Rebecca and I just got back from paying to sit on a couch for an hour. That’s right, we go to therapy (a councillor, a coach, whatever term you like). In fact we have and continue to work with many different people and groups. We aren’t ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it because we both believe strongly that having someone (highly trained) to help keep our relationship strong is one of the best kept secrets to a successful relationship. It’s like anything in life, if you want to be great at something you need to learn and grow and stay focused on it.
“Love” isn’t enough, its a great start, but definitely isn’t enough. It’s like going to the gym, take a break, and before you know it, you’ve gotten out of shape and getting it back is tougher than staying in the ‘good’ place all along. If you haven’t tried it as a couple, I strongly recommend it. I grew up in a household that believed in committed personal development and it is the kind of modeling that we are happy to pass on to our own kids. The joke was that the money my parents made at work was just being saved for their kids own future therapy sessions 🙂
So, why write this now? What I was inspired to talk about was this idea that one persons ‘job’ has more or less value than another in a relationship. I want to make a loud and public shout out to my wife Rebecca. I was reminded again today that the ‘work’ she does and who she is for me and our kids is sometimes tough to see (especially for Rebecca).
Rebecca doesn’t love to cook or clean or many of those traditional descriptions that come along with being a mom. Sometimes she thinks if those elements aren’t perfect then she has somehow failed. What she misses is the greater gift that she brings to the table which is WAY more important and valuable in my book. In fact it’s why I married her, I just didn’t know it at the time. The idea of equity is dangerous territory and can be a trap we fall into. How do you compare two totally different contributions from two totally different people in a relationship?Let me take a step back to before Ashlyn was born. We decided that we wanted to be with our kids, especially when they were babies. That meant for us, Rebecca was the primary care giver. It also meant that she gave something up to make that happen. That sacrifice was the piece of her that she shares with the world through creative and performing arts. At the same time, she was a pillar of support for me as my career took the spotlight. She continues to handle it all with grace and generosity, but, at the same time, I can see something is missing for her.
What isn’t missing, is the foundation she has created for our kids. I said today, when we look back in 20 years, the value of the time she spent with our kids will be the best decision we ever made. It’s tough in today’s society where being ‘busy’ and ‘multi-tasking’ is what gets the glory and respect. It’s hard to remember when people ask “what do you do?” to answer that question with a confidence that the choice you made was important to you. Add to that, the fact that I do jobs that people recognize but Rebecca’s work raising two very cool kids (equally, if not more, valuable) isn’t always noticeable. Every family has a different system and style and there is no wrong or right way of doing it. What saddens me is the fact that what Rebecca brings to making our family work isn’t always recognized by her. Hey, Rebecca, I’m here to say that the intuitive, creative, loving, committed, and fun work you are doing is worth every bit of the dedication and sacrifice you have made. We are a team and I couldn’t come close to delivering those elements the way you do. I’ve learned I do other things really well including acknowledging you for who you are. To all the extremely hard working moms out there, however you take on the role, my hats off to you.