This morning I read a post by a woman who is considering starting a “love note writing business” for men who can’t seem to let their mushy side out. It reminded me of myself 23-ish years ago.
I’ve been very happily married for nearly 24 years and it’s not because Sam is a sloppy-faced mushball. He’s kind and loving, but in most ways he’s a “typical” guy. My marital happiness really took root when I stopped expecting or hoping him to become a woman, even though I would have denied that intention at the time.
For the first many months of my marriage I was sure that “deep down” Sam was really just like me. He was soft and mushy and excessively romantic but he just couldn’t let his guard down, he just couldn’t allow himself to be “girly” and “sensitive.” I was sure he really just wanted to sit down, have a good cry, and pour his heart out to me, but just didn’t feel safe doing it. So I kept pushing for it, asking him to “open up” and asking what he was thinking and all that. He seemed baffled, but I was sure it was because he was trying to be masculine. I was sure one day “the wall” would finally come down and we would bond in a slurpy mess of tears and hugs.
One evening we saw a stand-up comic on TV. The guy said something to the effect of, “Women want us to open up so they can see what’s inside. What they don’t seem to realize is there is nothing there!”
Sam burst out laughing, pointed at the TV and said, “See?! See?!”
That was the first time I ever considered that maybe his silence while driving was really just thinking about how to get where we were going or the engineering problem he was working on or what we’d have for dinner not pondering our eternity of love together.
When I finally came to grips with this, not only was I more content, but I was able to get what I wanted. Instead of hoping and dreaming that Sam would have a hormonal melt-down, I started appreciating what his character and personality brought to the relationship. And when I needed to be hugged and held and fawned over, instead of hoping for a psychic husband, I asked for it.
Women have this strange idea that the affection they often crave isn’t worth a hill of beans if the “have to ask.” It’s not legitimate like fishing for a compliment if the guy can’t read minds and divine what the woman wants. On the contrary, I find that it’s not a man’s omniscience that proves his love, but his willingness to do what he can when he actually knows what to do. And when I’ve told my husband what I need, he’s gone above and beyond trying to make me happy.
Yours just might do the same.