Valentine's day came and went, and it left me thinking. I absolutely adore my husband; he is my best friend, my support when the going gets tough, my inspiration when I don't feel too confident and the only person in the whole world whom I know I can trust completely. I also have an enormous admiration for him, as a man, and as an artist, I'm very often taken aback and impressed by the depth of his talent, his dedication, and the strength of his character. He never pretends to be something he is not, for the simple reason that who and what he is is enough! This last element is at the core of this little note.
My husband ends up being the butt of a lot of my jokes and stories, and he knows it. People sometimes don't realize that I do tell him when I talk about him, and really he's ok with it. Once one of my members made the comment that, if he was a "Real Man", my husband would "set me straight" when he heard about what I was saying about him. I didn't argue the point, it wasn't worth it at the time, but now, a few years later, I think I would like to.
First I would like to define "Real Man" as I think it's the very center of the whole thing. The stereotypical description of a "Real Man" can be simplified to a rugged looking, over sexed and overbearing bully who rules his house with an iron fist and suffers no confrontations of any kind. He can win a fight with a grizzly bear first thing in the morning, drink 45 beers before climbing on the roof to repair the chimney. A real man is never afraid, never cries, and never gives up.
If that's a "Real Man", my husband certainly is not it... thankfully! Yet, I do believe that he is much more a "Real Man" than those macho chauvinists who obviously feel the need to assert their manhood strongly and regularly.
In the 10+ years that I have known him, I have seen him afraid, I have seen him overwhelmed, I have seen him cry, whine and pretty much anything in between. What does that say about his manhood? He can very well hold his own in any debate, and does not easily back down (Woah! understatement of the year!) but he will debate my position, it wouldn't occur to him to debate my right or ability to debate his. With a bit of practice he can probably hold his liquor, but honestly in a fight with a grizzly bear... well, thankfully I can run faster than he can. HA!
My husband is a "Real Man" because he doesn't feel the need to assert his manhood all the time. He is not afraid to stand his ground, and will not back down when he knows he's right, but he does not feel the need to assert any kind of authority to prove his strength. When I'm feeling strong, he gives me all the space I need to do my thing, he stands by me letting me know how much he believes in me and that he's there whenever my steps falter. He does not feel threatened by being married to a strong willed (ahem... no comment!) woman who's not afraid to voice her opinions (I said no comment!), on the contrary it makes him proud! Don't let his quiet-ness fool you though, he lets me go on and on, that doesn't mean that he always agrees and/or that I always win. how boring would that be??
I have to admit, being married to such a man makes my life that much more enriching and fulfilling. Because I know that he is not threatened by who I am, I feel fully at ease being myself. I never feel like I have to pretend to be anything else but just little ol' me. He makes sure I know that he loves me just as I am, and that he is proud of me and believes in me. In the light of such support and belief in my abilities, it's easier to put myself out there and feel confident doing so. I know that no matter what, at least one person believes in my abilities and my worth. He gives me the space I need to stand on my own two feet and achieve what I set out to do.
He is who he is and I love him all the more for it. A "Real Man" doesn't have such a fragile manhood that he has to asserts it all the time. A "Real Man" can step back and respect loved one's strength and space enough to not be overbearing. A "Real Man" earns and gives love, trust, and respect. A "Real Man" is a man with whom one wants to spend his/her life not because he is perfect, but because he is who he is and does not pretend to be anything else.
Did I mention that a "Real Man" is incredibly sexy? Something to think about guys...