There is an underlying message that women receive when dating, “find a guy who has more resources than you.” If a woman has a financially successful career, then she needs to mate-up with a man who has had MORE financial success. Women who financially support partners can be seen as “dating down.” The definition of “support” is going to be expanded past the issue of income as we explore this week’s topic.
The “Happy Wife for Life” series is based on the findings from Fawn Weaver’s book, Happy Wives Club, where she travels around the world to find the threads that weave amazing marriages together. This week we are exploring Secret #7: Support Your Spouse. Weaver writes, “[amazing couples] supported one another through school, life changes, career, hobbies, interests, and goals/dreams. They constantly built each other up throughout the years. Sometimes the husband supported the household, and sometimes the wife did. Which spouse brought in more money didn’t matter. The respect and support of one another is what mattered.”
I knew the announcement was coming. The first hint that my husband was getting antsy was when he started to pay a lot more attention to his motorcycle. He spent the money to make the necessary repairs and “do it right.” I know my hubby doesn’t spend financial resources without a purpose. He finally said, “I need to go on a road trip to San Francisco.”
There is a side to my husband that is not revealed in his everyday life. His motorcycle identity is a part of him and ties to his core value of “freedom.” One of our marriage agreements was that matrimony was not going to prevent us from being ourselves or to stifle our personal growth. When I said yes to marriage, I accepted the WHOLE package, motorcycle boots and all. I understood the deal that I made and I was reminded that the benefits applied to him too.
My dad successfully brainwashed me to believe that motorcycles are dangerous and instructed me to never get on one. The announcement about the impending motorcycle adventure triggered a violation of my “health and safety” core value. I expect us to share a long healthy happy life together. Long periods of time on a motorcycle felt in direct conflict with this expectation.
I needed to know what he was going to do to be safe. I needed to know how he was going to be checking in with me to confirm that he is still safe during his road trip. I did not want my reaction to the announcement to be a mediocre “okay.” I wanted my response to be, “YES! Good for you!”
How I Support my Husband’s Adventures:
- I give my blessing. No complaints. No nagging. No bringing up the topic as a weapon in a future squabble. I release my resistance to keep him at home when he needs to go off and explore alone.
- I tell him what I need in order to be fully on board. We made an agreement that would soothe my inflamed security breech alarm going off in my head. This included text messages at his designated check points and the “Find Friends” app.
- I’m excited for him. When he shares the interesting aspects of his adventure, I celebrate with him. I share with him the fun things I’m doing in his absence that he would hate (Netflix marathon of documentaries!). This alleviates any possible guilt he may have for leaving me home alone.
This week’s lesson reminded me that “supporting” a spouse is not restricted to a financial component. Supporting my husband means helping him grow into more of who he already is and to accept the whole package. The long motorcycle adventures are a part of the marriage agreement. They don’t happen often, but when they happen I want my response of “YES! Good for you!” to feel natural (and come quicker).
When my husband returns, he has relieved the tension from being antsy. He is appreciative and attentive. By supporting my hubby to do something he loves, I get to enjoy being a Happy Wife for Life.