Divorce / Marriage

The Ideal Marriage: A Little Dependence + a Little Divorce?

So funnily enough, after the other day’s flaming toaster oven debacle our car’s radiator cracked. I was idling behind a truck with a flatbed full of grocery carts and mattresses when I noticed a smoke cloud wafting up the hood of my car. I assumed it was coming from the junk mobile, but no, no—my smoke, my car. I pulled over, my Hyundai steaming like a hotdog stand in February, got out, and, you guessed it, called my husband.

“Has this ever happened before?” I asked.

“No,” he responded.

“Is it safe to drive to the mechanic?” I questioned.

He told me he had no idea and to call a tow truck. To be fair (to myself) it is hubby’s car, and therefore there was more reasoning to get his take than when I’d asked him what to do about our mini-fire hours before. Still, that made it twice in one day that I’d called him to ask what to do about something rather than just figuring it out my damn self. Hmm, I wonder—do I truly have a dependence problem?

To boot, two things I’ve read this week have me contemplating independence/ co-dependence in marriage. The first Modern Love’s: Honey, Let’s Get a Little Bit Divorced. And the second a response piece on Blisstree: Independence in Marriage Is Overrated.  The first eloquently argues why kicking up our self-sufficiency in marriage (i.e. men caring for the kids or making meals the way they would have to as single dads) can be a real turn on. The writer uses an example of her husband struggling to assemble a simple meal of pasta and jarred sauce. The second article makes a case for why she’ll happily depend on her man for certain things (among them: Gourmet cooking and Sommelier duties). I think you can already see why the second woman is happier in her hubby-dependent role.

Last night I asked my man if it bothers him when I call to ask for help and advice. He said no; he likes it. I think this is because he enjoys being a caretaker; he gets a boost from feeling needed, and, if I can go so far, manly. The same way greeting my man with a home cooked meal when he comes though the door makes me feel nurturing, womanly. (I also sometimes get strangely fuzzy-hearted and nostalgic when I hang his clean shirts. Is that sweet or creepy or sad? Not sure). But as I think this through, I realize that while hubby cooks too and (sometimes) does the laundry, he would never, and I mean ever, call me about whether to tow the car. Or how to put out the toaster fire.

After two years of marriage, I’m well aware that we’ve only scratched the surface of how our marital roles will evolve. I, for one, have always been wary of taking on wifely roles that would make me feel less like a partner and more like a mom to my man. But hubby seems to have no such dad complexes. In fact, he obviously gets off on that shiz.

If I combine the wisdom of these two articles, I come up with something like: Dependence isn’t so bad as long as it’s consensually (and continually) negotiated, rather than habitually taken for granted. Still, I’m making a mental note to lay off the superfluous phone calls. And, darling, you may want to pay mind to putting your hockey clothes in the hamper if you expect me to wash them. Just saying… your sweat crusted socks are neither nostalgic nor hot.

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