Am I alone in feeling a bit inadequate when I read posts from and about perfect wives with supermodel looks, designer homes and superwoman careers—and they do everything for their husband too, and they are perfectly self-contained, independent and self-sufficient?
I mean, what do I have to offer my husband? With perfect specimins of womanhood like some of these Taken In Hand wives wafting about, how can I possibly be of any interest to my husband? It's really extraordinary that he's still in love with me.
Zephyr asked if the husbands in Taken In Hand relationships are overburdened, and what, if anything, the wife in a Taken In Hand relationshp does. What's in it for the husband? I too worry about the burden on my husband and what's in it for him. And then there are the “manly needs” Zephyr alluded to. I have no idea what he means by that. Am I too “oblivious to [my husband's] manly needs”?
I started asking my husband what I have that all his ex-girlfriends lacked. Why me? Did I just happen to meet him at the right time in his life, or am I special, I asked him.
My husband started telling me about his ex-girlfriends, one by one. That only made me more worried. The girls my husband dated before me were, in the main, very nice, attractive, well-educated, independent career women—women who had it together in a way that I can only marvel at. The more he told me about them, the more surprised I was that he loves me. Perhaps I just happened to meet my husband at the right time in his life. Perhaps I'm not in the least bit special!
Am I draining my husband's love bank and making too few deposits to keep us afloat, I wondered. What do I do for him? Why does it feel to me as though his love for me is growing and growing despite the poor deal he has?
I do cook for my husband—it's the least I can do when he comes home after a hard day at work—but he said that he does not value that as a gift from me, because I have to cook for myself anyway. Same with laundry and housework. Hmmmm. Not that I'm very good at housework. Fortunately, my husband is blind to mess—he's adorably absentminded and messy himself. Recently he asked where the kitchen bin is. It's where it has always been! (Now I know why he never puts anything in it!)
“What do I do for you that you value?” I asked. “Why do you want to be with me, when you could have had your pick of countless beautiful, accomplished superwomen types who would do anything for you?”
“They aren't you!” he said.
“Yes, but what's special about me?”
“I like the way you move,” he said. (Yes he really did say that!) “You are graceful, intelligent, beautiful, soft, and feminine—”
(I don't think so! Not the last three, anyway.)
“—I wasn't in the least bit soft and feminine when you met me, I was a termagent! So that doesn't explain your having fallen in love with me!”
“You were not a termagent! You had a few rough burrs that needed to be filed off, but you were never like [a radical feminist my husband knows, who rules her roost and hates him because he stood up to her nonsense and would not allow her to treat him badly]. You were always a girl.”
“But I'm rubbish at housework, I'm not a supermodel or a superwoman, I'm well past my best-before date, you don't care about the cooking and laundry, I don't do ironing, I earn less than an illiterate 16-year-old school leaver, and I often forget to do things you ask me to do! I even forgot your birthday!”
“It's not about what you do or don't do for me! It's less tangible than that. Attraction and love—they're not based on what each partner does for the other, it's more intangible than that.”
I took that to mean that he can't think of anything I do for him! Oh no! How could he want me? I couldn't see how I'd want me, never mind how he could want me!
“But why why why would you want me when you could have had any woman you wanted? If it's not what I do for you—and it obviously can't be that—what is it about me that makes you want to be with me?”
“That's easy,” he said. “You're interesting. You're an intellectual. You're a good conversationalist. You make good arguments. You make me think!”
“But surely most of the women you went out with before me were just as intelligent as I am, if not considerably more?! And you could have interesting and good arguments with a male friend. What makes me a good wife? And besides, you hate it when I argue!”
“Intelligent, yes, intellectual and interesting, no; they didn't have your mind,” he replied, firmly. “Or your personality.”
That would be my non-submissive personality with the rough edges that needed to be filed off? With my arguments that sometimes make him so cross with me that he banishes me from his sight? Should I take up reading books on how to save my marriage? Could I learn to be a better wife? One whom even Zephyr might consider acceptable?
“And none of them had your face,” he added, smiling at me with total love in his eyes—as if that undeniable fact trumped everything else.
So I still don't really know what makes my husband so happy to have me as his wife, or why he is so in love with me, and believe me, there's nothing special about my face. Thank goodness for love blindness!