Today we have a guest post from Jordan Mendys, who wanted to talk about the challenges of being a supportive husband in today’s modern world. Thanks to Jordan for sharing his personal experience with us!
I am a young man, so when I say that I was raised in a traditional home, it’s not necessarily referring to a home with 1920 ethics and values, but it’s still a system that I have had trouble adhering to. It’s not that I reject traditional values, but as I have grown and matured, I have seen flaws in the roles that I am supposed to play as son, brother, man, (now) husband, and (to be) father. I was brought up thinking that being a supportive husband relied on something largely rooted in economics. I was to be a breadwinner, which I suppose left my wife as breadmaker.
I rejected this ideal from an early age, and this rejection was cemented when I met my wife. Melanie was smart, individual, motivated, and had goals that I admired. As we dated, we spoke on these topics, and I knew that this was someone I wanted to be with. The longer I was with her I knew that in many ways, her professional potential was greater than mine. That never bothered me, but it once again brought up this idea of what my role as a man was in a marriage.
Recently, we celebrated our first year of marriage, and the lessons that I learned about being a supportive husband were turned on their head more than I thought. My wife started her first year of law school, putting me in a position to finish my grad degree remotely from school. It was tough. I drove 10 hours once a week to get to my school and back home. Money was tight, and that doubt crept in, “Why am I not supporting my wife better?” I was back again on the track of viewing money as the fix, losing sight of what was important.
I learned that being a supportive husband transcends your income. What it means is making tough decisions for you and your spouse. What was important was reassuring my wife that we made the right decision to go back to school. It was something that I always thought, but she would doubt when time–and funds–got tight. But I knew that was something that both of would take care of and be responsible for, and right now allowing her to achieve lifelong goals trumped any other immediate need. What my wife needed wasn’t nicer things or more money, but the reassurance that she was doing the right thing. It was my duty to provide that reassurance, and make sure she felt fulfilled and capable of great things. As I learned from her and her law classmates, this can be daunting task.
At times being supportive is allowing yourself to be supported. I was raised to think that men are stoic creatures that should never need emotional tending to. At times I do fall into this category, pushing away people close to me to deal with my issues alone. This first year was tough for me. I did feel a duty to be an economic staple for my wife and I, and being largely unemployed for half the year took its toll on me. Pushing her away to protect myself and feelings was not fair to her. I had to open up about my doubts and fears. This didn’t fix the immediate problem, but it got us talking, and on a road to healing our doubts.
I learned that the first year of marriage isn’t always glamorous, but the takeaway for both of us was remarkable. I always had an idea of what it meant to truly be a supportive husband, but when those lessons are put to practice it can be difficult. In the end, love trumps all if you let it. If you instead allow for your fears to take over, they certainly will as well. Being a supportive man and husband doesn’t have a set definition, and at times seems to be fluid based on the situation, but you have to be patient, full of love and understanding, and ready to take on obstacles together.
Jordan Mendys lives with his wife in North Carolina. He is still finishing his M.A., but has found a job as a media professional, and helps blog for DX3. He and Melanie celebrated one year of marriage on July 23rd.
Thanks again, Jordan. These are great lessons to learn early in marriage. This got me thinking about ways I feel supported by my husband. So, I’ll write about this topic soon. I welcome your suggestions to me about ways you feel supported by your husband, or ways you as a husband feel you best support your spouse and family. Feel free to email me or leave a note in the comments.
Lori Lowe is the founder of Marriage Gems and author of First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage. It tells the inspiring, true stories of couples who used adversity to improve their marriages–from overcoming drug addiction to cancer, infidelity, religious differences, family interference and infertility, among many others. It’s available at Amazon.com and in all e-book formats at www.LoriDLowe.com.
Photo by Photostock courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.