Do you have a hard time letting your husband do things for you?
All month we’ve been talking about mental load and emotional labor, and how much many women feel overburdened by bearing too much of the load.
But there is another side of this: some women have a hard time allowing/encouraging our husbands to help us because we want to be independent, or we don’t want to feel as if we need help.
So I thought, as we’re getting ready to wrap up this series, it may be good to hear from someone coming at the issue of mental load and emotional labor from a different point of view: what if your husband wants to share the load, but you’re not letting him?
Here’s Kat, the Pensive Soul, with some thoughts!
“I’m trying to love on my wife.”
Ten months into marriage and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this phrase from my husband. The most recent may have been a several weeks ago when I was sick and miserable, (I mean on the couch, not moving, miserable) and my husband was in the kitchen taking care of things and asking me what I wanted for lunch. Of course, my stubborn butt said that he didn’t have to do it and I could get it myself.
However, my husband is just as stubborn as I am, so you can probably guess my response didn’t get very far off the ground.
So, when I continued to argue that I could get it and he didn’t have to take care of me, that’s when I received the “I’m trying to love on my wife” statement.
It’s beautiful and I’m so grateful to my husband for loving me so well. The countless times he’s said it to me (usually when I’m trying to be stubborn and just take care of something so that I’m not a burden to him) has made me think about the nature of letting our husbands love us.
I’ll start by saying that I’m all for equality.
Women can do a lot of amazing things and don’t have to be treated in any sort of condescending manner simply because we’re women. But, that being said, sometimes, in the quest to be strong, we forget the great gift it is to let someone else serve.
We’ve become so convinced that we as women have to be overly competent and able to take care of ourselves that we’ve lost the ability to let our husbands love on us.
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “I’m a strong, independent woman, who don’t need no man”?
Yes, the grammar is horrible but the phrase has often become women’s battle cry. I’m strong, I’m independent, and I don’t need help. The end.
I like to think of myself as strong and independent. I’m uber competent. I can take full and complete care of myself. And I’m not the only one.
But what happens when we take that attitude into marriage?
After all, what is it that God asks of husbands?
Love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
That’s huge. But it’s easy to gloss over because in the Western world few, if any, of us, will be in a position where our husband literally must give up his life for our sake.
But the concept of laying down one’s life for the other person doesn’t just have to be literal. In marriage, we are to become selfless servants, man and woman, taking care of the needs of the other person.
Yes, we are independent women, we don’t need to be taken care of. But here’s the thing that I’ve been learning.
Needing to be taken care of is not the point.
The point is that in allowing my husband to take care of me, I am letting him love and serve me and I am in turn loving and serving him.
But wait! I’m still a strong independent woman and I don’t need a man!
Yes, I hear you. And you’re right. You’re strong, and you’re independent, and you’re completely capable. But what I’ve learned is that it’s not about whether we need it or not.
Allowing our husbands to love on us doesn’t mean that we can’t do the thing ourselves, whatever it is. Rather, it’s our own act of allowing our husbands to express their love for us in their provision, in their serving.
If my husband weren’t there, I could have gotten the chicken soup by myself. No questions asked. I still could have gotten it with him in there and offering to do it.
But if I would have gotten up to get the soup, I would have shot down his manhood. I would have virtually spat in his face saying that I didn’t need his help when all along he wasn’t offering because he thought I needed help getting the soup.
He knew I could get it myself but he was offering because he wanted to care for me.
I know it’s hard to restrain ourselves, to let someone else take care of us. So many times, I have to hold myself back from doing things I am perfectly capable of doing because my husband wants to do it for me. And it feels really weird, because I can do it.
But our capability to do it isn’t the point at all. The point is loving our husbands, and letting them love us.
Sometimes, okay a lot of times, we’re going to have to stay seated and let our husbands love us. And it doesn’t mean we aren’t strong, independent women. It means we are honoring our husband by letting him love us.
What do you think? Can you relate to this side of the emotional labor/mental load debate? Is it hard to let your husband do things for you? Let’s talk in the comments!