Who Wears the Pants in Your House?
I overheard someone use this phrase (again) today, and my skin crawled as it always does when I hear this or a sister expression like she wears the pants in that family, he is henpecked, be a man and let them know who is boss. Yuck to all of it.
I have been with the same man my entire life, since I was 18, in fact. We’ve definitely had some ups and downs over the years but, in the end, we are each able to see that whatever is ailing us is really about oneself and not another. In other words, whenever I think I have a problem with another or find myself complaining about someone, I have learned that in 100% of the cases, it is really my problem with myself and nothing more. When I commit myself to change, to an upgrade, everything and everyone around me …. improves … like magic. Wild. True.
Someone recently asked me and my husband what we attributed our long time relationship to. There’s a lot of variables involved in that answer for us: we were deeply and head over heels in love from the get-go… the kind of chemistry that still gives me goosebumps when we touch or cuddle, we have made some important and empowered decisions over the years … like home birthing, sharing a family bed, not putting our kids in school, moving and becoming entrepreneurs. All that and more definitely gives us a solid foundation for growing together and weathering the storms of relationship, for sure.
All that aside however, the number one thing that has allowed us to share long term time and space together has been this: equality. Neither of us has ever, dare I say for one second (ok, maybe a few seconds here and there), felt or acted better or smarter or more powerful or needing to control the other. Further, I have been known to say that our relationship has lasted because I do whatever he tells me to do and he does whatever I tell him to do.
Let me explain what that means. Because we don’t play games with each other and prefer honest, respectful communication, I know, as does he, that if either of us ask the other for help, for support or for advice, that it’s a serious request and we can count on the other’s compliance. When my husband wanted to uproot us to move to a foreign city to take a new job, despite having a house and friends and city we loved, I knew he wouldn’t propose it unless he was dead serious. When I told him that I wanted to give up my professional job, have a home birth and never put my kids in school, he admittedly was floored but knew I had done my research and how important this was to me. Looking into the future of a monumental decision is useless. No one can predict the future. What feels good and powerful is this moment: the desire for relationship, for the feeling of flow, for connection. When I can connect with all of those things in an instantaneous moment, I know I am moving in the right direction and the future will take care of itself.