I should preface today's post by saying that I am not married. At this point in my life, I have no plans to marry but I have lived with and been supported by my Darling Boyfriend (DB) for over seven years now. I am so incredibly blessed to have found this wonderful man! While he may grumble occasionally....or even daily about my "damn horses", he continues to support my equine addictions. He listens to my rants, my whining and loves when I come home from the barn with a big smile on my face and a story to tell. He is also my voice of reason when I get carried away, which I hate to admit, is often. While we do argue about something or another on a daily basis, we also make each other smile and laugh. He is my best friend and biggest fan.
Just as I read horse care books to learn how to become a better horsewoman, I also read books on how to be a better wife, despite being a mere "girlfriend". One of my favorites is a book called, "The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands" by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Despite her rather offensive and persistent habit of calling me an "unpaid whore" or "shack up honey" (for living with a man out of wedlock! For shame, for shame!) I drew an enormous amount of personal enrichment from her book and her radio program. My own perspective on men, relationships, my family ideals and how I deal with issues have all been shaped by Dr. Laura in a positive respect. However archaic sounding the title of her book may be, it did help me build a better relationship and gave me a greater understanding of the needs of my DB. Taking time, being affectionate, complimentary and and nurturing, all lead to a higher level of intimacy. The basic premise of the book is that if you were to treat your husband the same way that you treated him when you were dating, you'd have a better marriage. When men feel loved and appreciated, they want to give their woman the world. Dr. Laura's prefaces her book by stating that the advice contained herein only applies to good men. I have a good man, so I took her words to heart and my relationship improved as a result. It also helped me understand why men do what they do. As with any horse training book, you take some and you leave some. I found that she belittles men by simplifying their needs and desires. In my experience, men are deep and complicated and I find it offensive to suggest otherwise. But I do agree that simple lovin' makes a good man better.
As for the proper care and feeding of my DB, all I can say is that I try. I like to bring him coffee and breakfast in bed almost every morning. My friends all scoff at this and tell me how I spoil him but they don't realize how much he spoils me in the return. I rarely cook dinner (though I do like too!) as he is always happy to take me out. I always joke that I could have any horse in the world after he has eaten my homemade lasagna! When I try to make him happy and go out of my way to be sweet, famine and tell him how good he looks or how much I appreciate him, he does the same. My man that tells me every single day that I am the most beautiful woman in the world. We support eachother. He lets me go crazy with my horses and I go with him to his marathons. I drive from point to point along the route to cheer him on and I always cry when he finishes a race. He is soo fast and strong! *grin*
One of my greatest frustrations in life is how often my passion for horses comes in the way of the proper care and feeding of my DB. My man is no cowboy. He is horribly allergic to horses! He cant come to barn with me or watch me ride. I have to change out of my barn clothes in the garage and take a shower as soon as I walk in the door of our home. Even then, it sometimes is not enough and he will physically suffer from my need to be around horses. I know that he would be much happier if my hobby was baseball or...I don't know, knitting! Something safe and clean! He does not support my habit because he like it, respects it or thinks that it is cool, quite the contrary. For the most part he doesn't "get it" and always worries about me getting hurt. It is not exactly a cheap hobby either! So why does he do it? Because it makes me a happy. Plain and simple. It is not just a hobby either, horses consume a large part of my life and therefore, his too. I don't know that it is always fair. Actually, I know that it is not. I spend more money and more time either with my horses or reading, talking, worrying and planning for them than is fair. It is not equitable. If the situation were reversed, I cant say that I would be as good about it as he is. I do try to compensate but not enough. I don't get why he puts up with all of my shenanigans!
Maybe it is that the same aspects of my personality that make me passionate about horses, also makes me a good girlfriend. I am a giver, a lover, and nurturer. I am patient (to an extent), compassionate and caring. I will always make sure that both my man and my horses legs feel good and that their belly is full. I take pride in having well cared for horses and a well cared for man. I wish that more women took the same pride. I am not perfect, not by a long shot. I dry my DB crazy! I can be pigheaded, demanding, selfish and rude. But I try not to be. Too often I see women that are abusive, mean and condescending to their husbands or boyfriends. They treat their men like dogs! These women would panic if their horses missed a meal but could care less when their men last ate. I am not saying that men cant find their own food but I think it matters that we care. I find it sad that it is politically incorrect for woman to take pride in properly caring for their men. Some openly admit or joke about caring more for their horses than they do for their husbands.
I try to balance my time at home with my time at the barn and make sure that if that balance swings to far to the horses in one day that I do something to compensate. If I have to get up early to go to a riding lesson and I know that I wont be home when my man gets ups, I will leave him coffee in a canister next to his bed and pancakes in the oven. I love the idea that he would wake up and know that I was thinking of him. I leave him a note and wish him a good day. Making the coffee, pancakes and writing a note takes less than ten minutes, the time it takes me to cold hose my horses legs after a hard ride! But it means the world to my DB. He pays me back in spades! I don't do it for the rewards, but damned if they are not sweet!