I need to air some dirty laundry…
It’s about marriage.
My favorite pair of pants taught me something tonight.
Mostly…that I can be really selfish, needy & blind.
They also taught me that my wife is selfless, sacrificial and sees everything from every angle possible.
I wanted my “favorite comfy pants” in the worst way tonight. You know the ones…that when you put them on all is right with the world. You don’t have to unbutton a button or loosen a belt to feel better about anything…you simply exist in sheer happiness as you sit on your…well, butt.
I realized they were sitting in the dryer ready to be folded, so I did what any normal husband/father would do. I set the cycle to warm them up…and then I was gonna yank em’ out and put them on. And yes, I was gonna leave the rest of the clothes in the dryer.
Hence my aforementioned comment on my ability to be selfish.
But I didn’t. I folded the load too.
And that’s when it hit me…
My wife will do laundry to take care of everyone else but her, and I reach in and take out one pair of pants to take care of only myself.
My wife will do something for everyone, expecting nothing…
and I will do something for myself, expecting everything.
Moms get it. On every level. I am sure there are some dads out there that are the same way. I wish I were one of them. I really do. But for the most part, my “long days” have some mental magical ability to erase the long days my wife or children have had too. It’s like mine have some super power to be harder, longer and more exhausting than theirs ever could be.
Dads miss it. On most levels. We think we’ve done our job. Literally. And as a result we can have really unhealthy expectations of what we think should come next, will come next…and often times aren’t bashful about sharing our stupidity like it’s verbal gold nugget wisdom. (when in reality it looks a lot like those flaming bags of dog poop people mention from time to time)
So tonight when I was folding that one load of laundry like I had just cured a disease, ran a marathon or won a nobel peace prize…I paused…and realized I almost missed a huge opportunity.
Being a husband and a father is hard.
Let me re-phrase that.
Being a husband and a father is a tremendous blessing and honor. My selfishness when I focus on what I want instead of what my family needs? That makes it hard. My unreasonable expectations of my wife and kids to drop everything to put my needs above all else? That makes it hard. And my inability to see the blessing in the obvious and remain blind to the burden I bring when I do? That makes it hard.
The good news gentlemen, is that the “hard” can become pliable in a moment.
It’s when we see every moment as an opportunity to serve.
And it’s serving others because we can, not because we have to.
When my wife does the laundry, she isn’t doing it because she loves it…but because she loves us.
When I do the laundry, I’m not doing it because I love it…but because I need something.
And there’s the lesson. At least for me.
It’s because she loves us that she freely gives of herself for us.
It’s because I need something that I selfishly demand something I have no right to.
That first part sounds a lot like another example of love I wish I modeled better on a regular basis.
I’m trying. I’m improving. I’m a work very much in progress.
That example is Jesus. And that is the example I strive to live like.
My wife gets it.
She may not even realize it, but she is teaching me how to. And she is patient as I learn.
And let me share something that will help men everywhere get out of our own way on this…
Airing dirty laundry is the only way the stink of it all goes away.
We need to say out loud what we struggle with quietly inside.
Because I’m not alone. You aren’t alone.
I will hang mine on the line of transparency if it helps more of us men live selflessly. I know I need to.
I have a wife and three kids that deserve nothing less, and everything more.
And ya know what?
Somehow…I can’t quite explain how…but my pants feel more comfortable as a result.
I guess that is what happens when I put on my big boy pants and man up.
It’s being comfortable in my own skin, because I’m not in it for a selfish win.
I don’t have a clever ending tonight to my post. Just these thoughts on something that showed up in an every day task…reminding me I need to be a selfless, sacrificial and serving others kind of husband/father.
That’s the every day man I want to be, need to be, and will work at trying to be.
That’s the kind of laundry that looks like this picture.
Clean. Neat. Folded.
No, I won’t always get it right.
And when I don’t I will air it out, get it clean, and fold it when it’s done.
One load at a time.
One day at a time.
Airing it all out, so that my wife and kids know I am all in.