I’m sitting next to my mum, sipping on cheap-yet-completely-perfect wine at a local wine bar on a late Sunday afternoon, the kids are happily playing and I am surrounded by lovely people, its a wonderful day. My husband Shaun croons on his guitar in the back ground; he’s a musician and his day job is to perform at all the local pubs and bars around our city. He’s good at what he does and his job also allows him to be a stay at home parent with me through out the week. He supports me through everything, he even cooks and cleans, even if he’s worked all weekend or studied for days on end. He allows me to do be who ever it is I need to be, or at least the person I want to be. He does as much as I do, he really steps up as a husband and as a parent to our three children.
I adore this guy to no end.
My mum turns to me, and says “You’re so lucky to have such a supportive and caring husband”.
I hear this a lot, mostly from stay at home mothers who are drowning, in chaos, in mess, in mothering, in washing, in life.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that people admire the qualities that my husband has, but make no mistake, the guy didn’t show up on a horse with his hand reached out begging for me to ride with him into the sunset.
I helped build this man and not with a list of demands but with the way that I valued myself.
I smile, and look over at him, he’s handsome, he’s charming and has a voice that seduced me into marrying him in the first place, “It’s true, I am very lucky” I reply, but my reply doesn’t sit with me quite right.
Why the unease?
When I really thought about it, it is odd that people might consider me lucky.
I am not lucky to be treated well, I am not lucky to be supported, I am not lucky to be doted on and adored, because those things are exactly what I deserve.
Yeah I’m lucky that I met him but I am not lucky to be treated well because I should be treated well anyway. Just in the same way that he’s lucky to have met me but not lucky that I don’t demand he provide me with a lifestyle that requires him to sacrifice his own values to provide it. He shouldn’t have to anyway.
It is my right, to feel as loved and as supported as any man in any kind of relationship.
I am lucky however, to have met a decent person that wants to be with another decent person. A person who happens to love me and wants to share the other half of my life with me.
I receive what I deserve. I receive what we all deserve.
If we consider the way we are treated in our relationships as bad luck, and that we should just suck it up, it has much less to do with chance and more to do with the way we invite people to treat us. Remember that saying ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated’, thats a real thing. (Obviously this does not always apply for situations where someone is harming us on purpose and sometimes it has nothing to do with boundaries or respect; then please seek help).
I have never allowed Shaun to treat me any other way than the way I deserve, the first boundary I set for myself was the one I set with him. So if you find yourself working for the person you are in a relationship with, before you blame them for the way they are, perhaps ask yourself why you took the job in the first place.
So if you find yourself at this point in this blog, asking ‘Wheres the simple step?’ then I’ll be very clear; its taking your foot off of your personal values and setting the boundaries you need.
Trust me you’ll appreciate it.