I met my wife, Jaymee, over two years ago over fish and chips at the coast. We were both newly married, and our husbands had just met at UCC, the youngest and newest instructors on campus.
Ten minutes of discussion that culminated in fertility observations and other such personal details, and I knew the foundation was laid for a beautiful new marriage in my life.
The relationships we have with women are not like the ones we have with men.
Women understand other women in ways men never can, and sometimes you just need that supportive ear to be a sounding board for whatever feminine trials are facing you.
One thing I truly believe about marriage is that it is better if the wife has a wife.
Mine sometimes hears the notes that ring false in my voice when other ears don’t, and will ask about them every single time. Why? Because she’s a woman.
And sometimes I let those false notes slip because I wish someone would care and come pick them up like a subtly-dropped handkerchief.
Because men, if we’re honest, are built of different material. Square, solid, straightforward—for the most part, what you see is what you get.
Women are like those puzzle balls whose pieces are obviously part of a whole, but it’s anyone’s guess how they fit together. Because it’s a puzzle ball.
My wife remembers that I’m made of indeterminate shapes, because she is too.
And while my husband is someone I can depend on for the straightforward challenges of life, he sometimes forgets that on occasion I will say something but mean something else.
When I have lots of menial little issues plaguing me and offer them to my husband, he—wonderful problem-solver that he is—starts chewing on them in the back of his mind, working up a solution in an effort to make me happy.
It’s a wonderful quality about men, but for the little things, that just isn’t what I need.
I need a wife to hear me and then move on—maybe because I need to hear me and move on. After unloading all my little issues on her, she feels like she’s been helpful even though they’re already forgotten, and I feel heard and validated.
That way I can go back to my real job refreshed.
I can count on Jaymee to take my side on yesterday’s battle with the checkout clerk, or to understand my latent road rage when people never seem to realize the speed limit on Stewart Parkway is 40 rather than 30.
And while there are moments when I want someone to fix those problems, she doesn’t. She just hears them. She gets it; she cares like I care, even if only for a moment.
She smoothes the rough edges when I’m out of patience to compromise at home; she hears the doubt, frustration, and insecurity in those rare moments when it’s too much for the man on the home front to handle.
She has the tools of feminine understanding easily at hand, and can let go of my troubles as soon as she’s heard them while still making me feel supported.
I’m not sure if the lesson here is that men can only take so much, so we should all find wives to manage the emotional challenges, or that I have so much on my mind that I need not one but two spouses to manage my plethora of internal issues.
I respect the man who has chosen to spend his life with me, and because he has already taken up the responsibilities of my physical, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing, I can honor that sacrifice by letting the less important frustrations—those subtly-dropped handkerchiefs, if you will—fall into the very understanding and capable female hands of my indispensable wife.
I need a wife to hear me and then move on—maybe because I need to hear me and move on.