Advice to Myself
Tonight on Dr Phil (my wife likes to watch him, and I was there, too), there were a number of guests, but there were two that really struck me.
One was a man and his wife, and the man expected the wife to do certain things, basically to please him. He wanted dinners, he wanted a clean house, and he wanted her to be sexy for him. The trouble is, that he was constantly criticizing her and berating her when she didn’t measure up. He didn’t yell or scream, but he was pretty clear in his disappointment.
The other was a woman who said she was happy being a housewife, and that it was wonderful for her to do things for her husband. She kept the house clean, and worked with the kids at home, and had dinners made, and even dressed up a bit when he came home from work. She said she felt fulfilled making him happy.
This all stirred up some interesting thoughts in me.
The first guy was clearly out of line. I’ve worked with people that constantly berated me. Bosses, missionary companions, and there have been times in our past where I felt I didn’t measure up to Jodi expectations. It’s not a fun place to be. I’ve also looked at it and seen that there have been times where I’ve set a pretty high bar for Jodi, too. That’s not right, no matter who’s doing it to whom.
The second lady made me a bit uneasy. There was a part of me that wanted to shrug off her choices. A part that wanted to say, “Yeah, she’s just talked herself into that, but she’ll get tired of it and end up feeling trapped, just like the feminists say she will.” There was another part of me, a very “politically and socially incorrect” part of me, that thought, “How cool would that be?”
I mean, let’s face it guys… We can be as liberal and as sensitive as we wanna, but who among us wouldn’t love it if our wives treated us like kings? Eh?
And the flip side is true, too, ladies. Who among you wouldn’t like to have your husband bringing you chocolates while you bask in the hot bath he poured for you?
There are two things that have to happen for that kind of pampering to be healthy:
1. Each of us should do it for our spouse as often as we possibly can. I know I’m preaching to myself as well, but we should all be doing everything we can each day to make each other’s life wonderful. There should be no doubt in Jodi’s mind that she’s the Queen of my world, and I should feel like her King.
2. We both need to do that because we want it, not because we are forced, belittled, or begrudged into it.
The truth is that this issue has nothing to do with sexism, or chauvinism, or feminism. We all want to feel like we’re important. And the one person we want to show us how important we are is the one who chose to be with us for eternity.
Now, I know that reality takes its toll. The ideal isn’t always attainable. But I’ll bet each of you reading this, like myself, can look inside and see one or two (or more) things that can be done to make those two things happen.
Extra: This issue of the Latter Day Songs newsletter features a track of Sam Payne live at the LDS Independent Music Fest VI! Sam's stories are wonderful. Check it out. This issue also features one of my songs, "Today and Yesterday"