Better Half

Dr. Goings

I constantly hear husbands and men refer to their “better half.”  Many married men use this informal term to reference their wives.  It is quite customary to hear politicians, preachers, business executives, and many others refer to their wives as their “better half” when addressing a gathering.  Exactly what do we men mean when we use this term to refer to our wives?  Are we really saying that they are more excellent and superior to men?  Are we saying that of the two partners in a union that females are actually and perhaps the strongest and wisest?  As you can see, I selected my wife, Dr. Louise Goings, to be the pictorial representation of this discussion and of the females, wives, mothers, and grandmothers that we are considering.  In all fairness, I could have used Carleen Jordan, Hattie Bethea, Ruby Carter, Amanda Hayes, Nancy Finklea, Gail Schafer, Se’Lisa Scott, Valerie Faulk, Debbie Q. Rogers, Joyce Goings, and many others who are married to very reputable men.  In preparation to writing this piece, I gave the matter some serious thought and came up with five (there are more) basic areas where females are better, for the most part, than males are, whether they are willing to admit it or not.

Better Looking
Now, if you are reading this column, it is quite obvious that my wife is far better looking than I.  Without question, one (not the only one) of the primary reasons that my eyes were attracted to her was because she was, and still is, a beautiful woman.  Louise has what I have come to refer to as “country cute,” unspoiled, raw, and natural beauty.  Now there is no way that A.B. Jordan, III, could ever make a claim that he ever looked as attractive as his wife, Carleen.  I have an old Gordon High School yearbook that dates back to 1952.  At first glance, when I saw Mrs. Ruby Carter’s (one of my mentors) picture in it, I said, “Wow, Mrs. Carter was a fox!”  There is absolutely no way that Judge Carter could have competed with her looks.  This is not only the case for Judge Carter, but for me and every other husband who we have considered in this writing.  Our wives are better looking than we are and our children are better off for it.  Thank God we followed the advice of our fathers and grandfathers who taunted and teased us by saying, “Boy, don’t marry an ugly woman!  Your children are going to need all the help they can get, and it will not come from you.”

Better Equipped
To Handle Pain
I believe that women are more naturally endowed to handle pain than are men.  What man could ever endure the pain of childbirth?  My wife once told me, when I grimaced and responded almost like a child to some pain that was due to a physical challenge, “You sure can’t take much pain.”  I tried to shove it off by quickly changing my frown of agony into a look of confidence as if I had everything under control.  However, down in in my heart under the veneer of macho pride, I knew that she had struck a nerve and hit the nail on the head.  As much as most men and I are reluctant and may even hate to admit, our wives can handle and respond to physical pain better than we can.  Men can certainly learn a lot from women on how to endure extreme pain if we would just admit that they are superior to us in this area.

Better In A Crisis
Now this is certainly an area where most of us gung-ho and macho Rambo-type men will not readily concede.  By our very nature, masculinity, and ego, we feel that we were born and bred for adverse times.  Our families and women folk can readily be certain that in the clutch, when push comes to shove, men are going to stand tall and not fold under pressure.  However true that might be for some, it is regrettably not the norm for most.  If truth be told, women, wives, and mothers are much better at dealing with critical and tough times regarding their families, marriages, and children than men, fathers, and husbands.  The proof is in the pudding and the record will show that the vast majority of the time, the member of the spousal team who shuns responsibility, folds under pressure, and even abandons ship in times when the family, marriage, and children need them the most is the male species.  It is a regrettable reality that men are far less willing than their female counterparts to be faithful in the time of trouble or when there is a crisis or storm that is brewing against the family or marriage.

Better At Parenting
By all accounts, men and fathers are supposed to take the lead when it comes to parenting children.  We are supposed to be the primary disciplinarian and teachers of our children.  This is certainly the case in many families where fathers have assumed and maintained their role as the chief member of the parenting team.  Nevertheless, far too many men and fathers have abandoned their position and parenting responsibilities.  In some cases, they have left all of the weight of childcare and parenting to mothers whom struggle and scrounge around to provide for their children’s basic needs.  Little wonder that there are so many angry young men out there, who when they become a success in professional sports or any occupation, only reference and revere their mothers and not their fathers when interviewed.  For the most part, even when the fathers are in the house, mothers are the ones who take up the most time with the children.  They are the primary caregivers, the ones who go to the school, the ones who take the children to the doctor or the dentist, and in far too many cases, and the ones who take them to church.

Better At Attending
The Elderly
This last category is one that I have observed to be true in many families, my family being included.  I believe that we have a responsibility to our parents to be there for them, as they age and can no longer properly care for themselves.  It is a divinely assigned duty that will come back to bless us or curse us one day when our time comes, if we live long enough.  We often forget that we reap what we sow.  This is true in every area of our lives and no one is exempted or excluded from this basic principle of life.  Women are more mindful of this duty to their elderly parents and in-laws than men.  I have a sister-in-law whose devotion to my elderly mother truly shames me at times.  My sister-in-law and my brother have assumed the role of caregivers for my elderly, sickly, and dependent mother.  My brother does an outstanding job, but it is his wife who is the primary caregiver, the angel of mercy, who has made it her job to attend to the needs of my mother.  She is an example of the many women out there who is religiously devoted to taking care of their elderly and dependent parents and grandparents.  She is a compelling example and positive proof why women are better at attending to the elderly than men. As we have briefly explored each of these categories, it has given us something to consider in regards to the issue of “better half.”  From here on out, when we (men) refer to this term, maybe we are not just using an informal word or filler.  Perhaps we are inadvertently telling the truth.

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