Your Wife And The Other Man

You’ve died.

Your wife and children live.

Somehow, they go on.

In time, without even meaning to, your wife catches a man’s attention.

Whatever his suitedness…

Whatever his similarity or lack of with you…

Whatever his worthiness…

He resolves to love her.

The thought of becoming the man she most esteems… perhaps even, someday, the man she marries… it fills his every waking thought.

He finds himself suddenly capable of unprecedented feats of service, courage, charm, and wit.

“Finally,” he breathes to himself before the mirror, tears in his eyes, “a woman who brings out the best in me… the one who frees me to be my true, noble self.”

Your wife, for her part: though the loss of you blew a hole through her life, she feels a growing appreciation for this male help and attention… for this validation of her appeal… for the practical help and support the loss of you has made her quietly desperate for.

And this man: he is able and utterly willing to ceaselessly, recklessly pour: he gives, and gives, and gives again:

Fixing the rotted fence you left unpainted one season too long…

Repairing the gutters you left stuffed with leaves until the weight pulled it out at the nails…

Drywalling the disregarded hole from the wood block your child threw.

In short, he does the work you were no longer inspired to do… picks up the thread of wonder that had unraveled for you long ago.

Even he is amazed at his volume: the more he gives, the more he WANTS to give, intoxicated by the wild, self-feeding illogic of male service.

And yet, the woman is the same: the catalyst is unchanged.

She is for him as she was for you: beautiful yet, of course, imperfect; loving, yet of course, impatient, and prone to anger… all her maddening quirks and appalling blind spots still there, exactly as they were before, for you.

The difference is in his eyes.

For, unlike you, he’s not yet gone numb to the wonder.

In time, his reckless giving will fade.

Soon, he too will walk past the fence, the gutters, and the drywall, oblivious and morose… the deadly sheen of normalcy blinding him, too, to the beauty of the life his former ardor had brought him.

Of all the billions of species you could have been… of all the invertebrate, brainless, worm-bodied existences you could have known… you were born a human: the most advanced species in the known world.

Of all the places you could have been born… of all the squalid shanty towns and excreta-soaked favelas… you were born into a country of opportunity.

Of all the sad couplings you could have known… of all the loveless marriages-of-convenience you could have been saddled with… you married a woman who loved you, and who you loved in return.

Your life, in short, is a work of staggering magic.

And yet, despite all this…

Despite the improbability…

…STILL it is lost on you.

Numb to the wonder: THAT is our peculiar curse.

Our great project as men is to relentlessly re-sensitive ourselves to the wonder of our own lives.

To see, every day, that our woman, our children, and our work are incalculable gifts…

To scrape the slow-settling scum from our eyes…

To shock ourselves constantly to life.

Lash yourself to the wonder.

By whatever shifts of perspective…

By whatever resetting climbs…

Rip this blind ingratitude, this appalling forgetting from your life.

Lift your eyes and see, as for the first time, your wife: see how she loves you. Stagger, and fall to knees at the gifts of her heart, her body, her time, her faith, and her years she has given you.

Lift your eyes and see, as for the first time, your children: see how they love you, and crave your adulation and adventure.

See your life and all its wonder with the eyes of the other man.

Bryan Ward is the founder of Third Way Man and author of the LIT Black Paper

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  1. BRILLIANCE!

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