You might have seen one of these. On the front of a hallmark card or maybe in someone’s News feed, a tribute of sorts to their husband or their we(to be) or one on their birthday, anniversary or just a day like every other.
You know what I am talking about, right?
It’s a laundry list of sorts of subjects and adjectives that is to describe your boyfriend/fiancé/husband (or the female version thereof) in every way possible. It’s the praise with gratitude combined when put in one single paragraph and then making it public in black and white.
Maybe it looked something like this:
On this day that is our anniversary (or fill in your day of choice), what would I do without this person who is my spouse, the love of my life, the man of my dreams, my best friend, my lover, my confidant, soulmate, the apple of my eye, my family, my companion, protector, playmate, mentor, advisor, my partner in crime, the best cook, the helper, the… and the list goes on.
This may be a conglomeration of many such written statements and slightly exaggerated, too. I hear you.
But you get the point.
Now back to my title – and this is where that confusion on your face will start melting away.
If I actually said he WAS all that, wouldn’t that by default be saying that I don’t need anyone else?
And I can’t say that for the mere fact that it’s just not true at all.
Because I do. (And guess what? You do, too.)
And if you the one that’s shaking their head in disagreement right about now, you may be one of the two couples on the planet that this does work for. Who don’t need anyone else besides just each other.
I need other people in my life apart from my spouse. Your spouse, the one person that he/she is, cannot fill all the holes in your bucket.
For starters, I still need my family. He can’t and never will replace them and who they are to me, and how I relate to them. He can’t take the role that they play in my life and be who they are to me. No matter how hard he’d try. The relationship you and I have with our various family members is unlike any other relationship on earth. And there is no messing with that (in my opinion). Your spouse better know that -AND – since there is no competition – there is no reason to have a race.
Secondly, I need my BFF & just girlfriends in general because my husband will never be a woman, will never act like a woman and will never think like a woman. My girlfriends have a gift of being those things to me that my husband cannot be. Not because he wouldn’t want to (necessarily) but because he can’t undo how he has been wired. And for that, I need them.
How I relate to my girlfriends is completely different than how I deal with or talk to my husband. And that’s just fine and dandy; it just means that I can’t expect him to take on the role of my girlfriends because he would, most likely, fail. And he may try even – bless his heart. But the bottom line is, he can’t be them. (just as much as they can’t be him, right?)
I still (every now and then) need a business coach or a confidant, or a playmate, or a mentor or even a partner in crime – particularly when it’s something I am doing for my spouse that needs to be done in secret.
I know that sometimes, all this comes out of an underlying need or expectation that we need our spouses to be everything for us. Yet, I often end up reminding the people in my counseling office that, last I checked, most of us didn’t marry a superman (or superwoman).
And, looking at the flip side – better yet (or should I say, more importantly?), most of us also aren’t one (superman or superwoman, that is). I don’t know how to fly, do you?
Check your expectations, realize that the fantasy was never meant for human consumption (supermen do only live on TV screens), and as you offer each other a heaping pile of compassion, do maximize the power of the tribe you’ve built around yourselves.
And if you don’t have one, take your first baby step today.
I already told you that my husband isn’t all that. I would love for you to be able to join me in saying:
Nor do I want (or need) him/her to be.