On behalf of Team Mars, I have a confession to make . . .
Men are babies.
We put on a good show most of the time. We puff out our chests and beat them like Tarzan, swinging on our ropes from tree to tree. We bear our teeth in the face of danger and roar all macho-like when we emerge victorious against some treacherous and snarling adversary.
Then we head back to the tree house and snuggle with Jane.
It's been over twenty years that my wife and I have been together, and it never fails to amaze me that she's still there waiting for me when I swing back around. Not just waiting, but also willing to engage. To ask me how things are going in my neck of the jungle. And to provide, in the midst of my constantly-turbulent surroundings, a setting that is familiar, stable, and welcoming.
She makes my life easier in some profound ways . . .
1) She remembers the cream. It's a subliminal thing, for I never put it on the list. She just seems to know when I'm running low on my International Delight Fat Free French Vanilla Coffee Creamer. It finds its way into her shopping cart, rides along in the back of the van, and there it is in the refrigerator door when I need it. And I need it, people. Coffee sucks without it . . .
2) She does my laundry. Back in college, she let me do it. And it all went in one load: dirty socks and underwear; jeans and sweat pants so filthy they could stand up on their own (or so my mom used to claim, though I've never actually witnessed such a thing); that itchy purple sweater I got from some well-meaning relative upon completing four years of high school; and my tennis shoes with Minnesota topsoil ground into the grooves. People knew when I washed clothes. Somewhere along the line, she recognized my ineptitude and took over. Now, my loincloth smells like a mountain breeze . . .
3) She is predictable. By and large, she's Grey's Anatomy, WWII historical fiction, anything smothered in barbecue sauce, Pepsi, and chocolate. Never dark. She does surprise me occasionally. Linger on something curious and new that causes a lifting of the eyebrows and a "Hmm. Really?" But after all these years, I find these to be only slight variations on familiar themes. I rest easier at night knowing that curve balls will be few and far between.
4) She doesn't nag. She could. Some say she should. And sometimes I wish she would. But for the most part, she lets me be me. When the decisions aren't of the monumental sort, she lets me swing away. Occasionally, she'll offer a simple "Is that really what you want to do?" And after all my muttering and justifying, she'll let me take my cut and deal with the consequences. The best part? If I go down swinging, she doesn't lay on the "I told you so!" Instead, she holds my hand and reminds me that I am more than the sum of my poor performances.
5) She listens. Regardless of the topic - and trust me, it can run the gamut from petty to poignant - she lends an attentive ear. She lets me reason things through by talking them out and providing her perspective for consideration. We don't always agree, but we come out with a stronger understanding of both the depths and the varieties of our unique points of view. In a world that seldom takes the time to hear and consider what I have to say, she is my faithful sounding board, my harshest critic, and my most passionate companion.
Yep. I'm a baby. But I'm man enough to admit it. And more than willing to confess that I'd be lost without my spouse. I'd be an unheard, beaten down, constantly confused dude sporting dirty knickers and drinking crappy coffee. And that would just be gross . . .
So let's hear it, Team Mars! How does your spouse keep your corner of the jungle running smoothly? And Team Venus? We love you. We'd suck without you. We thank you . . .
Brian (who blogs here)
1 year ago