Being a husband has certain implied responsibilities, so man up! If you are new to marriage or facing it in the future, here are a few that you should be prepared to do.
Anything your wife asks
To begin, let’s be clear about something. If you would like to have a happy home, you need to be prepared to do whatever your wife asks you to do, from changing diapers to changing tires. Remember, being your wife is no cakewalk either. Doing what you’re “asked” to do will make life infinitely easier.
In general, if something needs killing, that’s going to be your job. If there is a spider, a rat, a mole, or a grizzly bear where it shouldn’t be, it’s your job to put it out of her (your wife’s) misery.
Your wife will likely want to take responsibility for the flower gardens and the vegetable garden — if there is such a thing at your home — but the lawn is traditionally the man’s responsibility. Because it’s boring. Really boring. Whether you walk around in circles, back and forth or in an elaborate crisscross pattern to create a crosshatch pattern on the lawn it’s still boring and it’s your job.
Traditionally, cooking has been the primary domain of the fairer sex — though that is changing rapidly — but when the cooking is being done on a grill, it’s testosterone time. If fire is involved, it is the men who have that innate connection to our ancestors who did all of their cooking over flames and therefore get the assignment to do the grilling.
Men are, on average, bigger, faster and stronger. That’s why women keep us around, so that when something needs to be lifted, especially if its origin or destination is more than six feet above the floor, that’s a man’s job.
Dads just want to play and have fun with the kids. The goal is to get them all riled up right before bed so they can’t sleep. Moms seem to think that Dad’s job is to be the bad cop, to discipline the kids so that they behave for her. The good news is that this job no longer involves beating the children as was the custom a few generations ago. The problem is, of course, that if we’re not going to beat them it isn’t clear what we’re going to do that Moms can’t!
Fixing the car
Of course, no one without a college degree in auto mechanics can do much to maintain a car at home anymore (not that I could change the oil in my 1971 Honda 600). As a result, this just means that guys take the car to the shop where we pretend to understand what’s going on, with knowing nods intended to suggest that if we had just a little more time we’d be replacing the u-joints all by ourselves.
Women, it is important that you understand that we hate this job. Right guys? (Wink, wink.) We’d rather take the kids to the dentist and have a root canal than to go buy a new car, but, as a favor to you, we’ll make the sacrifice and spend several hours each week reading automotive magazines, and periodically visit car dealers to test drive the latest models, and dutifully walk the floor of the annual car show to inspect every single model (car model, that is) available — and some that aren’t — just so that we are ready when called upon to go buy a new car. In fact, we’re ready right now if you’d like us to run out and get you one.
It is the great weekend tradition of all fathers to coach the little league teams for their kids. Recently there has been some encroachment from mothers (who often outdo the fathers) but most kids still think it’s Dad’s job to teach them how to hold a bat, throw a pass or kick a goal.
Men seem to believe that they are genetically superior to women in only one area: driving. Many women won’t even drive a car with their husbands in it. You’ve seen the spouse shuffle at the airport or the bus stop. Wife pulls up, hops out and hops into the passenger seat while the husband hops in to take over this duty he was born to perform. Never mind that statistics show that women are better drivers than men.
Whatever you do, don't take any of this too seriously. The real key for finding your role in a new marriage is to talk about it. Spousal roles are evolving so work together to define yours.
Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.