Husband shares how he used to think of himself as the 'main character' of his marriage
"I had to unlearn it because it never was okay."
There is certainly no shortage of stories from women highlighting the glaring disparity between society’s expected responsibilities of husbands vs. wives. Some are a bit more lighthearted, poking fun at the absurdity. Others reflect utter frustration and had-it-up-to-here-edness with partners not doing their share of the work.
However, self-proclaimed “Clueless Husband” J Fisher’s honest, thoughtful retrospection on the subject shows that it’s not just female partners noticing that things need to change.
In a now-viral TikTok video, Fisher describes how he used to consider himself the “main character” of his relationship.
What exactly did that look like? Early on in his marriage, it looked something like this:
@jfisher62 What NOT to do as a husband #fyp #husbandsoftiktok #wivesoftiktok #fairplay #parenting #feminism #dismantlethepatriarchy #relationship #marriage #support #partnering ♬ original sound - J Fisher
Fisher later shared how his wife would then get everything ready for said trip, while he would simply pack for himself. This continued even after they had kids. It became worse, actually.
“My partner would do all the work to get all of them ready to make sure they were bathed, snacks packed, and I would get myself ready.”
Looking back, Fisher can plainly see how this behavior was “not okay.” But how did he think this was acceptable in the first place? After some reflection, he realized that it was simply the standard being modeled to him from an early age.
“I saw my own father do this quite a bit where he would take care of his own needs. So, I know I didn't learn it from nowhere," he said. "But I also had to unlearn it because it never was okay. I thought that my role was to do all these things outside of the home and that the home was women's domain. I saw that modeled and even taught as the way it should be, but, oh my gosh, is that not partnership? And that sucks.”
After coming to this revelation, Fisher’s opinion is that if you approve of this division of labor, that you “shouldn’t be in a relationship.”
Hard to argue with that.
Hoping that he can further illustrate a better partnering mindset in a way that “may help it click for some guys,” Fisher has all kinds of insightful TikToks focused on taking accountability and expanding emotional intelligence. In them, he often names therapy, setting boundaries, finding community and accessing personal joy (rather than relying on a partner to fulfill all emotional needs) as major tools for creating a more equal relationship.
@jfisher62 Good intention ≠ Truly loving 💔😔 “I’m Sorry” doesn’t begin to do it justice. #fyp #foryoupage #marriage #longtermrelationship #partner #husbandsoftiktok #wivesoftiktok #accountability #healingjourney #grief#stagesofgrief #dabda #acceptance ♬ original sound - J Fisher
And perhaps the best part—there doesn’t seem to be so much shame around the subject. Fisher acknowledges his own goodwill while still admitting to displaying less-than-healthy behavior. It’s hard not to feel like if maybe this kind of honest, yet compassionate reexamination of gender stereotypes were more commonplace, we’d all collectively be a lot farther ahead.
This article originally appeared on 5.4.23
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