Last week I was lucky enough to spend a relaxing and much needed evening with a very fabulous lady. As the drinks flowed and we settled into our chairs, the conversation naturally turned to our families and, by default, our husbands.
At this point, I should say that when female conversation usually hits the topic of “the husband” I generally find myself taking a mental step back. Conversation very often works along the lines of listing “the husband’s” various faults. His slovenly attitude to the home; the way he winds the kids up to the point of melt down; the way he spends too much time at work/the pub/his mate’s/the gym.. (delete as appropriate); the way he is not attentive enough to his frazzled wife; the way he still hopes for a bit of ‘how’s your father’ when her day has obviously been long and knackering… the list is practically endless. And while I do sympathise and try not to underestimate just how frustrating and, let’s face it, boring(!) family life and therefore, partnerships can sometimes be, I do struggle to take part in the husband bashing with much enthusiasm.
For I have a secret… I like my husband!!!
Don’t get me wrong he has his moments; he is still undergoing training in his use of the washing basket and has perfected the afternoon nap on the sofa while I trawl through the ironing, but I like him. I don’t want to complain about him or make out that he’s harder work than the kids. You see, much as he loves to tease the boys about potential girlfriends, and forgets to put his mug in the dishwasher; he is out of the house every day by 7am. He still goes to work on days when I know I would throw a sickie and curl up on the couch; he does his best to look interested when I’m ranting about something that I know isn’t really that important; he pulls himself off the sofa to play with the boys even when he’s obviously beyond knackered; he is strong, kind, funny and honest and he always unfailingly puts his family first.
So imagine my relief when my friend confessed to liking her husband too! We could both say to another woman, without fear of appearing smug, how we like a quiet evening in with our respective other halves, chatting about not much and sharing our days. Because it does sometimes feel that I’m not allowed to tell the truth about my husband. That if I were to say I respect him for how hard he works I would be an outsider; a traitor even to the cause of put upon women everywhere. But I’m not, I’m just someone who is still learning to appreciate the things my husband does for his family and to recognize that he works just as hard, if not harder, than me. I shouldn’t feel awkward for saying that, surely?
I know not everyone is as lucky as my friend and I, and I certainly don’t want to preach, but I do wonder how much happier we’d all be if we could train ourselves to look past the annoying habits. If we weren’t so focused on the washing up that hasn’t been done, would we start to interpret his bedroom eyes in a more open way? If we recognize that we’re not the only ones who sometimes struggle to get through the day, would we find it easier to forgive a few clothes on the floor? If we weren’t falling out over the kids would things just be a little calmer, a little easier?
Life can be hard and a good rant is sometimes good for the soul, but my husband isn’t something I want to rant about. He’s my partner for a reason and while he isn’t perfect, (still waiting for those socks to make it all the way to the basket) neither am I….