Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
We’ve been talking a lot about marriage and divorce around here lately. As someone who’s been married for almost 13 years with some very rough spots along the way, I feel like this is a topic about which I can speak authoritatively. In particular, I’d like to talk about a duty that primarily — though by no means exclusively — falls to wives: ego management.
I like to nap in my car over lunch, particularly during lovely weather like we’ve had lately in Kansas City. As I was trying to drift off Thursday afternoon, I heard a woman screaming into her phone. She was informing her husband in a vulgar fashion that his family hated her for no reason, she hated them, and that — while it was his responsibility to defend her — he was refusing to because he lacked testicular fortitude. I was sorely tempted to scream back in an equally vulgar fashion that if she wanted her husband to have testicles, she should stop performing double orchidectomy surgery.
The temptation to state that complex problems have in fact simple solutions is always present, but my life experience has taught me that a simple solution to many marriage challenges is proper ego management of one’s spouse. No matter how frustrated, how annoyed, how angry one may be with him, tearing him down is never the solution. The dishes will not get washed or the baby changed if he feels he cannot meet her standards. Resumes will not be sent out and job interviews will be wastes of time if he feels like a failure. If he feels like he has to ask permission for every penny, he will be far less inclined to work as hard or may spend extravagantly on the theory of “might as well earn my tongue-lashing.” And without feeling attractive to his wife, the marriage bed will be a place of frustration and disappointment.
Husbandry is an old term for the care and cultivation of crops and animals. Husbands need husbandry too, and that is our job as wives. If we want men who will go out into the world and earn for us, protect us, and support us, we have to nurture and care for not only their bodies but also their egos. Whether through words of praise, tender caresses, performing chores without complaint, or joining him in hobbies, we have to let our man know that we appreciate his sacrifices, believe in his goals, and desire him physically. (For more suggestions on the practical aspects of this, I highly recommend The Five Love Languages.)
Martin Luther said, “Let the wife make the husband glad to come home, and let the husband make his wife sad to see him leave.” Ladies, we can’t make the latter part happen, but if we work on the former, it generally happens.