By Lindy Earl
On my sister’s wedding day, the bridesmaids were gathered early in the morning. Well, not that early. Our grandmother sought us out to share some advice with the bride and all of us.
Grammy told the brides, as well as the bridesmaids, to always keep our husbands involved. We should ask them to get us something even if we could get it ourselves, or if they would change a baby’s diaper, even if we could perform the task better. I was 19 and naïve and didn’t understand her message. Today I appreciate her advice, the advice I failed to take.
In my marriage, I now believe that I emasculated my husband by too often stepping up. Just because women can shovel snow doesn’t mean we should. Yes, I can mow a lawn, but I don’t want to. Yet, because I was home and he was working so much, I thought I was doing him, and us, a favor by taking over these chores. I also took over the checkbook and decisions that should have been ours. I took over decorating for Christmas, starting with dragging boxes out of the attic to stringing lights and topping the tree with a star. What was wrong with me? I inaccurately saw this as helping, but all I was doing was helping to end my marriage.
Women, we need to show men that we need them by asking for help. My grandmother was right! We are the fairer sex and need to not only show it, but enjoy it! I will gladly make you lemonade because you’re mowing the lawn. I like this set up, even as I walked away from it. I see only good in getting you a beer when you come home. Don’t tell me it’s derogatory. It’s helpful, kind, and thoughtful, all things I want to be! Things I believe I am and simple acts of kindness allow others to see it.
Men, you need to show your gentle side as well. A friend of mine was manipulated by his first wife through her use of tears. Yes, she would cry to get what she wanted. He hardened his heart and said it would never happen again. He wouldn’t allow it. So in his second marriage, he stood firm, even when his wife’s tears were real, not manipulative. That marriage failed–maybe because he wouldn’t allow for his wife having a softer side, and by removing to have a softer side of himself.
By the way, manners show your gentle side in wonderful ways, thus the term gentle…man. Gentleman.
In today’s world we all have to be strong, women as well as men. We have jobs and bills and responsibilities and there is no choice but to step up and do what we need to do.
I know a lot of strong women, however, who will happily give away their mantle. They don’t WANT to be strong, they just don’t have any choice.
Let’s make a decision, despite our strength, to request help and show our softer side. Women, hand him your coat so he can help you put it on. It’s a lovely feeling! I first experienced it as a young woman when my Uncle Joe, standing next to me, saw me putting on my coat and stepped up to help. Wow! It was a lovely feeling for so many reasons! In addition to helping with a heavy coat, I felt feminine and protected. I’m not jealous of his wife, but I know how good she has it.
When women allow men to be strong, women then get to gush and appreciate the strength of the men, which makes them feel masculine and virile. This is just win, win, win, win, win! It’s old fashioned masculinity in practice. His chest might puff out a little, but that’s as it should be. He is being the gentleman, the man, the stud, the robust and capable male he was meant to be! And women, we get to be the soft, feminine, protected females we were meant to be. Let’s all find our gentle sides.
That’s Life After Divorce.
Lindy is a Speaker, Columnist, Author, and Consultant. Contact her to speak at your church, organization, event, or corporation at LMEarl@EarlMarketing.com. You can find her on Face Book and join her Single Support Network – Single Again: From Devastation to Dating.