It’s 11:45am on a warm Tuesday afternoon, I’ve got a cup of coffee on my left and 2 split screen computer screens on my right. An afternoon baseball game is on in the background and I’m furiously typing away trying to complete a business quote for a client. It’s been a busy morning at the home as I’ve fixed the headlight on my wife’s car, studied for a couple hours and vacuumed the living room. Glancing at the time I realize it’ll be my Jill’s (my wife) lunch break soon so I slowly rise out of my office chair to prepare a delicious salad for us to enjoy together.
Yes, you may have guessed correctly, I’m a “stay at home husband.” What a modern man! Ha-ha and yes I do indeed cook, clean and wait around all day for my wife to get home! Just kidding, what kind of a man would I be if this were true?
The truth is I love working from home, setting my own work schedule; I get to workout during the day, and spend more time cooking healthy meals and if I have time, keep the house clean and maybe even do some laundry… well to be honest I hate laundry so Jill steps in with that one!
After years of commuting and working with the boys I really am enjoying flying solo at home, laundry. We both like change and are adjusting well to our new normal. While we are doing good we also both love social good and want to find a way to make a difference in this world.
So how did we get to this point?
Well, let me give you guys a little bit of back story. I (Luke) have worked in the construction industry for quite a few years, most recently I was working as a carpenter building homes. I don’t love construction but there was lots of work. For the past year I have had a ton of hours on the job as the construction market has been booming in Vancouver, BC. For most of the year I was working long hard hours and Jill was at home doing University courses, cleaning, cooking, blogging, and doing graphic design work. We made it work but neither of us were very happy doing life this way.
Now, my lovely wife is a little more… ok A LOT more honest with her emotions than I am, so she made it clear that this setup wasn’t working for her, and even though deep down I felt the same way I just became annoyed with her. You see the way we were operating fit into a more traditional approach to male-female roles in marriage. The hard working husband is gone most of the day slaving away at the job while the wife is at home keeping herself busy with little projects such as cleaning, cooking, looking pretty and when the kids arrive taking care of the kids. When the husband drags himself through the front door he expects to find a clean house, well kept wife and a steaming chicken dinner sitting on the table! He also expects his wife to be extremely happy with this setup.
Sounds over the top and ridiculous right?! More in line with a typical home in the 1950s? Well, I would never have admitted that at the time, but let me tell you this was exactly what I expected when my wife and I first got married!
I’m becoming more of a modern man since and im adapting certain views as my own. In this area of traditional roles my expectations were unfair and unreasonable. I did not take the time to figure out what made my wife happy, whether that is being a stay at home mom, a working woman, a freelancer, social activist, or working together on a project. I just assumed things would work out, and work out according to the way I thought a marriage should be. Little did I realize I had a closed mind in regards to male/female roles, especially in a marriage.
I like to hope and pray that I’ll always be able to take criticism, analyze my thoughts and actions and change them where and when necessary.
“You cannot evolve unless you are willing to change.” Leon Brown
However as a new husband I did not understand Jill’s perspective (I still have a long way to go). I grew annoyed that my traditional, figure yourself out ideas on marriage wasn’t fully reciprocated by my wife and I thought to myself: “We have money, she is free to sleep in and do what she wants with her days, why won’t she change and just be happy?”
I thought this way because being self employed, flying solo at home on my computer and completely in charge of my own days was what I really wanted. I didn’t even stop to think perhaps it wasn’t fully what she wanted?! What a dummy.
Now of course you’re all screaming at me…
JUST DON’T TELL HER THAT, DONT TELL HER THAT YOU ARE THAT ANNOYED WITH HER YOU IDIOT!
Well, I certainly did. I know, I know, a very stereotypical male maneuver, all logic and no heart. I was very rigid in my thoughts towards male/female roles and how a couple could work together in a marriage.
A couple years into our marriage Jill and I took a University course from Queens in Global Development Studies. We took the course because we wanted to gain an understanding on what has shaped our world and how we as humans in this modern era can do social good and really help people. We are both Christians and both spent much time being involved with traditional “ministry and missions” work in other parts of the world. We both did so out of a desire to better humanity and help people. This course from Queens that we took seriously challenged the way we saw the world and the way that Christians have tried to help the “Third World.” It was a very interesting and informative course which walked us through the last few hundred years and laid a basic foundation for why the world is the way that it is now. Starting with the Industrial Revolution all the way to the post WWII era, it shaped a narrative that was really inspiring.
Taking this course together was really great for our marriage, as our political and world views grew a little closer with every study session! We finished the course one step closer to knowing how we could and couldn’t make a difference in this world. (However I will still vote conservative and Jill would vote for the Green Party 🙂 so we dont see eye to eye on every subjuct thats for sure!)
Anyways, as we grew in our knowledge and spent more time together and started to learn more about each other I began to realize our differences and that I could not expect Jill to think about life in exactly the same way that I did. She has different talents, gifts and a all around different personality than I do.
My rigid expectations and thoughts about marriage have begun to slowly change and I am becoming more willing to approach life & marriage from a different perspective.
“True love is about growing as a couple, learning about each other and not giving up on each other.”
At the time Jill was working part time and mostly at home alone and I was framing houses all over Vancouver and working long hours. I started trying to help her find work, explore her passions and consider working together in some way. This summer she got a great job but it required us to move, which we did. I had planned to continue framing with us both working full time, however one day in the midst of our move Jill pulled me aside and encouraged me to go after my dreams and try something different. Jill is very hopeful and an optimistic dreamer and I’ve always admired her ability to see the world in this light.
It was a tough decision as I was walking away from a good job, but I decided to quit building houses, embrace the lifestyle change and work on starting on my own projects and a project that we could do together. I would never have made this move without Jill encouraging me to dream and think outside the box.
I’m sure our lifestyle will change again in the future and we will have to adapt to different roles but we are both open and ready for those changes as they present themselves. The main thing is that we are together and my mindset has slowly begun to open up and be more willing to approach life in a different way.
I hope my journey to becoming a more “modern man” has intrigued you.