“Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all. For we are connected, one and all.” – Deborah Day
I’m not sure where to begin, I just know begin I must, so here goes. This post is not for you, but for your partner. For your hard working, amazing husband who loves you, but doesn’t know how to support you, not in the way you really need. He provides and he protects and he does his best, and yet, in so many ways he is failing you. He is failing to see you, really see you. And you’ve been invisible long enough. Here is what so many of you have told me you wish your husbands knew, what even more have said without words but with your tears. This won’t resonate for every woman, this is not every partner, but I know so many of you need to know that you are not alone. It’s time we changed the conversation. It’s time we ask for what we deserve. Ask your partner to be your partner in your journey. Share this with him. Share with a friend who might need it. But most of all, know that you are not alone and you deserve to be seen, heard, and supported, no matter what.
I know you love your wife. I know you work hard for your family. I know your intentions are in the right place and I also know you are doing your best. But you are failing her. You are failing to see her and treat her as the powerful, capable, wise, incredible woman she is. You are holding her back and she is getting tired, tired of being invisible, tired of feeling less than, tired of asking permission, and tired of being in your shadow. She is not a little girl anymore, she is your partner, your equal, and it is time you saw her as the Queen she is.
It’s not your job to protect her from failure, from hurt, from mistakes, and from life. It’s not your job to “know best,” squash her ideas, discourage her, say no, or treat her like a child. She doesn’t need a father, she needs an equal partner. A man who loves her enough to let her fail down a hundred times and be there to pick her back up one hundred and one. A man who knows he could never know what’s best for her, because only she can know what’s best for herself. A man who honors, respects, and reveres the strong, capable, incredible woman within, even if she’s still learning how to show up that way.
She needs you to believe in her above all else.
She needs you to know that she’s been doubting herself for as long as she can remember. She’s spent a lifetime feeling unworthy. She’s spent a lifetime criticizing and comparing, telling herself she’s not smart enough, tough enough, ambitious enough, thin enough, or pretty enough. And every time you say no to her big goals and dreams, you tell her that too.
Every time you “protect” her, discourage her, discredit her or dismiss her desires, you’re telling her you doubt her too.
Every time you “know better” than her, you tell her she can’t be trusted.
What she needs is a man who looks at her, no matter what and says “I trust you”
I trust you if you succeed.
I trust you if you fail.
I trust you to make decisions for your own life.
I am here cheering you on, no matter what happens, because your belief in yourself and the relationship we have is far more valuable than any result, than any after you might achieve.
You don’t protect her by shielding her from failure, by keeping her out of the fire. You protect her by showing her that she’s fireproof. That she can do anything, survive anything, try anything, and no matter what, she’ll be okay, better even.
You don’t protect her by ignoring her, silencing her, and shielding her from the world. You protect her by preparing her for it.
She would rather disappoint herself than you. She would rather deny her desires than let you down. But she has let herself down long enough. She has sacrificed, she has suffered, she has struggled and committed her life to serving her family and has lost herself in the process.
She knows it, she feels it, she’s craving so much more, not because you aren’t enough, but because she’s living half a life. Because she doesn’t know how to honor herself and her family. She is constantly torn, constantly split between the mom and wife she feels she must be and the woman she wants to become. The world has told her she must choose and the choice is killing her. Don’t make her choose. Show her she can have both. In fact, remind her that the more she takes care of herself and honors her dreams, the more she’ll have to give to her people. Let her soar. Let her grow. Let her fail. Let her live.
If you think the only way to keep her is to cage her, maybe it’s time to take a long hard look in the mirror. Maybe it’s time to ask where you have work to do and why you feel entitled to a supportive, doting partner, if you are unwilling to be the same?
Your support, your trust, your belief in her, it will always come back to you tenfold, regardless of the financial gain or loss, regardless of the changes or transitions it might require. Because a man who can show a woman what she cannot see in herself, a man who loves his woman enough to let her be all of who she is, a man who isn’t afraid of being in the shadow of his wife’s light, is precious and rare.
Will you be that man for the woman you love?
How can you help her achieve beyond her wildest dreams?
And where can you show her your love instead of just talking about it?