Written by BlessedOne
Oh if only she was more like me. My heavens, what a joy life would be if my wife had more of the same likes and dislikes, if we shared the same opinions. Wouldn’t our time together be especially pleasurable if we both really enjoyed golf or hunting and throwing down a pint or two afterwards at Mc’Finnies Pub? In some areas, she just takes such a different approach.
I like the lights off in the rooms we’re not using. Is this so much to ask? Why, please tell me, why does my wife insist half or more of the rooms in the house be lit while she’s reading in the livingroom corner chair. Sometimes I think she’s getting a secret kickback from the local power company.
I can drive by a yard sale without slowing down or, God forbid, stopping at yet another one. When I go to the mall for a shirt, I go to the mall for a shirt! I find it, buy it and leave. While shopping with my wife, I know I can write off hours, many hours. There need to be more comfortable chairs outside women’s changing rooms.
As opposed to my wife, I will never ask a question I don’t want answered. I’ve never been bothered by a little cussing in movies. I just know four wheel drive is a vital feature in my SUV (yes dear, even if I never use it). And yes, sometimes the default position of the toilet seat is “up” simply by virtue of the fact that our sons and I comprise a majority in our home. How she can’t appreciate such things, well I just don’t know.
I have some well founded opinions about the necessity of a strong national defense, the fight against terrorism, our increasing taxes, the level of aggressiveness one should employ when standing to salute our flag, and I’ve never been coy about having respect for our commander-in-chief. She is concerned about global warming, is bothered that our social safety net for the less fortunate is getting weaker, bothered that the lines between church and state have been “dangerously blurred” by some in our government. Some days I think if our diverse political opinions were to be graphed on a two color chart, she’d be blue and I’d be red.
Oh if only my wife could be more like me, if only we took similar stances regarding so many issues, life would be…. life would be….
Life would be boring as hell!
I can’t imagine life without the grace my wife’s outlook continuously provides. For nearly three decades, she has completed me. I’ve become a dependent cuss. I reply on her outlook, her intuition, her judgment, her advise, her love. I reap such comfort from just sharing the same airspace with her. She knows me better than anyone. She knows what kind of a slob I can be, how I view that floor space just in front of the hamper as an acceptable spot for my dirty clothes, how much I sometimes snore, how my episodic disregard for comportment is so profoundly illustrated through my occasional boisterous delivery of personal gaseous eruptions. I could go on and on… She knows me so well, yet, she loves me anyway.
Our personal diversity in so many areas serves to draw us together, always has. I respect her. There have been times (few) when she’s been a wonderful pain in the @#$. We all need that kind of pain every now and then. No relationship is without at least some conflict. I can tell you, though, without reservation, I’d marry her again in a heartbeat (so long as she’d have me). Together we have experienced a wonderful synergy. We are so much more valuable as a team, more so then the mere sum value of our separate entities. We are a team, yet respectful of each other’s diversity, individuality.
And that’s how we went into Mary Kay Cosmetics, as a team. We decided she would leave work to care for one of our sons recovering from a medical problem. We needed her income to meet the financial responsibilities we’d undertaken together. So together, we “recognized” the value of the Mary Kay “opportunity.” It was received into our home as a gift from God, a life preserver tossed to us just when we needed it. We were told, and we believed, this business “opportunity” would allow my wife to work from home while simultaneously enabling her to care for our child during his convalescence. And the best part, she would be easily able to replace her income, even exceed what she earned from her regular job, if only she wanted it; if only she “believed in her dreams.”
You know the rest. The irony is the MK tragedies suffered by so many different families have such common themes. For me it wasn’t only the loss of income, the debt and the unfulfilled promises. No, I believe some of the most heinous damage was that suffered by our partnership. Our team was compromised. Shortly after my objections began, the Mary Kay Cosmetics “opportunity” quickly grew from a topic regarding which we had diverse opinions, to evidence of different perceptions of reality. I remember thinking, “This can’t be happening.” How, after all, could this wonderful woman with such depth, such intelligence, such goodness in her heart, be so aggressively targeting other women with the deceptiveness so common to the “opportunity”? And what’s more, how was it this wonderful person, who relied upon me for feedback and balance (as I did her), had relegated me to the position of third person. I somehow became the guy on the outside looking in, and worst of all, the “unsupportive” husband who didn’t believe in his wife’s dreams.
Let me say something I believe may be too often overlooked. There are wonderful people selling Mary Kay Cosmetics. Warm, outgoing, friendly folks, the kind you’d want to spend time with. Take a moment and imagine something in your mind’s eye. If we could line up all the “pro Mary Kay” people (now happy with their MK experience) next to a line of the “moment of clarity veterans” (those who’ve been through MK, suffered, and got out) you could make some interesting observations. The length of each line would be very revealing. Can you see the lines? You know people in both, standing there, single file, right next to each other in these two lines stretching for miles.
Now bring in a stranger, someone who knows nothing about the debate over “peddlers of deceptiveness” vs. “sharing a wonderful opportunity.” Ask the stranger to interview randomly selected women in both lines to learn about their characteristics (with the caveat that there may be no questions/discussion whatsoever about Mary Kay Cosmetics). What would the stranger discover? The stranger would discover there is essentially no difference between the women in each line. The stranger would find both lines comprised of women of faith, women with families, loving mothers, spouses, intelligent, caring people. My point is those now deeply enmeshed in the “opportunity” and those now emerging from the fog, as well as those who are now out, are all worthy of our empathy and compassion.
It was with this recognition that my wife and I recovered from the Mary Kay curse. I objected to what MK was doing to us. I objected often. I objected very often. And when I was done with that, I objected some more. I never lost sight, though, of the depth of character which has always been at the core of her many qualities. I never lost hope in her ability to, ultimately, regain focus. She observed many things about what was happening, the debt, the deceptiveness, etc. She came to her own recognition that “the dream” is little more than a harmful house of cards. But perhaps the most powerful observation she made was that the character she was playing was not her. She regained awareness that life is so much more than scripted dialog. She allowed herself to remember the value of genuine friendships. She allowed herself to remember genuine interaction with relatives and marital discourse is so much deeper, more tangible, more valuable, than what ya get when you do little more than spew canned sales pitches. She latched onto the great paradox so grotesquely apparent, yet invisible to many: this company which purports to “enrich women’s lives” actually exploits women with an unyielding fervor.
At the conclusion of her nearly decade long stint as a Mary Kay Director, it wasn’t solely my objections that emerged as the primary fuel for our separation from “the dream.” It was also her own realizations. If you could plot our positions on a graph, you’d see neither my robust objections or her growing clarity were individually responsible for our emergence from the “opportunity” nightmare. It was the point at which my objections intersected with her level of clarity that we got out. It was the convergence of her level of personal learning experiences with my level of supportive concern that ultimately prompted our departure from Mary Kay. This convergence was the God sent answer to prayers.
If you’re a husband still struggling with this curse, strive for convergence. Seek convergence more than some type of victory. Continue to object but do so with compassion and empathy. Ensure your objections are supportive, but continuous. Avoid expressions of anger in favor of sharing your observations objectively, calmly.
I wish you all (husbands and IBCs) God’s speed as you move toward convergence.