In some form or fashion most people have an opinion about what a person’s role is in a relationship. My perspective will mainly be in thought that majority of my audience have a respectively traditional view to gender roles; men are the providers, women are the submissive helpers. Men are looked to be the bread winners, the head honchos of decision making, the head, the…well, the MAN. From a boy through his teen-hood, to adulthood, men hear and see that they are supposed to take care of their family. No matter what, feed, clothe, and keep a roof over your families’ head. Right?
Where does a man fit into a relationship or family when he isn’t able to provide?
Who gives men the manual or guidance on how to contribute to a relationship or a family outside of financially?
I mentioned in my last blog piece, that I read about a man that committed suicide for not being able to provide for his family, that may seem extreme, but what we don’t know is what pressures and conflicts he faced socially and internally that made him feel worthless and undeserving of life. Perhaps he felt the only way his family would be taken care of is through life-insurance money. Who knows? But the sad part is, that many men feel as he did; Worthless, for not being able to provide for their families.
I once dated a guy that had a very well paying job, in the midst of us dating, he was laid off. Things quickly went from dinners at 5 star restaurants, impromptu mini vacations, to movie night on the couch and pizza. The transition wasn’t tragic for me in the least bit because I’m a much laid back person; I do those things on the regular. However, for him… he became very discouraged and his confidence began to subside. No matter how much I tried to reassure him that I was unaffected by the decrease of expensive dates, he just couldn’t shake it. Long story short, we very soon after stopped dating. I was much younger then. I just didn’t understand and took the resignation personal. But now I understand that there are certain things men will need, to be stable, for them to feel good about themselves.
Nonetheless, the concern that I have about men, is that I want for them to not feel that their only purpose and contribution to family and relationships, is financial providing. There are so many valuable things men can provide that money just can’t buy. I’ll do my best to explain.
Let’s say your woman comes to you frantic and panicking over her car breaking down. Now being the natural provider that you are, you may think about if this is an expense that you will need to partially or fully cover for her. But what if you can’t afford to do that? Do you know anything about cars? Can you check it out and give her an opinion? Maybe you have a friend or family member that owes you a favor, and they can help out. Perhaps, maybe temporarily you’ll have to share a car. See, providing a solution, in this instance, is just as valuable as pulling out your wallet. Providing your expertise is just as helpful. Provide a resource. Provide reassurance and comfort.
Many women are their own providers. Many can pay for a house and clothe a family all on their own, and if a man that wishes to take that lead comes along, all praise the Almighty! This isn’t to say that a man shouldn’t provide because his woman can, or that his efforts will not be appreciated if his contribution is smaller than hers. Many of us desire for a man to provide something more than tangibility. We want someone we can learn from. We want someone that will balance out our worries and frantic tendencies. We want someone that will be confident enough to allow us to spearhead when he isnt quite sure how to go about things. Traditional roles in relationships are great. However, I feel the issue lays in those roles defining our value and deserving of love and companionship.
The most precious moments I have about my father and my step-father, are ones that included good memories and lessons. Money couldn’t provide me with that. Some men eject themselves as a dollar sign, and some women only see men as dollar signs. But for planet sensibility and reasonableness, men are needed. We need men to be teachers, nurtures, protectors, good fathers, good friends…etc.
When your wallet is empty, your presence is still rich.