What’s the typical man to do when he must change roles with his partner and take care of her, rather than be taken care of? This question sent my world spinning when, just the other day, my wife suddenly came down with the flu.
For most guys, this can be a scary thing, especially if we’re the ones who are used to being pampered. If you fit the traditional model for families, then life for you looks something like this: Go to work, come home and eat dinner (prepared for you), and if you’re appreciative and helpful, you assist with the dishes afterward or dispose of the trash. But when our partners become ill, men are quickly thrown into a gauntlet of responsibilities to which we’re not accustomed. The man is suddenly thrust into shopping for food, taking the kids to daycare, cooking the meals, etc. Our worlds are thrown into chaos. This is when we as men must step it up (and I’m not talking about beating our chests and belching loudly). I’ve written a few tips for those men who are like me and need a little reinforcement.
[SUPPLIES ARE ESSENTIAL]
This is a tough one for the typical guy. I’m sure there are a few exceptions, but for the majority of men, we are as familiar with the geography of our local grocery store as we are with our partner’s make-up case. The key to getting supplies is to be specific. This is where men can use their “hunting” nature. You know that book Men are from Mars …? I find it fitting that the writer would associate men with the Greek god of war. Conquer the groceries, guys! If she says that she wants drowsy extra strength allergy and sinus, you better search and conquer, or you’re going back. When I went to the store, all the medicines were blurring together, and I just wanted to grab any one, but I knew that the right medicine would make the difference—and it did!
[PREPARE HER MEALS]
Now, my dad’s idea of cooking was calling the local pizza joint and ordering their current promo. But this just doesn’t cut it when your partner’s feeling sick as a dog. The last thing she wants to see is a bucket of KFC’s family special. If you have the time to cook—great! If not, bust out the VISA and treat your wife to something special that won’t make her gag. Soups are always an easy appeaser. Spaghetti is another simple recipe that’ll turn a kitchen clutz into a chef extraordinaire. The key is NO FEAR in the kitchen. Ask her what she likes. Even if you don’t get it perfect, she will reward you for trying, and that’s always a good thing!
[PAY ATTENTION TO THE LITTLE STUFF]
What’s her favorite drink while she’s feeling sick? My wife loves it when I mix orange juice and Sprite. Make a note of this and pick it up while shopping. Do the special things that make her feel like a queen. Be sensitive—she’s the one who feels like crawling under a rock and dying. If she wants her feet rubbed, then massage therapy just became your second profession. Draw a hot bubble bath for her. Throw her towel in the dryer and heat it up so it’ll be warm when she gets out. Pamper her. Also, don’t get grossed out. It’ll be tough not to make any snide remarks when she’s spewing her guts out over the toilet.
[BE EXTRA LOVING]
Because she is noticing the little things, all of your acts of support and kindness will equal tremendous love to her. When my wife is feeling sick, all she really wants me to do is show her affection. This is hard for some guys because it pushes them to be more loving. The last time my wife was sick, she asked me, “Honey, do you think I’m beautiful?” She just wanted to be reminded that she was still my gorgeous bride. Your partner’s illness is a great opportunity to practice the Golden Rule, especially if you’re a guy who doesn’t show love very well. Cuddle with her even if she does look like a wreck. If her breath smells a bit funky, just remember she’s probably feeling like something crawled up into her mouth and died.
Being the man to your partner is a 24-7 job, especially when she’s sick and in need of special attention. Use this time to show her she’s made a great decision in choosing you—and in the end you’ll be reaping the benefits!