Once when I confided in a clergy member that I wanted to leave my husband, he sat quietly for a while and said some words I will never forget: "He isn't a throwaway man. He has his problems but he isn't the kind you throw away."
It was true. What had I been thinking? It was all-too easy to get caught up in the drama of daily life when I was dealing with a terminally ill child, a daughter with neurological and learning problems, a teenage boy ('nuff said) and a husband who had to travel for work frequently. I was seriously sleep-deprived for a decade. All I could think about was how my husband wasn't helping out, how he would escape into his computer games for half the day when he was home, how he didn't want to deal with the bills and how selfish he was on so many levels. He fell short in being the perfect husband and father and that made me wonder if I should leave him.
But when I began to reflect on what makes a man a throwaway husband, I realized that my husband was a keeper. And it wasn't because he worked hard and provided for his family or even that I loved him. He had qualities that make him a keeper:
1. Loyalty and commitment. Unlike other men who run at the first sign of trouble, he stuck by my side when bad news hit.
2. Fidelity. He's a man who might enjoy the attractiveness of other women, but when it comes to real intimacy and sex, he's a one-woman man.
3. Respect. Every good husband regards his wife with a healthy dose of respect.
Of course, there are many other qualities that make him a good husband including his sense of humor, genuine love for me, and devotion as a father. No one is perfect yet we all envision a perfect life, marriage and family and feel disappointed when real life fails to live up to our impossible expectations. Once I began to focus on being grateful for the good husband he was, all the petty annoyances and disappointments didn't matter.
The kind you throw away
On the other hand, there are types you throw back into that murky pond of men, in my humble opinion. Here they are:
Staying with an abusive husband is a reflection of who you are. If you can tolerate being hurt by the one who is supposed to love you, you've already been damaged somewhere along your life. Somehow, you've learned that you don't deserve any better. Or it gives you a tiny boost of esteem to think, "Here is someone worse off than I am. I can fix him. I am the only one who understands him. I will love him even though he is broken." Why? Because something inside you is broken, too. And it's your self-worth. Raise your self-esteem, and you will be able to stand up for yourself. Remember that abuse comes in many forms: Physical, mental, emotional, financial abuse. Chronic infidelity is emotional abuse, by the way.
The Control Freak
Controlling husbands are more dangerous than they appear on the surface. At first, they might just seem picky or even overly caring. Your frustration will turn into resentment and resentment will turn into disdain towards the man who must direct your every move. The man robs you of a basic human need: free will. No one can live happily without it.
How do you feel towards someone or something you don't respect? You don't bother extending courtesy or kindness. In fact, it becomes hard for you to treat that person with much civility at all. If a husband lacks respect for his wife, it will show in his attitude and behavior towards her, and it's not good.
This is an umbrella term for any man who married you for any other reason than love. He needed a breadwinner since he can't hold down a job. Your social status allowed him access to higher connections and elevated his reputation. He wanted a younger wife to feel better about himself.
Only you know if your husband is a keeper or the kind you throw away. Is yours a keeper? Did you release a throwaway? Tell us about it in our