Thoughts I think to myself on a daily basis scrolling through my Facebook feed:
“Amber is posting jaw-dropping photos of the new gorgeous headboard her husband built them in his workshop from pieces of wood that he chopped down himself. [Meanwhile my husband thinks he is a carpenter because he put together our bed from Ikea.]”
“Holy crap, those before and after photos of Tiffany’s home renovation are spectacular! I wonder what contracting company they hired. Never mind, the caption says her husband did all the work. [I wonder if my husband will ever patch up that hole in the bathroom wall that’s been there for two years, or if we will always have to strategically hang our hand towels over top of it to hide it from our guests.]”
“Swoon! Look at that cool shelving installation in Sara’s living room! Totally Pinterest worthy. Oh, no wonder. She says she found a picture of it on Pinterest, showed it to her husband, and asked him to build her one just like it. The next day he built her one just like it; how romantic! [My husband builds Star Wars lego sets.]”
In my teen years, as I entered the season of dating and thinking about finding, “the perfect guy” I first had to ask myself what the perfect guy looked like for me. We all have those moments right? In fact, hopefully we have those moments plenty of times throughout our dating years because when you are 21 the hypothetical perfect guy looks a lot more refined than he did when you were 16.
So I made a list of my husband-potential qualities in my early 20s. They included things like: he does not constantly look to others for approval; he knows his worth in Christ; he is a peacemaker and speaks kindly of everyone; he has a positive outlook on life; he is not quick-tempered. The list goes on. It was detailed. Once you go through a couple bad breakups and heartaches you learn to get detailed with your requirements, amen?
The thing I have to realize now that I have been married for four years to a man who checked off every box on that list like he was some kind of walking, talking miracle, is that my heart still yearns for him to have additional skillsets that jeopardize our relationship. But the truth is, that’s on me, not on him. My heart has been in that place plenty of times, yearning for more from him. And the biggest catalyst that puts me there is hearing about my friend’s husbands and what they are doing that my husband is not.
The reason I used all of the examples of how handy it seems all my friend’s husbands are, is because that has personally been one of the topics that most frequently rattles me; my husband has a lot of amazing qualities but doing things around the house for me is not one of them. He does not build things, repair things, invent things, service things, or DIY things. He is not a jack-of-all-trades or even a jack-of-two-trades. The other day he used a drill and I literally asked him if he knew what he was doing (not in a sarcastic way) because that’s how rare it is to see my husband with a power tool in his hands and I was a genuinely worried about safety.
Being a builder, repairer, inventor, serviceman, DIYer, jack-of-all-trades kind of guy was not on my list of requirements for a husband. When I was dating I looked for embedded character traits that would ensure my heart and soul could be safely joined to his; I didn’t run aptitude tests to determine whether he could build furniture. Yet I find myself criticizing my husband in my head because he would fail that aptitude test if he took it and apparently that bothers me. Who the hell am I to be bothered by what my husband can’t do for me when the truth is that everything he can and does do for me is so much more than I deserve?
Comparison is a relationship killer. All of us women have insecurities about our looks so I’m sure I’m not alone when I say I have a fear that my husband compares me to other women physically. I wonder to myself when we’re in a public place like the mall if my husband is noticing and comparing me to the beautiful woman that just walked by. I wonder when certain commercials or scenes comes on TV if my husband is comparing me to the sexy woman on the screen. I wonder if any of the pornographic images my husband has ever encountered, as most men have at one point or another, still haunt him and if he’s comparing me to the seductive woman in his memory. Ultimately I wonder if I’m good enough for him. Yet here I am comparing my husband to other men, not just superficially but inwardly, and not just to strangers but to my OWN FRIENDS’ HUSBANDS.
I think we all do this to some degree and in one area where we feel our men lack. Maybe it’s something ours does that we don’t want him to do or maybe it’s something he doesn’t do that we wish he did. Maybe for you it’s that you think musicians are hot and it seems like all of your friends’ husbands play guitar except for yours. Maybe your husband makes less money than all your friends’ husbands and you wish he would have chosen a higher-paying career. Maybe your husband has never picked up a vacuum, rubbed your feet, or cooked you a meal, yet your best friend tells you that her husband just did all three of those things in one night. What are you to do, not feel a single twinge of jealousy? Impossible! But I challenge us to fight those twinges and fight them fiercely. I don’t know about your man but mine acts like I have zero flaws. I can’t remember a time that he has ever pointed one out let alone condemned me for one of them. (There are actually many, so he’s definitely blinded by love.)
Something has to change on my end. Even if I never audibly say, “I wish you were more like Amber’s husband,” those thoughts will influence what I do say and it will rob him of the respect, recognition, and gratitude he deserves from me. Because at the end of the day her (or her, or her, or her, or her) husband might be as top-notch as they come, but mine does something perfectly that the other 3 trillion men in the world will never be able to do at all: love me.
Bridget is an artist and professional photo editor living in South Bend with her husband, Jamey and her cat, Theo. So if you like looking at pictures of rainbow hair and fluffy felines, you should follow her on Instagram.