Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Questioning Manhood

I cater to my wife. I defer to her judgment, her recommendations, her desires, even her whims, on a daily basis. Most husbands don’t act like this, but my contention is that they did, once upon a time. When they were a-courting.

And turning marriage back into passionate courtship is what I both preach and practice.

But… you may ask… is it manly? Or is it wimpish? I ask myself those galling questions more often than you might think. Because I know how I can appear to others. And I have overheard occasional comments from friends or family, male and female, who view me through the optics of traditional masculinity, as less than manly.

Perhaps like the foppish young man in Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Story of the Bandbox” (from New Arabian Nights), quoted in the very first post of this blog two years ago:

“He took a pride in servility to a beautiful woman; received Lady Vandeleur's commands as so many marks of favour; and was pleased to exhibit himself before other men in his character of male lady's-maid and man milliner.”

I wouldn’t be surprised if, occasionally and safely out of earshot, I am described as tied to my wife’s apron strings. Or wrapped around her finger. As spineless, or henpecked. And, to be sure, as pussywhipped.

All true, in a sense. But, arguably, it takes a real man to put up with those kinds of putdowns. Which reminds me of the consoling words of a favorite wife-worshipping mentor, Au876 (from Lady Misato’s original husbands’ forum):

“I think it takes a real man to properly serve and worship his wife. As husbands it is our challenge to be the real man our wife wants. No matter what it is she wants, we should devote ourselves to her and strive to serve her in every way possible.”

Now that I’m pumping myself up, let me venture a bit further. I contend that catering to one’s wife actually builds character. Let me cite, in solidarity, this articulate husband:

“I look at the process of wife worship as part of my growth process as a person. I see the wife worship process as one means to look at my ego, to think before speaking. For instance, I try not to contradict my wife in public or private anymore. So part of the process for me is letting go of certain ego attachments — a big one being the ridiculous need to always be right, even at her expense. Does anyone else out there find himself looking at wife worship as a means of spiritual or personal growth?”

Well, yes, I certainly do. Some of my deferential behavior may be natural inclination. I admit to certain inborn tendencies like Harry in RLS’ story. But much of my daily deference involves struggle. I, too, confess to a tendency to interrupt my wife, a compulsion to always be right. My resolve to worship and follow my wife’s lead in all things supplies a unity of purpose to my daily life, even moment by moment, helping me to resist these compulsions and modify my natural behavior in her favor.

Finally, under this heading, I will quote myself, from a posting on May 16 of last year, “Wife-Worshippers as Monks or Fakirs?”:

“I believe there are some obvious parallels between the man pursuing a deeply wife-led marriage and a person who dedicates himself to a certain spiritual discipline or way of life. In both instances, there may be a daily sacrifice of certain creature comforts and personal prerogatives in favor of a simplified existence focused on service and devotion.

“Whether or not vows are sworn, in either case the individual attempts to set aside his own wants and wishes and to submit his will to that of another. And whether the backdrop be sacred or profane, there can be considerable struggle in this setting aside of one’s natural inclination.

“The devotee, in either instance, may be required to sacrifice favorite and even cherished things—hobbies and pastimes, appetites and desires, even traditional rights, as well as bad habits and vices—to keep his pledge and further his quest.”

Maybe I should make a list of some of the stuff I forgo or give up on a daily basis, and happily so, to be more perfectly and ardently hers.


whatevershesays said...

I understand the question but I've long ago stopped worrying about if others thought I was manly. I guess it doesn't hurt to be 6' 2", 200. And compared to most of my wife's friends husbands, I can actually handle a power drill.

But all of the above is window dressing, fluff, bull shit. What really matters is if our wife led marriage makes my wife happy and our marriage better. Does it work for us.

For all the guys and women too that think a wife led marriage isn't "normal" I'll guess yours (marriage) probably isn't perfect. With divorce rate of 50+% don't knock a wife led marriage untill you try it!!!!

Mark Remond said...

Agreed on all counts, whatevershesays. I'm fairly confident and comfortable in my guy-ness, and equally comfortable with being led by my wife... but I do find myself self-tasked with resolving these disparate selfhoods to my, and my wife's satisfaction.

helpmate hubby said...

Well said Marh, your blof continues to set the standard.

Mark Remond said...

Thanks so much for that, helpmate hubby. It means a lot from a blogging colleague who shares this wonderful journey. To quote another of my mentors, fdhousehusband, "We are all in this together."

jboy said...

This post was, like your others, a well written, well reasoned essay on the finer points of the WLM lifestyle, which gives new ways to view it. There is great beauty in expressing overwhelming love and adoration for a Woman, in deferring, catering and bowing to her. Your servility will hopefully induce the expectation servility from you as her due by right. This is a superb accomplishment for any wife worshipper. Will it lead to emasculation? I would say yes but that is the necessary price for achieving true marital bliss. It is a sacrifice that a hubby should be proud to make. You have introduced new and interesting ways to approach WLMs and have done us all a great service. Thank you!! Your idea of wife worship as character building and as a way for a husband to build himself by letting her mold him into a worthy helpmate is inspiring.

Mark Remond said...

jboy, thank you for the encouraging words. I know that I am walking a fine line, that too much overt servility on my part will bring a sharp rebuke from my wife, as it has of yore, and not the kind of rebuke that I seek. I am being careful in that regard, but certainly aware that I have already let go of so many traditional masculine perks and prerogatives, and taken on so many behaviors that most guys would consider wimpish. For instance, I always surrender the remote if she comes into our bedroom and I'm watching sports (one of my last male refuges). Even the Australian Open these nights, something I would never have given up in years past. A real test will be the semifinals or finals! Anyway, thanks for the support, jboy! It means a lot to know that I have allies like you!