A friend and I chatted today about men. Her husband is Israeli, mine is American, and we agreed that there’s a world of difference between the two genres. European men pride themselves on their toughness, on their strength. American men are tough too, but they aren’t afraid to be sensitive.
When I first met M it was so hard for me to not equate sensitivity with weakness. I was used to cold, tough European men. I didn’t know what to do with all the vulnerability that was being demonstrated. For months I had to stifle the urge to lash out just to see how deep a mark I could make. I wasn’t used to dealing with men that I could touch, let alone hurt. I resisted the urge and I started to understand how lucky I was to have found a man willing to let me see his true self, who didn’t feel like he had to protect himself from me. I’m glad I didn’t do anything to jeopardize his trust.
Today I came home to a man stumbling through a recipe so that he could make me dinner. He called a few times for tips, but he was trying hard. He sat with C while she ate, joking with her about her day. He hugged me repeatedly and kissed me over and over again. No reason, just because he felt lovey. He gave C her bath and sat back while I washed her hair. He gave her her nebulizer treatment while I checked my e-mail. I finished making our dinner while he played with C on the kitchen floor. At all moments this evening I felt at peace. When we are together things just flow, there is a palpable harmony. It’s what allows me to relax and be myself at home.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s not perfect, sometimes he drives me up the wall just like everyone’s husband. But he’s the right man for me. He knows me well and he never takes me for granted. He doesn’t get aggressive when he feels threatened. He doesn’t shut down when he’s stressed. And every time I see him interact with C I remember why I’m so thankful I married my American man rather than any of the European men I knew.