I wrote a note at the end of my blog yesterday, one that showed me something about my attitude toward my wife, an observation that should have been clear to me long ago.. and probably has been. In a way, it was an honest admission that I have been avoiding longer than I should. A friend just challenged me to write about it, timed just as I contemplated the blog I wrote today — and the example my own father gave and still gives to me.
My Dad has always been very proud of my mother. Vocally proud. Tears in his eyes type of proud. He is that way about my brothers and I, but never so much as he is proud about his wife. My mother.
Dang it, Dad, why do you have to be such a good example?
Want to know what my mother does well, has always done well? She accepts the praise my Dad offers to her. She knows Dad likes to be proud, sees that as a good thing, never rejects what he says about her. I like the confidence and trust that portrays, the acceptance that allows each of them to be Terry and Becky, nothing hidden because there is nothing bad about the other person.
Wow. I love that. I see that.
And then I say ARGGGGGGHHHHHH.
I don’t do that. When I started blogging here, I used to write glowing blogs about my wife, talking about the little things I love about her. They were true, but I always knew that part of my motivation for writing those blogs was my need to be my Dad. That’s right. I want to be openly proud of my wife. Unfortunately, she is not my Mom. So what? Normally, expecting your wife to be your mother is unhealthy. But what I want my wife to do is be like my mother in one way —
That means the phrase “no I am not” or “why do you think it’s OK to say that?” should not ever be uttered. Accept my pride. Please.
So I have retreated into my blog, my blog no longer available to my wife. She lost that privilege years ago.
I blame her.
I avoid her closeness, a dare to cross the line I have drawn, a hope that she indeed will do so. My own refusal to accept her now so clear that she throws it at me every time we clash, something that occurs more and more these days.
Overly anxious. Cold. Obligated. Disrespectful. Unaccepting.
Those are words or attitudes I express nearly every day.
How do I change that? Most importantly, how do I make it so I want to change those words and attitudes?
Follow my father’s example, I suppose. Praise. Shut my mouth, change my attitude by changing what I think and say about my wife.
My wife plays the guitar. I love that. I wish she would play the guitar for me.
Ask my Dad who is the best pianist in the world. It’s Mom. Don’t ask me how many times I have heard him say it. Her talent is his crown.
My wife can be very funny and she used to laugh with me. I miss that. I can’t remember the last time she laughed at something I said or enjoyed something that makes me laugh.
Dad has shows and his own entertainment that makes him laugh. He sings.. badly, but Mom still plays the piano for his musical ventures. They enjoy movies and TV shows together, and I have never heard Mom talk negatively about anything my Dad enjoys or vice versa.
My wife is a blue eyed blonde, still thin and shapely at fifty years old. While she has always been a lights out person, private and reserved to the point where it has been hard for me to appreciate her looks, I do have some memory of the glimpses I have had of what makes a wife special to her husband. I wish those memories were recent. It has been a long, long time.
There is a picture my Dad keeps around of my Mom posing in a one piece bathing suit next to one of their automobiles. Dad remarks now and then about her killer legs, about how that gangly girl become his lovely woman. I still notice the meaningful touches between them, subtle now more than before, but it’s there. Although it’s difficult to understand, I think Dad still looks at my Mom as that woman in the bathing suit. That’s not her in the picture I used for this blog. I just think that picture is cool looking!
I want to feel like she is mine. Have I ever felt that way? Never completely and probably never close to being much more than an obligation.
There has never been a question that my parents belong to each other. I can see that in the way they treat each other, need each other, mourn when the other is sick, serve each other in a way that has never seemed like an obligation and so natural that it will never seem that way.
If I decide to try it, then it may be tough to do. Those last few paragraphs demonstrate that, my negativity increasing as I wrote.
Or should I just give up?
Here I go again…..
Looking at it from across the ocean I think the first thing you need to ask yourself is, “Do I want to make the effort?” Not because you feel you morally have to, or feel obliged to but deep from within your heart. Do you want to make it work and do you want to do whatever it takes because she is the only one you want to grow old with.
If not, then what do you want?
I think it’s time to get very, very honest about it, even when it hurts. You owe that to Mir and to yourself.
To be real honest. No, I don’t. But to be morally honest, I think I have to.. at least until I can do otherwise!
I understand. Sigh …
I hope you will embrace being the kind of man you want to be. Talk very frankly with your wife about your desire to be closer and the changes you’d like to make, hoping she will see the positive move and make that jump with you. Write a letter to her, tell her the things you appreciate and love about her and reinforce it with words and actions. Ask yourself, if she doesn’t accept your praise should that keep you from giving it?
No, but it sure sucks the joy out of it.
I couldn’t say anything more or better than the two lovely women above me!
They did indeed say what needs to be said!
This tugged at my heart. It seems she may be having some of the same feelings. I gush when my husband says he’s proud of me, it seems to strengthen my confidence in “us”. To shun that praise would be……I don’t know…….sad? (not the word I was searching for, but it works).My thoughts on this are scattered, I just want to send a hug.
It seems like an insecurity issue sometimes, at others it’s a means to resist control. That may seem like an odd thing to say, but I think it is true.
I read in a book somewhere…the next time you are out in mixed company, or any company, try bragging (w/in social reason) about your husband and his accomplishments. See how it affects him.
Some spouses are afraid to create a monster!