Several years ago my younger two kids were part of an annual music recital at a local nursing home. One of the performances is always a little song called Down on the Farm for which each of the kids creates an instrumental sound to represent different farm animals. It’s always a cute performance, but this particular year there was an elderly resident in the back of the room who kept loudly calling out, “I don’t get it.”
That’s become a family joke for us. Even now, nearly ten years later, when something perplexing happens, one of us will invariably call out, “I don’t get it.”
Way back in 2013, something happened online that made me call out, “I don’t get it.”
Yes, this post has been sitting in draft for over two years. What can I say? I’m a procrastinator.
Way back in 2013, I wrote a post about showing appreciation to homeschool dads. (Interesting side note: The visiting cat referenced in that post is Not Gus, who has been a permanent resident for over 2 years now.)
I’d already had one comment from a friend indicating that there were people out there who would find what I’d said offensive and subservient, so I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when that was exactly what happened when a blogger friend shared the post on her Facebook page. There were comments like, “Don’t even read it. It starts with dressing up and fixing your hair.”
One lady was so offended that she said she was unliking the Facebook page, which I thought was an awfully strong reaction, especially since the person who shared the post didn’t write it.
I’ve got to say, y’all, I don’t get it. I didn’t get it two years ago and I don’t get it now.
The suggestions I made were:
- Dress attractively
- Take care of my personal appearance
- Fix his favorite foods
- Build him up, rather than tear him down
- Make our home a pleasant place to be
- Spend time with him
- Pray with him
The post wasn’t about things that my husband expects me to do. There is very little that he expects me to do other than the things involved in running our household, which is no different than me expecting that he’ll get up and go to work each day. That has nothing to do with subservience or what some would call archaic gender roles. It has everything to do with my desire to show my husband that I love him.
I can see where the my statements that I like to dress nicely and fix my hair might sound like something out of the ‘50’s at first glance, but I admitted that dressing nicely for me includes yoga pants and t-shirts. Yoga pants are just a step up from sweatpants, y’all. I wasn’t suggesting day dresses and pearls.
I’m not sure how wanting to look nice for your spouse is offensive. I bet no one would have found it offensive if I’d said I was dressing up for a date back before we were married. It wasn’t offensive when I wore a fancy white dress on our wedding day.
Now that we’re married, we’ve seen each other at our worst, which means we should accept each other, bad hair days and all – and we do. My husband didn’t stop loving me when I was nearly 100 pounds overweight and wore ratty t-shirts every day because that was all I had that fit.
He didn’t love me more when I was within 5 pounds of my goal weight and he hasn’t stopped loving me now when I’ve regained nearly half of that weight. He loves me and finds me attractive whether I’m wearing yoga pants or that pretty blue dress I bought for weddings.
However, loving each other regardless shouldn’t mean that we never want to put forth the effort to look attractive to each other again. I like for my husband to walk in the door and think, “Wow, my wife looks hot.” I want to be attractive to him physically.
He wants to be attractive to me, too. He knows that I really like the way he looks with a goatee. For years, he couldn’t wear one at work, but the company’s policy was changed recently and my husband immediately started growing out a goatee. Is that offensive? He looks hot, y’all.
There also seemed to be something offensive about fixing his favorite meals. I pointed out in the original post that sometimes I fix things that I like because if I’m cooking it, sometimes I should get to have my favorites even if they’re not a favorite with everyone else.
I can’t imagine that if my list had been “ways to show your kids you love them,” fixing them their favorite meals would have been seen as archaic. The very day that folks on Facebook were being offended by my post, something interesting happened. I fixed a meal that is a favorite of everyone. I don’t especially like fixing it because it’s not the simplest meal, but Brianna had asked me to.
Does that decision make me subservient to my kids? I don’t think so. I think it makes me considerate of their feelings. When Josh walked into the kitchen that night and saw what I was fixing, a huge smile spread across his face and he said, “Oh, yum! You do love us!”
He perceived that my choice to make one of our family’s favorite meals was a sign of my love for them. It was – and it made me happy knowing that I had made him and Brianna happy.
Why shouldn’t I want to experience that with the man I love enough to be spending the rest of my life with? What is subservient about that? It just sounds like love and mutual respect to me.
Maybe the offense that post generated was a case of someone reading the subheadings and thinking it said something that it didn’t. If not, then, really, I don’t get it. I certainly wasn’t offended that Brian washed and vacuumed my car before he picked me up at the airport last week. I’m not offended when he mows the lawn, cleans the garage, or changes into a nice shirt before we go out to dinner together.
I wasn’t too worried Valentine’s Day this past weekend. I don’t need Hallmark to tell me what day to show my man I love him. However, ten days after Valentine’s Day marks the 25th anniversary of the day Brian asked me to marry him.
I want to put forth just as much effort to woo him now as I did back then – well, most days. When I don’t, he’ll still love me, but when I do, he’ll be reminded that I still find him worth my time, effort, and attention. I just don’t see anything offensive about that.
Do you think that dressing up for your husband or straightening the house before he comes home is old-fashioned?
images courtesy of deposit photos