World’s Best Husband?

While gathering information for a book, I had the chance to interview a friend who I am happily getting to know a lot better.  I’ll call her Pat.  Pat is married to, seemingly, the best husband in the world. I’ll call him Jack.  Here are some of the things Pat has told me about her husband and how he treats her:

Pat loves olives but Jack HATES them. (That’s Pat’s word!)  However, when he goes to the store, Jack always brings home olives for her.

Pat LOVES cherry Jelly Bellies and about once a month, Jack brings home a bag for her.

Jack does not drink coffee.  However, he purchased one of those super-duper coffee makers and every morning makes her a latte before he goes to work. Pat emphasized – “Every Single Morning!”

Pat has a favorite soap and body cream that is sold in only two stores in her home area. One of the stores is near where Jack works and every once in a while he will surprise her with a fresh supply.

I’m going to let Pat tell you about these last two:

                “I’ve had a cast on my foot about 75% of the time during the last two years.  Jack would help me in the shower and wash my hair for me.  He also would make lunch for me before he went to work, so I wouldn’t have to stand up. He came home, cooked dinner, did the dishes, and did the laundry.  He never complained one time.  He has been a true saint during this really difficult time.”

            “On the Valentine’s Day before our wedding (which was in April), I came home from work and the dining room table was set with two place settings from the china, crystal, and silver that we registered for.  It was beautiful, and it just took my breath away.  Candles were on the table, and he had cooked dinner.  It was the most romantic thing I had ever experienced.  To this very day, when I tell women this story, half of them get tears in their eyes.   I get teary eyed when I think of it.  It was an amazingly special, sweet, thoughtful, and beautiful thing to do.”

Now here’s the best part, men!  What Jack does is not that difficult for anyone we just have to be thoughtful and caring and DO IT!  Jack may be the world’s best husband because he IS thoughtful and caring by nature so it all comes naturally for him.  If it doesn’t come naturally for you, then you need to make an effort to BE more thoughtful and caring.  Use Jack’s examples and find something you can do for your wife or girlfriend that will make her tell her friends what a great husband/boyfriend she has. Trust me on this one, your relationship will dramatically improve!!

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Do Women Want Chivalry To Die?

I recently asked some of my female friends to tell me what men do for them that they like.  I got a lot of interesting answers and one that was reversed – what they do NOT like men to do.  And that one was puzzling.  You see, this particular woman does not like men to pull the chair out for her when being seated at a restaurant, or where ever else she might be.

Please tell me readers, is this a common dislike among women?  Even though holding chairs is not something I do on a regular basis, the concept is confusing me. I just can’t seem to get my head wrapped around it.  Of course, I’m “Old School”.  I hold doors, not just for the woman I am with, but for total strangers.  I insist on carrying the heaviest bags.  I walk between a woman and the street to protect her from splashes from passing cars.  In a group, I walk behind so I can see everyone else and will know instantly if someone needs help of any kind.  In short, I’m protective of my loved ones and what I was taught as being mannerly to others.  Is this now considered a bad thing?

I wonder, is “Women’s Lib” killing chivalry?  Have women become so empowered that they see it as a sign of weakness if they allow a man do things for them that they can do for themselves if a man is not around?    Are guys like me looked upon as misogynist Neanderthals?  Geez, I sure hope not.

But this has spurred me to examine my motives.  Why DO I feel like I have to assist/protect women?  Well, it is just the way I was raised.  My father taught me to hold doors for others when I was a pre-teen. I can still remember him saying one day as I was hurrying ahead to get a door, “Skip can get the door.  He’s a good door holder.” And I remember how good it made me feel, a skinny little kid who knew it was a good thing to hold doors for others. And besides, my mother would never forgive me if I did NOT hold a door for a woman.  Or if I did NOT offer to carry something heavy for a woman, even a total stranger.  Or if I did NOT offer to get something off the top shelf at the grocery store for a woman who was struggling to reach it.  I would imagine that all the other men like me were raised the same way.

So please, if a man offers to do something like that for you, do not be offended.  It’s our parents’ fault.  And we silently thank them for it!

Changing Roles – Society’s and Relationship’s

Male and female roles in relationships have changed dramatically over the decades.  If you are younger, you may not even be aware of it because the changes were well on their way or were even completed by the time you came of age for a relationship.  Traditional male and female roles are no longer as cut-and-dried as they once were.   These changes, I think, have been much harder for men to accept than for women. If a man is of a certain age, it is a watershed moment in a his life when he finally comes to the realization that his wife works as hard, or harder, than he does and therefore needs his help with some of the “traditional” female chores around the house.

For instance, I have learned to do laundry, readily volunteer for washing dishes and kitchen clean-up duty, (although my “reckless abandon” approach occasionally leaves one more mess to be cleaned up), have evolved into a “Bed Maker” extraordinaire,  can clean bathrooms with the best of them, and have developed an intimate relationship with the vacuum. (Okay, so we don’t see each other as often as we should, but we never forget how important we are to each other between trysts!)  My one great failing is that, short of firing up the grill or pressing a button on the microwave, I know zilch about cooking in a kitchen.  Other men I know, however, have more than made up for my shortcoming by being absolutely marvelous cooks.  I especially have to thank my two sons-in-law for picking up my slack.  They are both masculine, outdoorsman types who can create scrumptious meals, sometimes with ingredients they caught or hunted themselves.

Where men find it even harder to evolve, however, is giving up the traditional “Man’s Work” category.  I’m not talking about anything as difficult as rebuilding a car engine.  No, it is really about more mundane things like taking out the trash, mowing the lawn or trimming trees or other landscaping duties, hanging pictures and paintings on walls, carrying anything remotely considered heavy, carpentry, and ANYTHING that involves being on a ladder.   I’m not sure why it is difficult to let these jobs be done by our women.  After all, most of them have taken out trash and mowed lawns sometime in their lives.  And pounding a nail to put a picture hanger on the wall isn’t exactly rupture inducing labor.  Watching 65 pound waifs do flips on a balance beam surely qualifies women to climb ladders.  So what is the problem??

Personally, I think it is the male innate desire to protect.  Even the most mild mannered of us will turn into Casey Ryback if we think someone we love is in danger.  So all of these activities that may, even if only in extreme circumstances, cause harm to our woman we try to keep to ourselves.  I know, in most cases kind of silly.  But you know what?  If that is my worst fault, I think I can live with it.  Thankfully, although at times I know my insistence on “MY” jobs exasperates her, I am thankful that my wonderful wife can live with it also.