the home whether she worked or not. But she needed help and I was the answer.
I can’t really remember how the transition went but I’ve been doing 100% of the cleaning, laundry and grocery shopping for the vast majority of our 29 years of marriage. For years she reluctantly agreed. She didn’t buy into me assuming what was once (still?) viewed as a feminine role in our home and she was critical of how I did the work. Fast forward years later, she’s accepted the role. It’s now expected that I would do all of the housework. She’s even bought me birthday presents that are geared towards being a homemaker. Her sister knows what I do. She doesn’t like to broadcast to the world that I’m the domestic but she gives me chores as if it was as natural as could be.
Doing virtually nothing at home allows her to be the best that she can be professionally and boy is she good at what she does. This freedom allows her to pursue other interests. She loves to read, exercise, go on hikes, volunteer at church, etc. I, on the other hand, am very comfortable to be in a support role. I was made to be a homemaker even though it will never be more than a part-time role. But there’s more. My wife doesn’t have an office staff set up like I do. She needed a secretary and I was chosen. She saw that I was very task oriented and really organized. She’s brilliant but a bit scattered. She knew that I wanted to please her. So she turned me (actually, I applied for the job) into what is essentially her personal assistant. Because of our roles in the marriage I was completely on board.
Not many days go by that my wife doesn’t ask me to do something. Print this paper. Make this phone call. Run this errand. Remind me to do this. I need nylons – she doesn’t even need to tell me what size or shade. Order me this dress. Return this to the store. Hang up my clothes. My legs are sore. I’m out of eyeliner. Renew my license. Make a reservation for my trip. It’s constant and completely natural for her to give me to do’s and she knows that I will do exactly as she says –and guess what? I want to.
I am a partner in my firm. I get more satisfaction out of serving my wife than I ever would at work. Work is work. Serving my wife is my passion. Just the other day she said that I need you to take a Friday off soon as she was planning a get together for a couple professional women at our home on a Saturday. Amazingly, she didn’t have to explain at all. She knew that I knew this meant I’d be cleaning the house on Friday and running errands all day for food preparation, etc. The chemistry is there. Some men would disagree but I believe that when your wife has a real sense of power position in the marriage, it makes the husband so happily weak (in a good way) that he can’t and won’t say no. My wife has that power over me. She couldn’t be nicer but yet she completely controls my emotions.
It’s often said that wives/mothers have a lot of guilt. Well I did/do to. I started doing the housework when my wife was working on getting her masters/PHD and working as well. Once I started, I never stopped. She knows it has to be this way. She doesn’t say it but there’s no way she would change our roles, other than she would like to work less. She’s starting to notice that we’re not alone. She mainly just laughs and compares now to the past. She doubts that the men of a generation before me would actually be happy to be a “housewife.” She knows I’m different but she knows that I make her life easier.
If I may gloat a little more about my wife. She’s getting both a national academic and local athletic award this summer. I know that the only way she can do what she does outside the home is for me to relieve her of just about all responsibility inside the home. I just love catering to her needs. It may be hard for most to imagine but I get excited when she tells me to do something. Despite her successes I’m still the main breadwinner so I work really hard too. I average about 600 hours of overtime per year. But my work doesn’t stop when I leave the office. Saturday is typically cleaning day. Sunday is grocery day. Weeknights include laundry and errands . I pack my wife (and my youngest daughter, who is still in high school) a lunch every work day. It’s a full schedule but the housework doesn’t stress me and I’ve gotten good at it. Occasionally my wife will tease me that I should get a second job doing it for other women. If I had a choice financially, I would quit working and serve her 24/7. God willing and if I’m healthy, that will be reserved for when I retire.
So I’ve shared a lot. It’s hard for me to speak for how my wife would tell her story. She would probably say it’s a mixed bag. She truly appreciates what I do for her. She needs me to do what I do for her. She still likely has some guilt that her husband does all the housework so she’s reluctant to share it with the world. It took a long time but I think she’s over the concern that I’m playing a female role. She’s sees that society is changing and that I’m not the only one. She’s amazing in so many ways and I like to believe that I’ve played a small role in her success. She always has been and always will be the “boss” and I’m very accepting of my role in our marriage. After 29 years, I think it’s working. I often wonder, should I tell the world or is the world not ready for a man like me?