The Sunday Edition: Gender Roles and Firefly

j_elationj_elation Whenever I talk about relationships, I am perpetually relating it to being a Mariner. I’m not entirely certain where this comes from. I have been on a sea faring vessel four times in my life, and two of those times revolved around a cruise. I know Port, Starboard, Bow, and Stern and the only reason I know this is from watching the movie Titanic — for the first 4 months after it was released on VHS, my family watched it every Saturday and Sunday night. They did this all the time with movies and I don’t know why — beyond that… nothing. Although I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that it probably comes from Firefly/Serenity. Towards the end of Serenity (movie) Captain Reynolds is explaining to River that flying a ship isn’t just about buttons and charts, that it’s about love. That stuck with me for a long time. See if your relationship is a boat, the second most important part of any boat, is making sure everyone has a job and knows what that job is…

Which landed me in a lot of hot water recently. Matt Walsh is a… polarizing figure. He comes off as being vaguely racist, supremely bigoted, and of astounding arrogance. And I know arrogant. The problem is every once in a while amidst the dumpster fire of hate that is his blog on the Blaze, he occasionally has a point. He did an article forever ago that recently started to circulate about roles in the home. Now I generally took umbrage with his suggestion that “men are the head of the household and brings home the bacon, wife is a baby maker and responsible to keep things running smooth in the house” but his over arching theme of “someone leads” was acceptable… and I said as much in the comments section. And with this being the internet, I started an unholy flame war that engulfed everything. Hated upon by both sides of the isle as my family does generally conform to gender roles — pissing off the left — but I didn’t think those roles had to be gender specific — pissing off the right.

Now I’ve written about polarization a few times now so we’re going to ignore that aspect for a bit, and I’m going to take some time to get personal with you guys. Buckle up.

Our ring bearer was Captain America btw. Important information for you to have. In fact various parts of our wedding were super hero themed. It was awesome.

My wife and I did premarital counseling before the big day as most pastors and even justice of the peace types insist you do. There are some super interesting stats on that being successful but perhaps we’ll talk about that another time. In the process of doing the premarital our pastor was concerned and confused. See we had to do a test to start off and you’re supposed to do it independent of one-another. He was dubious in thinking we had done it independently as there was an anomaly he hadn’t experienced before: In shared interests we scored low, but in communication and interpersonal we scored very high. See most premarital sessions he’s done he spends on making sure the couple has a coordinated life plan, that they know how to fight, to work together, and how to simply function as two people who are going to spend a ridiculous amount of time together. But not us.

For a lot of reasons that I probably won’t get into, it was very important to me that we were coordinated in our marriage. That we were at all times working together… And given my general personality, that meant one of us — not two of us — was the leader. And again, given my personality profile, that leader ended up being me thus thrusting is into a traditional marriage.

Now if you’d like to begin your angry diatribe, I won’t — read: can’t — stop you, but if you would perhaps like to save some time, you could continue reading? I might surprise you.

My wife’s decision to make me the leader was very much Biblical. We’re both people of faith and in the Church the man is the head of the home. While that definitely played a roll in my decision to take the mantle of leader, my reasoning was more experience/logic based. All of us either have or know someone who has worked at a company that essentially has two leaders. Restaurant where the owner and the chef fight all the time about the territorial differences between the kitchen and front of house. Maybe a grocery store owned by a couple and the husband says “eh, grab a donut no big deal” and the wife comes in one day “which one of you MOTHER F$&@ERS STOLE A DONUT!?”. Maybe it’s a brother and sister running a video store and the sister comes in on Tuesday and announces that “customers and our staff are the backbone here, and we need to focus on helping both” then the brother comes in on Friday “I don’t give a s$*! what the customer wants, just rush them through and let’s cut back staff!”

You can’t run anything with two leaders, this doesn’t work. And it doesn’t much matter which of you is the leader. The scenarios above? All real stories that either happened to me or friends I know and as an average 50/50 were poorly lead by men and women. If you’re in a male female marriage, and the female is generally better at leadership? It’s probably a good idea for her to be the leader. Gay, straight, or otherwise it only makes sense to let the best leader lead and if you’re not sure who is the best leader, do some arbitration. Talk to some people you trust and ask them. Test drive it. Try two months with one leader, two months with the other. I don’t know. But you can’t both lead.

Now if the other half of you would like to begin your angry diatribe, I won’t — read: still can’t — stop you, but if you would perhaps like to save some time, you could continue reading? I might surprise you.

Even with these roles setup, an important part of this that a lot of people lose track of, is we all still need to agree on a direction. Before my wife and I got married we both sat down and roughed out a five and ten year plan. Together. Side by side. Where we disagreed, we compromised. We never found an area we couldn’t find a compromise on, but I imagine if we did… yeah ultimately it would be my decision, but I wouldn’t come to that decision lightly by any means. Because being a leader isn’t just about being in charge, it’s about responsibility. And I am responsible for our success or failure as a couple. And if I decide that we’re going to do something my wife doesn’t think we should do? I better have a damn good reason because her happiness is my responsibility as well. Should I decide that all decisions benefit me to her chagrin, I shouldn’t be surprised to come home one day and find suitcases by the front door.

Anyways. I hope I’ve managed to explain myself more clearly. We’ll see you guys next week.

Have a good’er.

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