Wendyl Nissen

Wendyl Nissen on being 'The Supportive Wife'

Wendyl Nissen: I'm set to go from one challenge to another

Add a comment
After a year of devotion to my husband will I be able to let it go?

'Someone will give me flowers, my husband will hug me gratefully...hardly.', says Nissen. Photo / Thinkstock
'Someone will give me flowers, my husband will hug me gratefully...hardly.', says Nissen. Photo / Thinkstock

It's official. My editor has agreed that my year-long challenge as a Supportive Wife can end next week.

That's one week left for me to make life easier for my husband, running around doing cleaning, cooking, laundry, dusting, organising and basically being the woman behind the man.

No more putting my man first, no more trying to combine a writing career with 50s housewife duties, no more racing around the house at the end of the day to check that it is all clean and cosy for the return of the man of the house.
This has sent me into a bit of a frenzy.

Only one week left to round things off and make everything gleam so that I can then stand back and write my final column, giving myself 10/10 for the challenge and maybe shed a few tears of relief mixed with joy, as they do in those reality shows.

Someone will give me flowers, my husband will hug me gratefully and my children will sing me a song they composed especially for the moment.

Hardly. Instead I'm frantically making lists of things that still need to be done. We need new carpet in the townhouse, mainly because despite the place being pristine when we moved in the sheer force of three adults, a dog and three cats has caused it to confess that it's really very worn out, and looks it.

The railing in the wardrobe needs fixing, the outdoor furniture needs moving around, the windows need cleaning, the garden needs weeding, the ceilings need cleaning to remove flyspots, the shower needs fixing, the bath surround needs re-painting. Oh the week I will be having.

But as plan to plod through these mundane tasks I am allowing myself the luxury of imagining life returning to what it was.

The ability to wake every morning and not turn to my husband and ask how I can make his life better. To just lie there, sipping my tea, gazing out of the bedroom window and planning my days, just for me.

My husband, meanwhile, is refraining from having any reaction to my impending change in circumstances.

He's invoking the safety clause which husbands worth their salt employ in times of grave danger. Because if he starts leaping around the place, clapping his hands and saying "I can't wait for it all to end!" I'll be upset that my year of devotion has not been fully appreciated.

Should he go the other way and frequently be seen with his head in his hands, surreptitiously wiping away the odd tear, so distraught is he that he will no longer be supported, then I'll think that perhaps he's had too much of a good thing and be angry that he is trying to guilt me into extending my devotion.
So instead he's wandering around in a non-emotive state, refusing to be drawn on any discussion about how the year has been for him, simply smiling benignly and saying something about getting the rubbish bins in before it gets dark.

Perhaps he is worried, as I am, that I may have become institutionalised. I may have become so used to my supportive wife role that I will be unable to let it go.

Recently my husband arrived home and I apologised for not having quite got around to the vacuuming, owing to the fact that I had needed to write all day to meet two deadlines.

"I'm so sorry the house is a bit of a mess darling, and I'm not sure what's for dinner but I'll just dash down to the supermarket and find something delicious," I heard myself say.

"Stop it," he said, just a little annoyed. "This is ridiculous," he said as he put some water on the stove and began to make pasta. "Sit down and I'll bring you a drink."

And so I did. I sat on the couch at 5.30pm and sipped a Martini.

Unaccustomed as I was to such luxury I marvelled at how good it felt to finish a full day's writing and just...relax.

And so I've started a list. Come next Monday I will present it to my husband and it will say: "Here's the list of things I meant to do last week, but... well... just didn't get around to it. Cheers."

- NZ Herald

Have your say

We aim to have healthy debate. But we won't publish comments that abuse others. View commenting guidelines.

1200 characters left

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf04 at 01 Nov 2014 01:50:55 Processing Time: 515ms