“Know your role, and shut your mouth” - an infamous quote from none other than the electrifying entertainer that is The Rock. Applying this concept to marriage is a tad extreme, I’ll be honest. But, there is some truth to a husband and a wife taking on certain roles and responsibilities. I’ve written about this before, but not quite in this same way.
I’d like to think that my husband and I are a pretty trendy couple. We like to go out and have fun. We experiment in the bedroom and send each other sexy text messages. We value date nights and respect one another’s career choices. But in one specific way, we do take on the traditional, and perhaps, dated roles of provider and caregiver.
My husband is 100% the provider for our family. His job as a police officer is what pays the bills. He carries the medical insurance and most of the financial burden. I, on the other hand, am the primary parent to our son. I’m the one responsible for his day-to-day activities. This balance works just fine for us, but there are certain times where the imbalance rears its ugly head.
Not only is my husband in charge of our finances, but he also makes most of the financial decisions in regard to our insurances, business ventures, opening and closing credit cards, hiring a financial advisor and so on. I don’t have much say in these decisions, not because he doesn’t value my opinion, but because I don’t know enough about our finances to give an informed opinion. This can be frustrating at times - believe me. Especially when my husband is an entrepreneur at heart and in his mind, every idea is the next great idea. I try hard to reign him in at times.
On the flipside, he doesn’t get much say when it comes to parenting our son. My husband is definitely from a more “old school” form of parenting - children are to be seen, not heard type mentality. Whereas I was raised in a much more affectionate home where children had a voice. Because of this, he doesn’t always agree with my parenting approach. Especially because my son and I are extremely close - I know my husband worries he will grow into a “mama’s boy”, which, for the record, I dislike that phrase very much!
But here’s how we make this imbalance work.
Just because my husband may not take my financial advice and will likely do what he thinks is best, regardless of my opinion, he still asks, listens, and internalizes what I have to say. He knows that he’s spontaneous and reckless at times. So he listens to me as the voice of reason and pauses before acting. That’s all I can ask, really, since he’s the one tackling our finances. And in the same turn, I respect my husband as our son’s father. He is entitled to an opinion. I listen to what he has to say and I also appreciate the fact that he leaves the parenting decisions to me. It would be nearly impossible for me to execute the rules and discipline he would like without him physically here to help me. I can’t be the softie and the meanie all at once. But, a lot of what my husband says makes sense. It’s practical and it does make me stop and think before I do certain things like buying my son whatever he wants, answering to his beck and call, and performing daily tasks that we both know he can do himself.
So, though my husband takes on the role as provider and I assume the role of caregiver and parent, we respect and listen to one another’s viewpoints. And whether or not our partner’s opinion elicits any immediate change in our behavior, the thought is still there. I still think in the back of my mind somewhere, “How would my husband handle this situation?” And I hope he does the same. Because marriage and parenting are all about teamwork, communication, and mutual respect.