Friday, May 17, 2013

This Is NOT a Sitcom

Very early on in our relationship, The Wife and I realized we agreed on a lot of things. One of those things was the inanity of how married couples are portrayed on television sitcoms. You know the dynamic: the husband is a dunderheaded buffoon who would like nothing more than to get away from all of his responsibilities so he can go golf or do something with "the guys;" meanwhile, the wife is always right, usually harried, and often a nagging shrew.

Many incredibly successful television shows have been built on this kind of relationship. Shows like Home Improvement, King of Queens, even, at times, The Cosby Show. The worst offender was probably Everybody Loves Raymond. A lot of people liked and watched these shows. I watched much of them myself. And I enjoyed a point. And then their portrayal of the married relationship got on my nerves. If being married meant living like that, why would I ever bother get married?

That's why I was glad Amber and I agreed about those type of show.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, last week, in an "attempt" to be funny, I wrote a column that made the relationship between Amber and I seem a lot like those television couples. In it, I came across as a helpless, incompetent slug, unable to make a decision or do anything on my own without the help, guidance, or direction of My Wife. Meanwhile, Amber came across as either existing only to take care of my every whim (cooking my food, doing my taxes, picking out my clothes, etc.), or as bossing me around to keep me on the straight and narrow.

These characterizations are not accurate. Not even close.

Hey, I like self-deprecating humor as much as the next guy. (Okay, probably more than the next guy.)  But, if I was as incompetent and lame as I often portray myself to be, why would Amber stay with me? I do have some skills. There are some things I actually do around the house. I do the dishes and help with the laundry. I attempt to do some cleaning, and I take care of the garbage.

And, I like to think I'm a pretty good father. I play with the kids. I read to them (A lot.) I take them to the library and to the park. Could I do better? Of course. But, I'm trying. And I genuinely enjoy being around them. (I'd much rather hang with the kids than go golfing with "the guys.") (And I would prefer to be with Amber than with any other person in the world.)

If I'm a better person than I was before I got married, it's not because Amber "put me on the straight and narrow," or "fixed" me in some way. It's because when I'm around Amber and the kids, I want to be a better person. I want to be more responsible and actually act like a grown up. I want to be a good example.

Meanwhile, Amber works very, very hard around the house. She does a lot to help our family flourish. Does she do this to cater to my every whim? Of course not. She works to take care of us because she loves her kids and she loves her husband, and she does whatever is in her power to make sure that our family is taken care of.

(That's not to say that she never caters to any of my whims. She very often will surprise me by doing something she knows will bring a smile to my face, like planning a vacation to someplace I'd always talked about going, or buying a basketball standard for Buzz's birthday because she knew both Buzz and I would love it.) [Reminder to myself: I need to cater to some of Amber's whims a bit more often. Because I love to see her smile.]

But hey, if you read last week's post and laughed, that's okay, too. A large number of people used to laugh at Everybody Loves Raymond every week. Just know that what I wrote last week is not representative of my relationship with my wife. It was full of cartoony exaggerations and generalizations. Much like those sitcoms Amber and I dislike.

I'd like to think that the relationship that Amber and I have bares little resemblance to those sitcom marriages. I'd like to think that our relationship is built on mutual respect, mutual responsibility, and mutual admiration. (I do, after all, love her very, very much!)

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