Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My marriage is not my parents'

One day, I found myself complaining about the lack of participation on my husband's part to my mother. She empathized saying she should have made my father do more when we were little because when he was finally around, none of us took it well. I realized that what I was saying may have seemed to be a judgment on their relationship, but it's not. While my husband and father share some traits that are the ones that made me say "I'll never marry a man like my father," and some that make them endearing in the same way, there are some key differences.

For instance, when my father decides to improve the house, he just goes and does it. There aren't years between the plan and the action and years between the start and finish. Dad doesn't always pick things my mother likes and sometimes doesn't get her input at all, but he does the tasks. Dad is also big into what I call "family spirit" when work allows. He likes hosting everyone, grilling, doing things as a family whether it be a day at the park or dragging my mother along on his jobs. Dad is in entrepreneurial construction. He started out as a handyman, then built restaurants, then homes for the restaurateurs and now does commercial roofing. He works hard in all weather. Even during the times he was trying things to get himself out of construction, he was always working. Hubs has a white collar job, that is to say, if he were employed it would be a white collar job. When in his 20's he did surveying and some construction, but for as long as I've known him, his job has mostly entailed sitting in front of a computer. And that difference is key to my expectations. Especially while Hubs is unemployed. He changed a poopy diaper at the hospital while my father never changed one until my daughter was over 2 - the first one EVER. Hubs does dishes, sometimes, and occasionally washes hair, reads stories, snuggles in bed, gets up in the middle of the night, brushes teeth or folds laundry. My dad played with us and took us places, maybe read a story or 2, but mostly he took care of the repairs/maintenance to the house and yard and recovered from his physically hard work. He wasn't tired because he stayed up late playing computer games, watching t.v., or because he had trouble sleeping due to lack of physical activity.

My expectations for my white collar, unemployed husband are vastly different from what they would be if he had a physically demanding job. It's not just that though. We are very different people from my parents and from his parents. We have different strengths and weaknesses; different quirks and needs and wants. Sure there are some similarities, but the sum of our personalities makes us quite different. We may repeat some of their mistakes, but I think we've learned from plenty too - leaving us to make our own.

Edited to add that Mama Kat and I are thinking on the same topic lines again this week.


Shannon said...

I chose this prompt as husband and I are vastly different from my parents...there are a few similarities but not many...I agree that we learn from our parents mistakes in their relationship and then we make different decisions based on what we learned...Thanks for sharing and have a great day!

Kelly said...

I totally agree with Shannon! I am happy to report my hubby and I are far different from my parents (whose marriage ended in divorce after 22 yrs)...and btw your hubby sounds like a keeper!

carma said...

We are very different from my parents marriage too - and my husband and dad are like oil and water. Not a good combo :D