…those of us who are never satisfied with our accomplishments secretly believe nobody will love us unless we’re perfect.
-Donald Miller Scary Close
The ability to provide for those we love is a sensitive thing for men. We often draw a lot of our worth from the lives we can give those we love. When what we provide is put in jeopardy by the loss of a job, or home, or other difficult situation, we tend to immediately carry a burden larger than normal.
The home my wife and I have been renting for the last 10+ years is being sold. All but the first 6 months of our marriage has been in this house. Our two oldest took their first steps in our living room, and our baby is currently crawling all over it.
The gravity of losing the place we’ve built our family is great, but it’s compounded with the significant rent increase that’s headed our way. We’ve been blessed to pay below market price to live here. Looking at our options has brought the reality that we may have to go from a 1600sqft 3-bedroom house with a fenced backyard and two-car garage, to a 900sqft 2-bedroom apartment.
As the main provider I have felt an enormous amount of insecurity and inadequacy the last several months that we’ve sat with this news. My ego and sense of self has steadily dwindled. Much of it is what I’d assume are natural feelings in the midst of the situation. But a another part of it was based on comments Lisa made as we’ve discussed what we’re going to do.
Wives probably don’t realize men can be in a fragile state because, well, we usually hide our feelings. They may not even know their comments come loaded with extra ego-punching potency. I don’t think Lisa realized I had her words around my neck weighing me down.
Rather than talk to her about it I took offense and let it simmer, and let it make me feel crappier about myself. I thought about all the ways I wasn’t providing enough and how it’s now going to get worse. My mind would wonder into thinking I’m a loser raising children who are currently awesome but are going to be losers because their dad is a loser.
A recent conversation with a friend reminded me of one of my big values in marriage: vulnerability.