It’s hard to tell people that the person they consider a great husband just by virtue of him bringing the bacon, so to speak, is actually just being a provider. It’s hard for many reasons but the most important reason may be that they’ve grown up with a skewed idea of a family structure and the roles of various people in the family. Recently I came across a post on a women’s forum about how good providers can’t necessarily be pegged as good husbands unless they are also good husbands . I agreed with the poster, by the way, but I wish she hadn’t posted it. Not only many women didn’t get it, they endorsed my feeling that the Pakistani woman is still in trouble. That the Pakistani woman still believes in the God-like position of a husband in their lives. I was certainly upset at the allegory that their own life is of a financially and morally corrupt system.
However I’m thankful for that post for one solid reason. It made me realize that if women were shown a husband they might be able to better pick out the differences between a husband and a provider more astutely and may even demand for a provider to convert into a husband someday .
Let’s take a few examples.
1. A nice and financially good provider who doesn’t work like a husband is like a sperm donor. He helps her get pregnant. Then when she’s pregnant, he arranges for a house help in addition to whatever she has already. He feels content in his benevolence. She feels loved and cared for. Until…… the house help takes a day off. And all hell breaks lose. He doesn’t care if she’s on the last leg of this pregnancy. He focuses on his comfort because if truth be told, he hired the house help for his own comfort. It wasn’t a big deal because he could afford it. But he can’t afford to help his wife around in household chores in her last trimester. He needs to sleep and eat and visit his friends. As a result, her biggest support in this pregnancy is actually the help she hired, not the man who calls himself her husband.
What does a husband do? He hires help if he can but tells the help to keep him updated if wife isn’t feeling well. He is quite literally just a phone call away. He doesn’t rely on the help to feed his existing children their meals. He can do that. The help knows that she has an oversight. The husband knows that in his wife’s delicate condition she shouldn’t be expected to watch over her older kids and the operations of the home. He single parents through most of her pregnancy. He knows that this unilateral division of labor isn’t permanent and he can swallow his boss’s displeasure over being late or getting out of the office early for a little bit. His concern really is his wife.
2. The better the financial worth of the provider, the higher his demands of getting the trophy wife that the town envies. He shamelessly asks for the best girl, the best credentials that could be attached to a girl. In short, when it comes to who is going to be his social arm candy, it can’t be just anybody. It has to be the girl who went to a prestigious school with great grades with a cum laude situation at the end of it.
And not just that! Just because he himself finds his worth in how much he makes he feels that he should get the best “package” out there. The best body, the best face and definitely the perfect social background. He can’t marry a dud. He can’t marry a girl who is just a great person. He has to have all the superficial check boxes checked.
But a man who’s looking to be a husband isn’t really focusing on where she went to school or how much her dad makes or how amazingly she dresses up for parties. He’s looking for a partner to spar with intellectually. He doesn’t want a meek, submissive and defeated model of a wife. He wants a woman who can challenge his sureness of himself. He wants someone who can brighten his day with her smile. He wants to feel attracted. He wants to be with an equal.
3. Providers who can’t become husbands along the way usually also can’t become fathers along the way either . They delegate schooling, social skills, decisions about their child’s future to their wife and teachers. They can’t be bothered by it. This isn’t something that they can do. And how can they? You can’t just snap into the role of a father after being an aloof provider your whole life.
Providers who become husbands and later become fathers as a natural process of evolution are the men we write home about. They make sure they hone their child’s ideas into ideologies, their fears into successes and their failures into lessons. They don’t have a disconnected and unstable relationship with their kids. They love their kids but more than that, they own their kids. Because they own the kids, they own their mothers. It really starts from the top.
Being a provider is a great quality and something that women look for in a mate. Is it ethical to weigh a man on the basis of his paycheck? No. But unfortunately in a society where women are raised by one bad example after another, sometimes money becomes the only reliable yardstick. But why should a man stop there? He should continue to step up, continue to empower his wife, continue to find ways to make his wife a role model for their kids.
And women! Don’t shortchange yourself for what you think you need in life. Money is great. Having a husband who takes one for the team every now and then is great. Living a comfortable life is great. But…… knowing that you’re with a partner is the greatest feeling of all.