The absence of my husband's companionship the entire week he was gone, gave me new light and appreciation for the man I call mine. His little quirks, habits, tendencies and even what could be annoyances, have all opened up to a new perspective for me. And I appreciate him all the more because of what and who he really is.
Just before he left, I got a book from the library called, "How To Live With A Man" and the subtitles concluded the title with, "And Love It." Toby found it next to our bed one night and picked it up and browsed through it. His only comment was, "How would you like it if I got a book that said 'how to live with a woman?' "
I sympathized with his hurt feelings but assured him that if he got a book that at all related to some of the concepts of this book I had about living with a man, I as the woman would actually be made the happier.
The book fully addressed the need for women to let their men be MEN and to let them live happily in their own house. And not just to tolerate their habits and tendencies but to use their typical "that's-just-men-for-you" way of doing things, as lovely and positive aspects to your relationship and home life. It teaches you the importance of appreciating all the different aspects of your husband's character and personality.
Believe me, if I caught Toby reading a book that said, "How To Live With A Woman And Love It," I would feel like one special woman. From him reading a book like that, he'd make it so there'd be breakfast in bed every Saturday morning, surprise shopping trips every weekend, grilled supper every Friday night, romantic walks in the sunset, a vase of roses on my bedside table every time I had a cold, sweet text messages on my cell phone every afternoon we were apart and a back rub every night after he'd get home from work. Not that he doesn't already do all those things but you know what I mean.
One chapter in the book discussed the ways you can get even the most stubborn husband to change his style of clothing and even eventually change over his entire ward robe. I thought that idea was only possible for men who let their women rule the roost so merely read the chapter for kicks.
At the end of that silly chapter, I was blissfully renewed with hope and assurance that even the most submissive wife can tweak her husband's clothing habits to suit her own taste yet equally make him think he's still the one in charge of his dresser and closet.
Toby is not one to give much thought to the latest styles and trends typical for guys his age and stature. When it comes to clothes, he doesn't care. Or so he says. He doesn't like clothes shopping and doesn't really get too excited when I come home with a new shirt or pair of pants for him. I don't even get a thanks but I really don't mind because as long as he'll wear what I bring him, I'm happy. I've found that he does really care about what he wears although he'll rant and rave that he really doesn't give it much thought.
He's particularly picky about some things and no amount of persuading, begging, flattering or admiring can change what he likes and doesn't like. He just rolls his eyes and goes back to his book when I tell him how nice he looks in his new shirt or pants.
And when it comes to pants, he's unusually and alarmingly opinionated.
All our married life, I have striven to encourage him to see that men with his height and length must wear long pants. They don't make those pants for short people so obviously, those long pants are for people with above average height. Like him.
I'll never forget the first time I told him this. After I falsely assured myself he understood mine and the rest of society's stand on this whole deal, I went out and bought him 36" length pants, thinking the whole time he would really appreciate my efforts. I didn't think I was going out on a limb here, but it turned out, I went out on a very long limb.
Many of his pre-marriage pants were actually 32" length and for a man standing 6' 4", that just doesn't quite fit the bill. (or the leg, for that matter.)
After shopping forever for pants 36" long, I finally found a dusty pair at the bottom of the stack of pants in the far back corner of the store. It wasn't quite that primitive but I was surprised at the lengths I had to go to in finding long pants. I inwardly assumed that the reason he just stuck with 32" or 34" pants was because they were much easier to find.
I was excited about my find after searching for so long and at the first opportunity I had to entice Toby to try these pants on (he hates trying on clothes because as you remember, he doesn't care much about clothing), I snatched it up and kindly persuaded him.
Shocked and surprised were my feelings when he loosely shuffled out the door and unhappily modeled his pants for me. What I thought fit on the length, he thought was way too big. I realized that Toby didn't like his pants to even threaten to touch the floor so therefore, anything longer than capris, were not well suited to his taste.
I admitted the waist was too big but he overwhelmingly described in great lengths that by far the length was way too long. To me, the pants looked to comfortably brush on the floor when I cinched the waist up to where it should've been had I gotten the correct waist size. (It's amazing how much an inch can make.) I also assumed that with the usual pair of shoes on his feet, his pant's hem would narrowly miss the floor due to resting on the top of shoes. He stressed that it was great disturbance to walk on one's hem and therefore he would not wear such excessive amounts of denim on his pants.
"So, I have to take them back?" I asked with a lump in my throat.
"I'm not going to wear these," he assured me with a tone that said he was still the one who wore the pants in the family.
Having said all that, I was anxious to try the tips out in that book about changing my husband's pants size. In his great and terrible absence for a week, I used one evening to load up the kids and browse a shopping center that I heard had nice men's pants.
After searching for 2 hours at one store, I finally found a dusty pair of Levi's in the far back corner of the store. They were sort of that "dirty denim" look but didn't have any of those stylish holes and rips. They were made out of a dark blue denim and had faint high lights of brown in them ultimately giving them more of that dirty look but still staying very classy. They were very suave, handsome and manly pants and the exact style and size Toby needed. They even sported a classy "36" on the tag and I was overly thrilled about that number although somewhat discouraged by the number on the overly priced price tag the pants also sported. To me, it was worth it to pay for that extra 2" of denim though.
When Toby arrived home, I was just as anxious to have him try those pants on as I was to greet him with a kiss. The first opportunity he had, I made him try them on. He did and he actually liked them. He actually liked the length. I kept telling him they were "thirty-sixes" and he kept saying they looked nice. He honestly, actually liked them. I couldn't believe it and still can't.
I'm not sure what I did right about what the book said but whatever I did, worked. He's happy and I'm happy too. Not that I wasn't happy with 34" pants but to me a tall man should always wear long pants. Especially if he's my husband. I mean, everyone knows that even though the husband pays for the pants, the wife always buys them. What would people think of me when they saw my husband tramping around in high waters?
Hardly a day since, has he worn any other jeans except for those 36" Levi's. I'm anxiously excited about the prospects I may have to further his ward robe reconstruction although I will maintain a submissive awareness that at any moment, he may catch on to my advances and entirely disarm all my new found designing on his side of the closet. But I'll never forget the miracle of the 36" Levi's.
And even if he does catch on and authoritatively remind me who wears the pants around here, that's okay because I love learning how to live with a man. Especially one that wears such nice pants.