What Khloe Kardashian is Teaching ME about Marriage

Can you imagine living the life of a Kardashian? The glamour, the fame, the money, the complete lack of privacy? I’m not a huge fan of them, but I’m also not one to bash. They make their money doing what most celebrities already do- branding themselves and marketing to a wide, hungry audience.

Yet today, I was taken aback by what I read. Lamar Odom, famous for playing fourteen years in the NBA- but probably on everyone’s recent radar because of his marriage and split from Khloe Kardashian- is in a coma following what’s being reported as a drug-filled trip to a brothel. Lamar Odom’s life had lately been one of sadness. It was widely reported that Khloe split from him because of his addiction to drugs and depression and he recently lost his best friend who died at the young age of thirty-seven, all combined with a career that was slowly falling off. Despite all of his success- living a life that young people who dream of being in the NBA look up to- despite his world championships and marriage to a beautiful and equally famous woman, he turns to drugs and cheap sex; seemingly lost in a world where he was once hailed as a success – AN ATHLETE- someone untouchable. Money, fame, power, success do not equal happiness.

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Yet, this wasn’t what shocked me. It saddened and affected me deeply, but here’s what shocked me:

Khloe Kardashian Flies Lamar Odom’s Father, 2 Children, and Their Mother Lisa Morales to Las Vegas

I’m sure the life of an addict is a horror, but the life of being married to one, can you imagine? If you’ve watched a recent season of Keeping Up with the Kardashians you know that Lamar’s addiction terrorized and consumed Khloe’s life. She hid it for him, defended him, pleaded with him, and eventually left him for both their sake- even though she’s always confessed to still loving him and still wishing to be married to him (legally, the couple is still married, but they have been separated for some time now). This profound sense of love coming from such an unexpected place, from a Kardashian. Despite all of his infidelity and disregard for their marriage, she’s by his side in his time of need. She’s sending for his family and experiencing the hardest thing for someone to experience- watching their best friend and spouse battle with death.

Death Cab for Cutie has a song that says, “love is watching someone die,” and I guess I never realized what that meant until I got married. Marriage is a vocation where the end result is loneliness. Eventually, a spouse will die and the other is left to continue life without them. In our modern world, this is the fear, right? The fear of being alone, of experiencing the feeling of having no one left to love. This is why we turn to drugs, or porn, or on demand sex, or whatever- because it’s an easy way to feel something sort of like love without going through the ‘watching someone die’ part. Could you accept the responsibility of being the last loving set of eyes for someone to see on earth despite all of the anger and hardship they’ve brought you in life? Maybe not in the same way, and maybe not on as volatile of a scale, but this is what marriage is and this is what we’re all called to do to some extent in our vocation.

Married couples… no, I – could learn a lot from Khloe’s plight. Say what you want about the Kardashians, but I, even as a Catholic who understands the sacrifice that marriage calls us to, might not be capable of bringing my estranged in laws to Vegas to visit my perhaps dying husband who has put me through so much pain and anger. I probably wouldn’t be able to accept all of the things he did to me and stick by his side until the very end. I surely wouldn’t be able to forgive and excuse his infidelity, watching the man I love come close to death and accepting the pain and sorrow that comes along with losing someone you love. I might not be as good as a wife as Khloe is being.

The Kardashians may be living a show in the spotlight but what Khloe is doing is fulfilling her vocation in a very real way. She may not be a saint, but I can only pray that in her shoes, I would be willing to do the same. She may not be timid or modest or the ideal woman, but her strength and love for her husband is showing right now. I never thought I would say this about a Kardashian, but Khloe is being an example to us all.

The Plight of the American Catholic

Oooooh, Mass Media, you’re good and you’re bad; you give us intellectual stimulation, yet you definitely take years of intelligence away every time we spend more than five minutes contemplating your stupidity. Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, George Stephaflkasjdgfh (however you spell it), Rachel Maddow, and the like- I never thought I would address you all in the same sentence and be equally discouraged by your ability to sway the average American Catholic.

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If you live under a rock or are just shutting out the world, you may not know that Pope Francis is in America. You may also not know that he is one of the most unitive figure in the world today while also being one of the most polarizing. He makes the right mad when he harps on global warming and economic responsibility in the free market. He makes the left mad because he’s pro-life and refuses to budge on topics like women-priests and gay marriage. He makes moderates mad because they just wish he was a little more moderate. He made me mad today because I had to turn on the subtitles to understand his English. What gives, Pope Francis? Why can’t you be clearer, not just in articulation, but in content? Why can’t you say more about the unborn and less about the environment? Why can’t you follow my political agenda instead of confusing us all?

This, my fair reader, is the plight of the American Catholic. As voters, as citizens of this great nation, we are far too used to our opinions mattering and having talking heads spew our opinions out at us with great vibrato. We like Glenn Beck because he says exactly what I think about them “dern illegal aliens,” or we like Rachel Maddow because she rocks the pixie cut and simply does not give a flip about the patriarchy. Heck, the entire phenomenon of Donald Trump (because his popularity is so ridiculous it can only be deemed a phenomenon) has come about because he says what “we’re all thinking” and isn’t afraid of the repercussions. We like him because he echoes our voices and does it in a way that our timidity and manners disallow us from doing. We like Donald because he’s an American who vulgar personality personifies the idea that our voices matter more than anything else in politics. We love our politics to fit right alongside our own opinions and sadly, the Church does not work that way.

Further, we are encouraged daily to forgo our own prudential judgment for the insane and outlandish. Beck, Limbaugh, Coulter, Maddow, Stephanskdfjals all make a living from asking or proclaiming the outlandish. They don’t want your prudential judgment, they want your anger and frustration, your baser emotions. This is how they keep us listening to talk radio and MSNBC- with headlines and news breaks that are meant to rile up our emotions and speak to our inner Donald Trumps. I’m not saying they aren’t entertaining and aren’t useful in terms of giving up new viewpoints and opinons, but they aren’t concerned with making us virtuous or good Catholics; they’re concerned with getting us to tune it tomorrow night when they cover some other outrageous topic, asking more outrageous questions, and proclaiming some other outrageous solution.

The Church and Pope Francis as her Holy Father do not have to be defined by our terms and opinions- they are, in fact, charged by God to clarify and define them for us with faith and reason as their guide. Further, the Church encourages us to use our prudential judgment when approaching hot and confusing topics, but goes beyond that in helping us to form our conscience and live a life of virtue. Pope Francis can harp on global warming as much as he wants, not because it falls in line with a certain political agenda, but because he is charged with bringing moral dilemmas to the forefront of our Catholic consciousness’. He is more than a political figure, more than a media talking head; he is a shepherd charged with guiding his flock, not just reiterating what everyone else is already thinking. He doesn’t change Church teaching according to our wants, he articulates it according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The plight of the American Catholic is that we live in a dichotomy. On the one hand, we owe allegiance and have a duty to participate in a government where our voices matter. We are citizens of the greatest nation on the planet and we must participate and be concerned with politics in order to continue to see America thrive. On the other hand, we are also concerned with the spiritual well-being of our fellow brothers and sisters- something that goes far beyond social and economic policy. We are called to proclaim that there is one faith and one truth in the face of a pluralistic society- a society that says votes are what matter and majority opinion is king.

This is the reason we are so confused during this time of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. Let’s stop blaming him. He’s not responsible for our backwards views towards immigration, welfare systems, and reproductive rights. He’s not responsible for the fact htat you get your news and opinions from sources that make money from being controversial. When in doubt, ignore Rush or Beck or Coulter and seek clarity in the Church. His office is beyond the political. Sure, he can speak to politicians and politics because he is concerned with the whole person and the totality of humanity, but he can also speak beyond our narrow political opinions to something more. Let’s just be open to the ‘more,’ ok?

Just a Thought: Where We are in the Abortion Debate

I’m sure you heard of it, #ShoutYourAbortion, trending on Twitter; encouraging women who have undergone abortion procedures to proudly proclaim and publicly defend their reasoning behind killing their unborn children.

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I don’t personally know any of these women, and I won’t pretend to judge their hearts or attempt to condemn them (I think their words are enough). What I want to examine is where we are in the abortion debate today. I postulate that there are two takeaways we can derive from the recent Planned Parenthood scandals and the liberal response: 1) We are coming to a point in the debate where it is undeniable that abortion is a murder of a human being and 2) The only baby that is OK to murder is the unwanted one.

To the first point, notice that the conversation has changed. No longer is the left spouting rhetoric of “It’s a clump of cells,” or “It’s a part of the woman’s body.” Sure, every once in a while a troll will pop up who still shouts these lies from the rooftops, but they’re behind the times, man. We’ve moved into an era where the abortion rights activists focus on what “good” the murder of a human being can produce. Scroll through the #shoutyourabortion feed and you’ll see many stories of how abortion allowed a woman to go to college, get a job, live out her twenties with no attachments, find a real husband, etc. No one’s denying that a child was murdered, the focus has shifted from the denial to the positive side effects of killing another human being. One I saw multiple times: “What’s more important, a half formed fetus or a fully formed woman?” Well, what is more important?

Isn’t it important that we are forming opinions that derive from the understanding that some lives are not as important or significant as others? Isn’t is important that the leftist defenders of abortion rights have given us a scale by which we measure the full value of human beings? How is this not a warning sign of things to come? I’m not one for gloom and doom, but as Mother Teresa puts it, “We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other.” The truth is, there is nothing left, Mother. We have gotten to the point where society will fall into one of two sides in the debate. Either human life is sacred and should be protected at every stage of life, or it is acceptable and sometimes “good” to take another human life as long as the one doing the taking is more important. There are no longer any alternative sides to fall on.

To my second point, I found it astounding that women who were mothers of multiple children would be proud of choosing to abort one of them that came at an inconvenient time, either before their life was stable or after they had reached the limit on happy children. In this instance, the only child that is OK to murder is the unwanted child. Remembering the gestation period of Stella is a miracle. She was never not a person inside of me and there wasn’t a magic moment in which she was finally given humanity. Had I killed her or had she died, we wouldn’t have the wonderful soul we are sharing our lives with now. To see other women deny that experience is mind boggling. The problem is though, they’re not denying that experience, they’re just simply stating that it wasn’t a good time to focus on the humanity of their child.

We live in a culture of helicopter parenting. We have moms who dedicate their entire lives to raising children, in a way my own generation didn’t really see on a significant scale. We’re baby wearing moms, breastfeeding moms, moms who give up careers and time and energy to raise babies. We’re so desperate for children that we use any means necessary to conceive. Yet, we’re still OK with killing the unwanted babies. The ones that have no names and no significance because, “Right now, I just don’t want you.” We live in a world of contradiction. Children are given more rights and freedom (we don’t even spank anymore) now than they have been in modern America, yet there is still justification for exterminating the child that comes as an inconvenience.

To infiltrate the family in this way is the greatest danger of abortion.To convince parents that it is right and justifiable to create a level of convenience that every child must meet in order to be considered viable is a complete abomination of what family is supposed to be. Family is where we’re allowed to be inconvenient and annoying and kind of off base and a drag and also wonderful and unique and marvelous, but also time consuming and sacrificial. If even the infant within a family is not allowed to be inconvenient, then what about husbands and wives? What happens when our spouses meet the point of inconvenience? What about our five year old, what happens when his attitude is an inconvenience? Again, Mother Teresa says it best, “We must remember that life begins at home and we must also remember that the future of humanity passes through the family.”

What to Watch: HBO’s Show Me a Hero

Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy- F. Scott Fitzgerald

In an effort to save money and stop wasting time, Rafi and I recently opted for basic cable and internet. Along with our change, we were given a free year’s subscription to HBO on demand, which means that on Saturdays, when there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ON show me a hero1TV, we watch something on HBO. It was through this series of events that we happened upon a little known gem, HBO min-series, Show Me a Hero.

Show Me a Hero follows former mayor of Yonkers, NY, Nick Wasicsko as he battles through his political career and the desegregation of public housing in the late eighties and early nineties. Alongside Nick’s story, Show Me a Hero offers multiple perspectives of the public housing uproar from those who lived in public housing to those who opposed the infiltration of their communities by public housing. Further, the show offers an equally emotional and provocative perspective on local politics, the ins and outs of gaining votes during an emotional period in Yonkers, and the ability for federal law and outsiders to influence tight knit communities and politicians.

The intricacy of the public housing affair make for marvelous television in and of itself. Even void of the compelling character profiles, the politics behind desegregating public housing and the philosophy of Oscar Newman fills the screen with intense insights into human nature and the House of Cards-esque binding politics that are often charged with bringing idealistic philosophies in line with imperfect realities. In short, Oscar Newman’s defensible space theory postulates that lower income housing projects built as high rise apartments are more likely to be riddled with crime because residents have no personal ownership over their residential space. Thus, the housing being built in Show Me a Hero has two purposes, to desegregate Yonkers and move public, minority populated, housing to the wealthier, whiter, part of the city and to test out Newman’s principles by building town homes with their own plots as the public housing units.

show me a her

Of course, alongside this philosophical test comes the realities of building the housing: the protests, the backlash, the endless court appeals, and the demise of Nick Wasicsko’s political career. Though he originally ran against the public housing changes, Nick finds himself in an impossible position and becomes the fall man as the housing moves forward. He concedes to federal courts demanding their construction and essentially shoots himself in the foot in terms of re-election. Although his political career seems on the upswing after he receives an award from the Democratic party for his work in the public housing affair, he never quite regains his political footing in Yonkers and suffers to reclaim an identity outside of local politics.

For all of his struggles, Nick, played by Oscar Isaac (BTW who doesn’t love Oscar Isaac?), is the true hero and tragedy of this mini-series. His struggle is one of having too much hope in a world that requires distance and skepticism. Slowly, throughout the series, the viewer sees the hope and youth (Nick was elected as the youngest mayor ever in America) fade from Nick’s approach to politics and his community as he claws his way from political office to political office in an attempt to stay relevant. Nick’s tragic mistake is his inability to see that the world will never repay him with another term in office despite all of the admirable work he did; the world does not like heroes and the hero’s journey is muddled when played out in reality.

The series is a gem, truly. The mixing of characters, circumstances, and perspectives leads to a series that demonstrates how one’s politics does effect his/her character. The viewer gets a chance to see the life of those who need public housing, a young girl married to a criminal, a former drug addict turned advocate, a blind grandmother unable to work; and those who oppose it, politicians fighting for reelection, residents looking to preserve their community, those afraid of change. If you have a chance, watch the series (it’s only a whole six episodes) and experience the sad fall of Nick Wasicsko.

Book Review: The Martian

Name a movie with Matt Damon in it and chances are I love it. Is it his chiseled physique, boyish charm, or sense of humor? It might be a combination of all of the above, or it may be that he is actually a true angel from above given special privileges to grace the screen and remind every viewer that there is in fact a God and that he likes to give us the true and beautiful. I don’t know, maybe.

Either way, when I saw the trailer for the upcoming movie The Martian, I was immediately

The Martian, Andy Weir
The Martian, Andy Weir

interested in the themes and story line. I was a big fan of space movies in 2014 with Gravity and Interstellar because of the sublime nature of seeing movie stars lost in an infinity of blackness. Quickly I learned that The Martian was a novel and I set out to Target to buy and read.

The Martian, by Andy Weir, follows Mark Watney, a NASA botanist on a mission to Mars, as he realizes that he has been mistakenly left by his crew alone on the planet and then sets out to engineer his survival on the planet by, as he says, scienc-ing the sh*t out of it. Weir illustrates the trials of creating life on a planet devoid of it and establishing communication with NASA and the crew that left Watney behind. Watney basically hacks every machine left of Mars from his mission and previous missions to create water, grow potatoes, and travel the planet in the hopes of getting home. In order to avoid spoilers, I’ll stop there.

This book is a guy’s book if there ever was one. It’s written from multiple perspectives that are easily discernible and all equally interesting. Mark himself records his experience via NASA’s mission documentation systems; while we also read from the perspective of his crew mates, NASA employees, and those in charge of getting Watney home. Each voice, though different, is essentially masculine- I suspect this has something to do with the fact that Andy Weir is a man. Beyond just the voice of the characters, the methodical reiteration of the scientific processes Mark Watney uses to create water, burn of Hydrogen, convert energy, all make you feel like you could also survive on Mars and speak to the mad scientist in every guy out there.

Overall, the novel is a quick read and extremely interesting. I read it within a few weeks (which is a wonder with a six month old) because of the cliffhangers and just wanting to see what the heck happens to Mark Watney. Further, the book illustrates the intrinsic goodness of people who are willing to risk their lives for someone who’s a good friend and needs their help. If you haven’t read it, pick it up before October so that we can geek out over the movie together.

The Resurrection of the Blog and an Expose on having a Child with a Cold

I’ve taken a bit of an hiatus from blog writing for a few months for the following reasons: 1) I have a baby, 2) I have a job, 3) I was focusing on producing content for other ventures that worked out a little, but really didn’t…like…let me express myself artistically…like. Anyways, these are all bad excuses. I started this blog as a venture in expressing ideas and commenting on contradictions or new traditions that begin in our life. As such, the blog will be resurrected with this post and I will continue to write about things whether or not readers actually exist.

Now, An Expose on Having a Child with a Cold

In the news this week in our house, the Today show played in the background every morning, evening news came on every day, Donald Trump made his way on my newsfeed; but the news this week in our house was that we were sick. I took little Stella with me on a run this Tuesday and we ran about four miles, came home, and that evening I found myself with a slight case of bronchitis and a sinus infection. After getting steroids, an inhaler, and some other drug that I’m not really sure what it is for but I take anyways, I continued the rest of the week with one sick day taken and one baby slowly on her way to a cold.

And this weekend, Rafi and I experienced the true mecca of Parenthood and Adult life- caring for a sick child, a sick child in a sleep regression no less. Poor Stella can’t breathe out of her nostrils and has been struggling with some teething issues and all of this combined into the perfect storm to disrupt her sleep every two hours and leave us in a whirlwind of not remembering how to take care of a baby that doesn’t sleep through the night. PLUS, we ran out of toilet paper! The struggle got very real and our poor baby had to sleep in our bed in my arms for the past couple of nights; getting some sleep, but being the only one who really got any sleep. It’s a reality of caring for another human being that one day that human being will be ill and that as the responsible caretaker life will be a little inconvenienced, so we piss and moan but we drag on to continue to try to make our baby as comfortable as possible. Yet, what struck me about this period of sickness was the dichotomy of love that I experienced and felt where one desires and to be loved and needed while also being taken care of and nurtured.

We watched The Theory of Everything during this period of illness this weekend and Jane Hawking’s experience of marriage and love profoundly affected my own view of love and care in marriage and family. If you haven’t seen the movie, I won’t ruin it for you, but essentially Jane gives up her life and dreams to care for and nurture her husband’s love for physics and intellectual pursuits, even to the point of carrying him through the home and obliging his wishes to leave her. Jane’s experience in the movie straddles the line between being strong enough to care for her entire family and being fragile enough to need someone to love her and support her in return, something Stephen couldn’t give her and that she eventually finds in her second husband, Jonathan.

theory of everything

The Theory of Everything became the background to a Saturday of struggling with a sick baby, fighting over how to get her to bed, and settling for a few hours of sleep split between the couch and the bed. Throughout the struggle I was reminded of Jane’s and recognized her domestic sacrifice as one that expresses the everyday occurrences of parenthood. There is a point in the give and give of parenthood where sometimes we need. Often, we are forced to step outside of our families and search for gratitude or inspiration to keep going, but sometimes, in the silent of the night, we are given moments of strength where it all seems worth it.

And, to conclude, I will share that moment. After a couple of hours at one in the morning on Saturday of comforting a sick baby that simply couldn’t breathe and hold onto a pacifier at the same time, she finally fell asleep in my arms in between me and Rafi on our bed. Luckily, we invested in a king size bed recently, so we weren’t really inconvenienced by this save for my arm that went slightly numb throughout the night because of Stella’s heavy head. We laid there and we looked at each other and we silently celebrated the victory of having our sick baby get to bed and then there was silence. There was the silence of the ceiling fan and our baby’s labored breath and could see her shadowy face and her chest rise and drop and I received the moment of grace that I needed that night. I saw a human being that completely needed me to be strong and gentle and kind and I felt inside that I was capable of being all of those things, and even if I wasn’t we would all be OK sleeping in the same bed together and getting whatever sleep we could. And then, I was reminded that love wasn’t a perfect art form, but it was a practice that grows with each difficulty and sick period and that’s a little messy and includes some sleepless nights, but may very well be worth it. And, I felt needed and wanted by my baby, but also nurtured and loved by my husband who by now had rolled over to his side and was snoring, and I experienced the existence of such a profound dichotomy, but also the ability for the dichotomy to be breached and reconciled within the realms of family. Then we woke up and went back to nurturing our sweet girl and eating like a pound of bacon and some french puffs, but that’s a story for another time.

Why I Can be a Feminist and Still Want My Husband to Lead Our Family

Father’s Day is over and done with and it was especially significant for us this year. This year, Rafi was a daddy and our little girl got to climb all over him while I made him homemade cinnamon rolls and bacon for breakfast. We have a whole pan of cinnamon rolls in the freezer just waiting for us to defrost and devour. Oh, it was a great day.

Can I just say that Rafi is a great dad? He changes diapers, bottle feeds Stella, wakes up in the middle of the night, burps her (even in his nice suits), crawls on the ground with her for tummy time, rocks her to sleep, checks her thermometer (can someone please invent a new way to check babies’ temperatures???), and does it all with a humble smile and not an heir of frustration. Some might say, “Oh, poor raf, here he is another victim of feminine power being forced to do tasks and work that Stella’s mother should be doing.” Well, I’m here to declare it once and for all Rafi is our family’s true earthly leader, and I’m completely fine with that.

You may be saying to yourself, “Mercedez? Fine with a man leading her home? The same Mercedez that shows defiance in the face of social constructs regarding femininity and refuses to let go of yoga pants and bikinis? The same Mercedez that used to often laugh in the face of men (especially big bulky men) when she would beat them in long distance runs or outsmart them?” Yes. That Mercedez is here to tell you that I want a man leading my family and this is why.

1. Having a man, specifically my man leading my family allows me to be the woman I want to be.

Married women of the internet world, have you ever said to yourself, “You know, I’d really love to nag my husband today about doing something that I know he doesn’t want to do like cleaning or playing with the kids or turning off the TV and reading a book? There is nothing in the world that would make me happier than making his life miserable today and being the stereotypical nagging wife. Ahhhh.” If you answered yes to this question, you most definitely don’t have being happily married on the top of your priority list. If you answered ‘no,’ then I agree with you, which means you must be pretty smart. I’ve never had as my personal goal to make my husband’s life miserable and I’d rather not start making that my goal. But, why do women nag? Typically it’s because husband A does not take the lead and do task A. When this happens, we women, who typically are known for trying to change masculine behavior on a regular, use every means possible to change his mind. We nag, we cry, we whine, we yell, we discuss, we yada yada yada. Long story short, if my husband is not the leader, if he does not take the lead on what’s important in life, then I become the stereotypical housewife that I never wanted to be. This, however, is not to say that my nagging is entirely my husband’s fault either. I’ve found that if my husband doesn’t see the importance of certain tasks or what have you, then I should support and help him see how leading our family in a certain direction is the right thing to do. This in no way takes away from me being a strong woman. Rather, I’m liberated from the guilt and displeasure of forcing my husband to do something that he sees as menial; I am free to follow his lead and see his strengths and where I can support them or let him take the full brunt of the task. I am not the person I never wanted to be.

2. I’m a little neurotic and wouldn’t really be able to handle the emotional turmoil of leading our family

Let’s face it, as women, we’re emotional. It only gets worse as we have kids. Personally, I’ve always thought of myself as emotionally challenged, meaning that I am not as emotional as I see other women being. I am a pro at not crying when someone at work yells at me or hurts my feelings (until I get home, of course) and I try to let my rationality overcome my lesser desires in most situations. However, I am still irrationally erratic at times. I get so frustrated I cry, I yell at the dog when no one else is around, I give attitude to people at the DMV, and I take it very personally if they give me attitude back. Look, just because I’m a feminist (wanting social equality for women and you know, being against things like gendercide and sexual harrasment) doesn’t mean I don’t recognize that men and women are very different (no gender theory here for you conservative naysayers). We are. It’s the darndest thing, too, when you’re married. I’m sitting on the couch crying about some stupid mistake I made at work and my husband acknowledges the issue and tells me to move forward. At first, I’m like, “How could you not validate my feelings and I’m like living in a glass case of emotion?!” and then fifteen minutes later I’m like, “Let’s make cookies.” Let’s face it, ladies. In marriage, we need men to keep us from pulling the trigger when there’s not even anything to shoot at. I want my husband to take the lead on the big issues because I don’t want to just roll up into a ball and cry every time someone hurts my feelings or things fall apart (Chinua Achebe had some strong masculine characters, too. But that’s besides the point). I want him to help me see the significance and insignificance of everyday occurrences and I need his masculine input when my feminine genius is on overdrive for balance and stability.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I want my man to lead our family because

3. I married him to make him the best man he could be and I see that man come out every time he takes the lead

When I married my husband, I knew very few things about marriage. I knew it was difficult and I knew that it could either make us miserable for the rest of our lives or make us the happiest people in the world. When I thought of how we would be happy in marriage, I thought that it would be by becoming the people we were always meant to be, the people God wanted us to be, and being the very best at being those people. When Raf leads our family, when he sees the value in something, prayerfully discerns it, takes me and Stella into consideration, and moves forward confidently, he is the best person he could be and he is happy. And that’s what I married him for. I’m not saying every male personality will express its strength in this way and I’m not saying that in order for a man to be a happy man he needs to dominate his wife and children while we wives sit there and nod in accordance to every dumb thing our husband’s say, because we all know sometimes wives need to be the voice of reason, too. What I’m saying is that I want my husband to be satisfied with the direction his family is going. I want him to have a say and I want him to move us towards God’s plan for our lives. When I married Rafi I trusted he would do this and I still do. My insecurities, my low self esteem, my inability to let go of things that aren’t perfectly planned out all come to a conclusion in my husband’s ability to see past all of these things and search for our ultimate happiness behind all of it.

Now, as a feminist, of course I think that women have the same ability and education and worth to lead their husbands to happiness. But, being strong for another person is hard. It’s not only hard, it’s draining. And, what I’m finding out about marriage is that we have to learn to support each other at different times throughout our lives. But, I will say, and this goes against every feminist thing that’s been put into my brain by mass media (sarcasm), I’ve learned how to support my husband from him. I’ve learned what it means to be strong by watching him be strong. I’ve learned patience and kindness and selflessness and work-ethic from him. If ever I take the lead in things, I try to emulate his attitude and discretion. And maybe, just maybe, if we all *men and women alike* learned to look at our spouses in the most honest way possible, seeing where they hold us up and where we hold them up, where we fail them daily and where we need them to just be at the helm of things, our marriages would transcend the normal ‘feminine tasks’ and ‘masculine tasks’ that culture puts out for us and we’d just be able to look at each other and say, “I love you and I need you.”