By Richard Bleil
To be completely honest, but not necessarily fair, I am writing this because I know too many women who are not well-supported by their male partners. That’s not to say that there are not women who are bad at supporting their partners; God knows I was married to such a woman, but when I think about it, it is usually the woman that will give up her education to get a job while her boyfriend finishes his degree, and it’s usually the wife who follows the husband as he transfers for his job.
Now, I suppose that I should also forewarn the readers that I have male friends who are upset with me for “setting the bar too high”. I try to be very supportive when I’m in a relationship, and I also tend to like very romantic gestures. Apparently, the combination of the two is, well, just too much.
But, again, this is intended as food for thought. I hope the reader finds some of the ideas helpful, but what you do with these ideas is really up to you.
Let’s start with the very basics. First and foremost, HELP YOUR PARTNER AROUND THE HOUSE!!! I have a friend who painted the tool shed and finished her deck today (well, considering the time, yesterday technically) BY HERSELF. It’s pathetic. Even if her husband sucks at manual labor, he should at least be standing by her side helping. This should not happen. And, by the way, either cook or do the dishes. Seriously. I believe the rule of thumb should be that the one who doe not cook does the dishes. Wash a damned dish, damnit.
Second, your partner never has a problem that you do not have. Guess what; you’re in it together. Your partner is kind enough to have chosen YOU with whom to spend their life, that means that anything one of you goes through, the other does as well. I have another friend who is struggling with her living arrangements, but her fiancee refuses to move in with her until she makes a certain amount of money so she isn’t dependent on him. For crying out loud, what kind of crap is this?!? Either they’re a couple, or they are not, and if they are, they need to BOTH figure out how to resolve problems.
Third, don’t put your partner in a support role. This is something that has become so second nature in our society that it is simply accepted as the way it is, without a second thought. The most progressive friends I know, with whom I would play weekly games, would also fall into this role. As we played, it was his wife that always got up to make dinner, while the rest of us would sit around the table to visit. I always made it a point to at least offer to help with preparing or cleaning up, although, much to my chagrin, probably not hard enough. I will tell you that frequently in gatherings, I will be the one in the kitchen (such as, for example, Thanksgiving meals) while the men all sat in the living room watching football. Maybe it’s not so difficult for me since I’m not a sports fan, but it also always made it difficult for me to fit in, not only with the men, but just in general.
Finally, make major decisions together. I have a friend that is in an unusual sexual trio for our society. While visiting neighbors (a married couple) one evening, things, apparently, became a little silly and resulted in a game of, well, strip, I guess. By the end of the evening, she had two new lovers. This…is a big decision, and I can guarantee you that these two discussed the concept of bringing a third sexual partner, and her in particular, into their relationship. Now, if you go out and try to bring up the concept of a new lover to your wife, that’s your own fault. No trying to blame me. But, seriously, relocation for jobs should consider both partners and take into account who has the better job potential, not just gender. Vacations need to be discussed as a couple, including, but not limited to, how much to spend on it. Having children, and if one wants to stay home to raise the new baby needs to be a discussion, not just a decision made by one and imposed upon the other. Sometimes, like it or not, somebody won’t get their way, but the discussion should always be open, and honest, including honestly open.
It’s a very large, very cold, very lonesome world. You’re fortunate if you’re not in it alone. My advice: act like it.