The other day I read an article about the emotional labor husbands do that often goes unacknowledged.
The example Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten uses is managing the finances.
In my marriage, I am the one who does this. But there are numerous other ways my husband takes care of us emotionally. I’d just never thought of it as emotional labor before.
Here are 6 of my favorites.
He Never Worries About Money
In the 10 years I have known my husband, he has never once expressed worry about money. I, on the other hand, struggle to feel safe around money. It’s a trauma from childhood I’m still working through.
His calming presence helps me be calm. He reassures me that we’ll be alright when I need to hear it. He’s not stingy and has never once criticized anything I’ve spent money on. He’s generous and wants me to have access to quality food and supplements even when the cash flow is slow.
He Wants Me To Be Happy
My husband doesn’t talk about his feelings very often. But one thing has been consistent since day one. He wants me to be happy.
When I wanted to sing, he learned the guitar so that he could accompany me. He learns all the songs I love and we play almost every night.
When I wanted to move from Texas to Arizona, and later to Oregon, he agreed and made it happen.
Anytime I want to leave a job or change jobs, he’s always supportive.
Now we are about to have a baby. He’s providing for us so I can focus on my writing and being a mom (which is what I want to do). When it comes to my wellbeing, he is my biggest advocate.
He Draws Me A Bath Every Night
In my Hawaiian house it’s a multi-step process if I want to have a bath. Our bathtub is outdoors in a partly enclosed area. We have to fill it up and then move it to the center of the room so the water will drain properly when we’re done. Then we have to hang up the bathmats on the clothesline so they won’t mold.
I’m at the stage in my pregnancy where everything makes me uncomfortable. So my husband cleans the tub (which gets dusty from being outdoors) and fills the tub. He tests the water so it’s the perfect temperature. He puts everything away when I’m done. He makes sure I have epsom salt and essential oils. And I rarely ever have to tell him I want a bath, because he almost always asks me first.
He Gives My Cats A Great Life
One day I brought home three kittens. He’s always been very clear that these are my cats. However, from the beginning he’s taken an active role in their care. He researches healthy diets and supplements. He found a local pet shop that sells toxic-free toys. He built them a cat palace. He pets them and plays with them everyday. When I became pregnant, he took over the litter box even though we agreed he wouldn’t have to do that.
He Makes Our House Safe And Comfortable
Last fall we moved to Hawaii in a crisis. I was 5 months pregnant and we couldn’t find housing. So his family offered to let us live in his grandmother’s empty house on the island since she’s in a care home.
The house is old and falling apart. The termite damage is so extensive that dust falls from the ceilings every day. It forms piles inside the kitchen cabinets and around the base boards. Some of the windows are missing panes of glass. It gets hot in the afternoon and there is no AC. It badly needs some electrical upgrades.
Since the day we landed my husband has worked to repair our home. We started with our bedroom which is where I will give birth and where our baby will sleep. He repaired the damaged beams and replaced the ceiling. He painted the walls the color of my choice.
Every night he researches how the climate impacts old homes. He watches videos on youtube to learn how to prevent further damage. He examines every inch of our house and works tirelessly to make it safe and as comfortable as possible.
He Cares For My Mental Health
We live on a busy, noisy street. Our house is not insulated so the sounds of traffic pour through the walls. One of our neighborhoods sometimes uses loud power tools at 6 am.
For the first several weeks I was going out of my mind (sound is my biggest PTSD trigger).
Every other day or so my husband drove me to the beach so I could swim in the ocean, which calms my nerves. He’s not that into walking, but he knows I enjoy it so he started taking walks with me everyday.
He drove around town picking up soil and gardening tools because he knows gardening is therapeutic and that I love it.
I’m now understanding the emotional aspects of being a provider. My husband knows that our livelihood depends on him. He cares about me and wants our child to have a good life. Everything he does for us, he does out of love.
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This post was previously published on medium.com.
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Sounds like you have a good partner! We also bought an “affordable” run-down house. Little-by-little, over time, it became my wife’s house; that is, it took on the two of us as repairs became improvements and when the money was there, we paid it off and she got everything she wanted and more from a good team of European builders. I commend your husband’s drive for fixing; I really recommend FAMILY HANDYMAN magazine. Ask for deals and leftovers; I think, based on our 44+ years of marriage, that you’ve hit the right formula: you maintain the savings and control the… Read more »