If you’ve ever seen Modern Family you probably know and love Phil Dunphy.
He is the sweet, hilarious, goofy, loving father and husband in the Dunphy family with some pretty amusing lines. As an example, here are a few of his ‘Phil-osopohies’
Or my favorite favorite:
Phil is so endearing, one of the qualities that makes him so is his…cluelessness. He can be a little naive sometimes and Claire (his Type A and at sometimes scary wife) often has to step in and well, take control.
While I laugh a lot at Phil’s antics and think he’s the sweetest dad/husband, I struggle a little bit with the dynamic between him and Claire.
I think today the media often portrays fathers/husbands as these clueless, goofy and kinda dumb caricatures that are entertaining but not really functional as head of a family.
Don’t get me wrong, I love goofy guys. Love them. Like, they’re my favorite. But, I think what women need (and want) even more is men who step up (note: these aren’t mutually exclusive, keep reading).
Now, you may be thinking, ‘why does the head of the family need to be Phil? Claire is a strong, intelligent, competent woman, why can’t she have that role?’
I think an even better question could be, ‘what does Claire (or any woman) really want?’
Do we want to constantly have to take the lead? Do we want to call all the shots? Do we want to have to be the ones who initiate always? Because in taking away man’s ability to lead, that is what we are communicating.
I think women sometimes allow our desire for control get a little out of hand. To the point where our husbands/boyfriends are little more than accessories or people to pose with for Instagram pics. We’re only happy with them when they do exactly what we want them to. We often take decisions out of their hands and eagerly initiate interactions or make judgements for them.
We text them first, we plan all the dates, we plan everything for that matter, we take charge, we lead.
This isn’t always healthy, because where does the need for control really come from?
The answer is fear.
We ‘need’ to control because the man can’t handle it/won’t do it/will fall short. So, instead of facing rejection/a poor result, we take matters out of their hands.
Unfortunately, what happens when we perpetually take over is that we deny men the opportunity to be decisive, to take action, to pursue us, to show us they care.
As a result, we eventually start to feel frustrated and resentful that these men we love aren’t showing their love, aren’t doing their part. Doubts and insecurities start to creep in, do they really love us? Are we wanted? Do they appreciate and value us?
What we really need from men is for them to step up, to take action, to be men.
I don’t want to spend my life chasing after a guy. I don’t want to have to make big decisions by myself. I don’t want to feel resentful or unappreciated.
I want to trust him, to rely on his judgment and to know that my family and my heart are in good hands.
I love Phil, I love goofy guys. I also am type A, like Claire.
I think we can have both and. It doesn’t have to be either he’s goofy or he’s a leader. Either I’m laid back (ain’t happening) or I let him lead.
I think that as women we can help this dynamic out by letting go of the reigns a little and relinquishing some of our control.
Just see what happens over time if you don’t make plans, if you don’t reach out first, if you let him decide where to go/what to do.
The reason we should do this is to allow room for a give and take in the relationship. By that I mean allow us as women the opportunity to be receptive. Receptivity can be very feminine (as reflected in our bodies). However I think a lot of times we override our natural inclination toward receptivity because it requires us to trust and just be. ‘Doing’ feels so much better because we think we’re in control, we know what the outcome will be; there is no room for ‘what ifs’ or disappointment. But if we never give ourselves the chance to be receptive to our man’s love, how will we know it’s really there?
Trust is a requisite of loving relationships, and trust necessitates uncertainty. Otherwise it wouldn’t be trust, it would just be knowing.
This doesn’t mean we can’t ask for what we want, share how we feel or that we somehow have to become something we’re not (for example trying to be ‘chill’ when we’re just not). It really only means that we can relax.
He’s got this, it will be okay.
Maybe you will be let down at times – a normal part of life and relationships-, but maybe, just maybe, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when your man steps up to the plate.
Isn’t that what we really want anyway?