First-World Marriage Problems: My Life with an Overcaring Husband

Modern Family

First-World Marriage Problems: My Life with an Overcaring Husband

Illustration: Arati Gujar

W

hen I got married, I had no idea what I was signing up for, although according to everyone around me, I was a very “lucky woman”. After all, I had a liberal Pakistani munda head-over-heels in love with me; a man who was willing to go against his conservative family to defend me. And in some aspects, they were right. In the two years since our wedding day, my husband’s maintained his role as my counsellor, chef, doctor, philosopher, guide, and storyteller.

Now while this may sound like a great situation, I suggest you save your “awws”, because I have something to get off my chest. While I should be over the moon for a man who will give Ryan Reynolds #husbandgoals, honestly, sometimes my husband’s tendency to be “extra AF” and constantly worry about me becomes a bit of a problem… Let me explain why.

For starters, everytime we go to a restaurant buffet, my saiyyan will fill my plate for me, thinking he’s doing me a favour. I meanwhile feel like a little baby incapable of looking after myself. When we’re at the hospital, he’ll go crazy, making sure I’m not accidentally injured during a routine check-up. If I’m out late and he is not with me, he will text me every 10 minutes to ask if I’m okay.  

Back home, my smallest headache is treated like a zombie apocalypse – and since my husband’s an avid gamer, you can imagine how he reacts to such a situation. First, he’ll prescribe a heavy dose of medication based on what he thinks is wrong. Then he’ll spend hours looking up every possible outcome. Sometimes the search declares that I have a tumour, other times, depression. This is his cue to sit in front of me, head in hands, wondering what he did wrong. Then he’ll note down all the possibilities on a sheet of paper and share it with my doctor, hoping beyond hope that something can be done to save me. When doctors suggest that a 10 mg paracetamol tablet would suffice, his faith in the field of medicine fades. He believes the world is conspiring against his dear wife. If God forbid, the doctor recommends that I get a shot, my husband gets so emotional, he has to be escorted out of the room.

In a bid to pamper me, he often becomes more of a parent and less of a partner.

Which is not to say I’m devoid of problems. I am someone who has an affinity for phobias of all kinds. Claustrophobia, agoraphobia, arachnophobia, ImranKhanophobia, writing phobia, phobiaphobia, I’ve had them all. Now even though I’ve learnt to joke about, it’s safe to say that my husband has not. In fact, it worries him a lot.

Last year, we went to one of the best restaurants in Lahore. Being as bad at fine dining as The Flat Earth Society is with their arguments, I accidentally dropped a plate on the floor midway through the meal. Now, in order to save myself from humiliation, and make light of the situation, I told my husband, “I think it’s my phobia.”

My husband, instead of laughing it off, got serious: “Wait, there’s a plate phobia too?” I nodded and told him that I’d just discovered I had it. Since that day, every time I’ve been around a plate, or accidentally dropped one, my husband walks on eggshells, careful to not offend me. It’s cute and all, but it’s also rather bothersome. In a bid to pamper me, he often becomes more of a parent and less of a partner.

Turns out I’m not alone in thinking this is behaviour is not without its problem. According to an article in Psychology Today, overcaring is co-dependence in disguise. People who are obsessed with fixing someone else’s life have trouble fixing their own. I fear my husband is going through a similar situation. To please me, he never disagrees. In his bid to care for me, he often neglects himself.

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t any benefits of this overcaring. Since I am a terrible cook, who believes cardamom and cinnamon are the same spice, he cooks all three meals every day.

In fact, during one of our first meetings, when I ordered a sandwich, he made no mention about his allergy to peanuts, until his face started resembling that of Hell Boy. He insists on carrying all the grocery bags when we go vegetable shopping despite his back pain. And I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve made him watch Love Actually and he has sat through all of them without complaining. I’m waiting for the day he says, “No more Love Actually.” But that’s just me messing with me.  

Which isn’t to say that there aren’t any benefits of this overcaring. Since I am a terrible cook, who believes cardamom and cinnamon are the same spice, he cooks all three meals every day. Now whether I’m the mood for haldi-chawal instead of biryani, boiled potatoes instead of baghrey hue aloo, it doesn’t matter. My husband will decide.

So while I’m really glad that my husband seldom gets angry, throws tantrums or scares me with those “you-are-not-the-only-woman-for-me” threats, I wish he’d also stop waiting on me hand and foot once. Sure he’s the kind of husband that Phil Dunphy would take tuitions from, or Deepika Padoukone would want to replace Ranveer with, but it only takes one headache before everything changes.

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