I made a post here a long time ago that I unfortunately cannot find now. I had found RP a few weeks before. I considered myself feminist. First, I was angry. Then I realized the more I read this sub, the more things made sense. I posted because I was worried about my marriage. I could not figure out how to get my husband to take the lead. I had been the type of woman who was proud to make more money than my husband. I would brag that my job was high pressure and that I didn't have time to do domestic things. He had settled for a terrible job that totally demoralized him and he lost all ambition to do better with me taking the role of the breadwinner. We stopped having sex. We would go out to eat and I would always pay because I'd tell him he couldn't afford to pay for dates. I fell into a mother role where I would constantly nag him. All he did was play video games. When I posted, the vast majority of the ladies who responded said I had basically ruined my marriage and that it was over. I was angry. I tried to forget about RPW.
Then something amazing happened. My husband lost his job. In the past I had expressed that I thought if he lost his job, he would simply stay unemployed because he was so unambitious. But the moment he told me he lost his job, something clicked. This was our opportunity. I immediately told him that I couldn't wait to see how he would do in his next job, that this was great news and it was time for us to make a change anyway. I didn't suggest that I would support us on my salary alone(which I had always said in the past). The first few days were really hard. He had a hard time looking for a job. But I gently made suggestions and then pulled back, and eventually he came to me with ideas, thoughts on what his next steps were, etc. I was unequivocally supportive. I told him how smart and capable he was and that I knew he would be able to get any job he wanted. Every time he went to a job interview, I told him how proud I was and made sure to shower him with physical affection that I had withheld for so long. He works in a very in demand field, and within two to three weeks he had a job for double his previous salary.
We went out and he bought all new clothes -- dress shirts, nice pants, etc. His wardrobe had become basketball shorts and video game t-shirts prior to this. I started ironing his clothes for him before work. I felt the urge to complain, and I didn't. I would make sure he had food to take to work, which I "didn't have time" to do before because I was so busy with my job. Within two months, he had gotten a raise. He was excelling at his job, and his confidence was through the roof. I gave him all the support I could at home to make sure he only had to worry about his success, as he had lost many potential career advancement years while we were stuck in a rut.
Anyway, this has been stressful at times but I had kind of naturally fallen into this better pattern and did not really think of RPW again until recently. I was passed over for a promotion, in favor of a male colleague. I was very hurt and upset. I worked harder than him. I'd been on the team longer than him. Then I stopped and thought, "I have worked so hard, sometimes at the expense of neglecting my husband, and where has it gotten me?" I pulled back from work. I stopped checking my email outside of work hours. I stopped being available for every emergency.
I put more of my focus into my marriage and self improvement. I exercise almost every day. I dress better. I clean more often. I make sure we always have food prepared, I'm always trying new recipes and making sure his favorite foods are onhand. What prompted this post is that I found myself ironing our sheets before work today, and I felt happy. It was almost meditative. I had always enjoyed "domestic" activities before, but I felt ashamed of it and like I had to be a strong woman who could support herself and didn't have time for frivolous things. Here I am now, giddy at the thought of my husband coming home and seeing our bed made up with our new mattress, sheets, and pillows that I set up while he is at work. I can honestly say I have never in my adult life been happier.
These are some of the things that have happened:
- Our sex life has improved immeasurably. I stopped treating him like he was a monster for wanting me. I would snap at him all the time before when he wanted sex. Now even if I am not in the mood, I am open to it. But I find myself in the mood MUCH more often anyway due to the improvement in our marriage.
- He has expressed pride multiple times in the things I do for him. For example, he told me when people compliment his shirts he thinks about how I always make sure they are ironed and ready for him. I feel so happy when he tells me this. Knowing that the things I do for him are present throughout his day and make him think of me is very gratifying. There was no equivalent to this feeling before when I was the "breadwinner."
- He takes me out on dates. He's taken me shopping. I can enjoy these things guilt free without complaining that he can't afford it. It feels so good to get dressed up and be treated by my man. We hadn't done this since pretty much the first year we were dating.
- I feel so much more attracted to him. He dresses nicely even on the weekends now. Basketball shorts are no longer regular attire. This also motivates me to dress more nicely. When we walk into a restaurant or a party, I feel a sense of pride and feel good about our image as a couple. I'm sorry if that sounds shallow. But I used to want to disapper, I felt bad about myself and about him.
- I make time to exercise and take care of myself now. I'm running a 5k for the first time in a couple of weeks. I feel awesome! My husband tells me all the time how proud he is of me for sticking to my running routine.
- We almost never fight anymore. This is the big one. Before we would fight almost every day, to the point that I started to avoid interacting with him. I was so lonely I would just lay in bed and cry, feeling like I was so far away from my husband and that we couldn't interact without being ugly towards each other.
- With stress from the marriage gone, home has become a place where he can retreat from a stressful day. In the past, during really bad fights, he stated he didn't even want to come home because I just stressed him out. The difference is night and day. Now I am the place he retreats after a hard day.
- Edited to add a major one I forgot: I had always said I was childfree. Now with the stress of overworking myself gone, and with our marriage being in such a better place for almost a year now, I actually feel open to having kids. We have already had talks about it and are planning our travel over the next year or two so we can get our pre-kids bucket list done and then get started. I actually... feel happy about the idea of being a mom, which was a totally foreign concept to me, but I feel even more excited to see my husband be a dad. When I see him with our niece I just picture our kids and how wonderful he would be with them.
There are other changes I'm sure I'm missing and this is already a little bit rambly, but just overall my marriage is amazing now. It's everything I wanted. And I know he is so much happier too, because he has said so more than once. I never would have thought this was possible, but it's like RPW planted the seed I needed to make these changes and I was able to undo years of nagging, abrasive interactions. When we disagree on something now(something that doesn't matter to our marriage, like our opinion on something political that doesn't affect us), I gracefully change the subject, where before I would hammer my opinions into his head. I would rather be happy with my husband than be right.
Anyway, my reason for posting this is two-fold. First, as a thank you to this community for giving me the ideas that helped me steer my marriage in the right direction. Second, for any other feminists out there who lurk here and like me have molded their personalities to what we are so often pressured to be, which is essentially to act like a man. If you are having doubts, take some of the advice from this sub and apply it to your relationship. It can't hurt. You're not compromising yourself. You're not betraying other women. You're not being shallow. You are not a "bad feminist." This was a big concern for me at first. But in the end, you have to do what is right for you. You can believe in equality and accept that things work better for you when you fall into a certain role. It's okay to reject the current wave of feminism that encourage promiscuity and having 1000 partners(I feel embarrassed when I think about fights I had with my husband because he was "slut shaming" someone, when he was just observing destructive behavior). It's okay to do things to help your marriage, and there is hope even in situations that are seemingly not salvageable... my marriage is proof of that.