There is so much we can learn from each other. I have to start with my first success secret – my husband. How often do we give our hubby’s credit? I’ll be the first to say it wasn’t always this way!
I met my husband at a New Year’s Eve party in 1994. We started dating shortly after that night and have been together ever since. We were married in 2003 with three children in our wedding party. It wasn’t perfect then and I dare not say it’s perfect now. However, we have found ways to make our marriage work. Our ways go against traditional roles, it challenges machísmo, and has taken time for even us to understand.
In Latino families, we’re taught the traditional husband role is the ultimate provider, decision maker, shot caller, no questions asked. Even though, if you ask any Latina, you’ll learn she’s holding the reins. It certainly didn’t happen over night, but we have learned to help each other provide, make decisions together, and when needed we each can call the shots. We can do this now because we understand that our priority is our family.
Latino machísmo. Challenging this notion takes courage and a secure sense of self. Since Juan lost his job four years ago, he’s felt frustrated as well as privileged. To shadow the frustration, he has continued his education and completed his AA in 2018. He’s on his way to earning his BA in Criminal Justice at Humphreys University. Seeing me attend various events is because Juan is willing to watch the kids at home. Having the time to study for my courses is because Juan is willing take up more family responsibilities. Being able to work additional hours is because Juan is willing to take the kids to their sports games and activities. He sees it as a privilege to be able to do these things whereas before he never had the chance.
Understanding our ideals can change. Early in our relationship, Juan admitted, “I didn’t like being told what to do. I knew what my priorities were however I didn’t want to answer to no one but myself.” It wasn’t until he began to see how other Latino dads were with their family that he saw there could be another way. When we talk about this time, I can remember the shift in behavior. When your partner grows up with one example, you can’t expect them to change without a new example.
I don’t give Juan enough credit for rolling on this ride with me. It wasn’t always this way, but I’m glad we stayed with each other and can continue to build up our marriage in ways that work for us.