Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Toleration

I recently got an email telling me I had been added to a list of travel blogs about Chile. The description of my blog was fine, but part of it made reference to my husband getting the raw end of the deal.

So I felt kind of bad for my sweet hubs and decided to make up for all the mocky, complainy things I have said about him here. I think all relationships have their weaknesses and strengths, and perhaps I more readily share some of my irritations, because they are more comical (in retrospect). But make no mistake: I got a good one… I am lucky.

I have been thinking about relationships lately anyway, not because mine is in crisis, but because of some things I have been reading and some conversations I have had.



Scenario 1) We are at the Chilean Consulate. I am talking to one of the female employees about my visa while the hubby entertains the kiddos. She notes: “He is good with your kids.” I confirm that this is true and that they adore him. She adds: “At least he is involved, if I ask my husband to help out he tells me to screw off.” Me: WOW!!

I told my husband about it later in the car. She is probably my age, not like she’s from an older generation, and her husband, though he is Chilean, grew up in the U.S., so I don’t know if the “it’s cultural” card can even be played… and my husband is Chilean and grew up in Chile. I can’t even imagine, seriously, having a husband who doesn’t or won’t participate in child-rearing.

Scenario 2) I am at a girls’ night in, at a friend’s house. We are laughing and the wine is flowing; one of the women turns to me and blurts: “Does your husband just fart ALL the time?” There are hysterical peals of laughter as many start sharing their stories… while I am thinking, “No, no he doesn’t.” Not that our home is “gasless”, but he doesn’t walk around just “lettin’er rip” or make a show of really “leaning into it” or lifting his leg and laughing about it. No, farting is not much of an issue here.

Scenario 3) I am talking to a friend as my husband is getting home from soccer practice. He suggests I should go give him a massage. I tell him that is not how it works. He said, basically, “if he doesn’t get what he needs at home, he will look for it elsewhere.” I just laughed and said, “No, he won’t.” He was surprised at how certain I was, he was incredulous that it wasn’t even a worry of mine. I am not naïve and it is not that I think I am ALL that with a cherry on top that he could not possibly be tempted elsewhere. I know that people are mysteries and can change and do things that are unexpected, but I know at least that much about him--it just is not in his make-up.

I have been ruminating about what we tolerate and what we don’t, in a relationship. It is fascinating how it varies so much from person to person, and how it is all intertwined with our upbringing, our relationship models, our interests, personalities, fears, and desires and how it changes over time. I am sure that other women look at parts of my relationship and think: “I would never tolerate that.” I look at some things other women deal with and think: “I would never tolerate that.” I know it is complicated. I know you have to pick your battles. There are things you thought you wouldn’t tolerate and you do because there is some kind of payoff. There are things you don’t tolerate because you chose a certain kind of person. There are things you thought you could accept that just seem to drive you insane. There are things you tolerated at the beginning and have grown an aversion to. There are things that might be unpleasant, like farting, but in the long run, really aren’t that important. There are things, like abuse, that I wish I could convince all women to never tolerate.

So just so you know how lucky I am, here is a list of things (besides farting and cheating ;-) that I don’t have to deal with: in many cases because he just doesn’t do it, isn’t interested, or it is not part of his nature, others that I don’t tolerate or probably wouldn’t tolerate even if he were into it—

No back hair
No video games.
No Sunday night or Monday night football… He rarely watches sports except soccer.
No ogling of women in front of me.
No porn.
No controlling or guilt.
No jealousy.
No yelling or screaming… ever.
No name-calling, belittling, or insulting, not even once, not even in anger-never.
He would never, ever physically hurt me.
He would never refuse to watch a “chick flick” with me.
He never gives me a hard time when I go out with the girls and leave him with the kids.
Oh, and if I ask him to carry my purse or go buy tampons, he doesn’t even blink!

You can say it: I have the perfect man!

It almost makes putting up with this and this and this… seem so minimal, doesn’t it?

What do you have to put up with? What are you lucky enough to not deal with?

(edit: or for all of you lucky enough not to be married/paired up (haha), make it past or conditionl: what would you tolerate/not tolerate? what have you had to tolerate?)

9 comments:

Isabel said...

what a sweet post about your husband. He sounds like a wonderful man...and kinda like mine :)

Well, with one exception: We have made our apartment a fart friendly zone so we both have to put up with that (sorry for the TMI, but we are a gassy pair so maybe we bond over it? HAH bit of a reach).

Even though my boyfriend is just incredible, I STILL find things to complain about (putting his alarm on snooze too many times and not putting the new toilet paper roll in the holder), but I totally agree with you that talking about the little things that annoy you are funny and a good, healthy release so that they don't turn into something bigger. I also think it's a sign you have time to talk about those little things because, at least in my case, it means that I don't have anything major to complain about so I'm going for the little things.

Maggie May said...

i love this! i think of this often, when i meet men who seem so great, but have faults i just couldn't bear!

Kyle said...

That's funny, I have never thought of you as a husband basher on here, but maybe I just don't follow you close enough :P

I actually don't mind oggling other women at all, though Seba doesn't do it much. I also don't mind computer (video) games unless he starts ignoring me, then I put my foot down. But usually I'm on my computer ignoring him so it all works out. One of those modern marriages.

I would never tolerate him wanting me to take his last name. I would never tolerate him pressuring me to have kids before I'm ready.

Abby said...

I saw that description of your blog and I thought...What? Like Kyle, I don't think you husband bash too much.

Anyway, being currently unattached I guess I could say I pretty much agree with your list in my ideal, hypothetical mate. Except the sports bit. I love American football, so I wouldn't mind him watching it...as long as he likes the same team, of course. In fact I think one of the reasons (silly as it is) that I broke up with my ex-boyfriend stemmed from a fight we had about the Superbowl (and other more pressing reasons too, obviously, but it definitely played a part!)

KM said...

cute post. totally relate to the no fart thing - and no burp. not that my husband is so prim and proper but those 2 things, along with chewing with the mouth open, elbows on table when eating, are some things that he'd never do and never tolerate. also love that he doesn't watch sports nor play video games. love that- just like you- i can't fathom the day that R would ever cheat on me (though of course things can change i suppose) but, as you said, it's just not in his DNA. i really just can't see him doing that. it's important to remind yourself why you love your husband so much. i try to do that regularly with mine. you guys sound like a great couple.

Dee said...

This is a great post. I can comment with high authority about the chilean man growing up in the US and not being involved with the kids. My hubby has been a US resident since he was 10 and he is very involved with our children - everything from hiney wiping to piggy back rides. And I am a SAHM. Ditto for his brother who arrived at age 15.

Noticing other women is no big deal to me. It means he is a normal healthy man. And it is not like I don't notice other men. There is a difference between noticing and ogling. The farting thankfully, he is pretty proper about with me, but not with our kids - heaven help us!

I guess for me it is the big things that matter - how loving, honest, and supportive he is to me. But I do often think of the gender roles and how?/if? they would be different with a gringo. I don't know, I have no gringo experience. Anyone have any thoughts?

Danielle said...

Sounds like you did catch the perfect man! You might consider that back rub... LOL :)

mosey said...

I don't know what they're talking about - you make your husband sound like a prince (and you his princess, of course!). Aside from the regular complaints that we *all* have day-to-day, I think we both lucked out with our Taurus boys.

teamawesomesquared said...

I have tolerated a lot more than I'd like to admit. Fortunately, the Captain doesn't embody any of those traits. I think his "worst" trait is being slightly retarded at times (which I tell him openly). But he doesn't have a malicious bone in his body.

It really is just as important to be complementary on your weaknesses as it is to be on your strengths. That way you can grow together.

Your husband really does sound amazing! So have you decided to tell him about this blog yet? ;)