It was like any other Sunday. My husband was caring for his five Fantasy Football teams in the living room and occasionally screaming at the TV. I was in the kitchen preparing my famed “All Meat Except for Onions” chili when I heard our German Shepard, Cheney, making a fuss in the backyard. I called to my husband to watch the pot on the stove and went out to check on him.

Reassured that Cheney was just barking at our ethnic mailman, I stepped back inside and that’s when I saw it: my husband, huddled over the cutting board with tears streaming down his face. Poorly cut onion slices laying guiltily in front of him.

I felt my mind go blank.

I know it was just his toddler-like curiosity that made him try it. But at great cost. The man who I had married, the man who I’d seen get into a shoving match with a JV baseball coach, had become something unrecognizable. He had become domestic. He had become vulnerable.

Sure, it could have just been an involuntary, totally normal reaction to the vapor coming off the onion, but who am I to take that chance? The irreparable damage to his masculinity had already been done.

And he knew. I briefly glimpsed his panic, his emotional nakedness. As he wiped his face, he quickly tried to recover by mumbling the score of the game and complimenting the smell of the raw ground beef. But he knew.

The days after were the hardest. Mundane activities were now tainted with silent uncertainty. Our family’s morning recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, or rallies demonstrating open carry laws at a local playground were now background static. The image of my husband wailing like some man-baby instead of bottling up his emotions deep in his psyche to erupt at totally inappropriate times later in life consumed my thoughts.

As our oldest, Tucker, prepared college essays, my husband was helping him research the best fraternities to rush once accepted. I knew it was all a cruel facade: a father who I had seen sobbing over God knows what trying to teach his son about the pillars of manhood. I would spend these evenings in bed, curled under the great grizzly hide that served as our comforter, wondering if my partner could even kill anything anymore.

The things that had made me attracted to him in the first place, like road rage, or arguing with an Applebee’s server about how rare his steak was, all seemed like distant pieces of some forgotten dream.

It became too much. My own father came to my rescue, racing to our home in his lifted pickup truck and firmly putting my husband in his place in front of our children by punching a hole in the wall and threatening legal action. It was a silver lining amongst the turmoil and an example of true fatherhood for my kids. God works in mysterious ways.

I’m okay now. A year has passed and I’m finding a new normal. I've taken time to work on me.

But I still cook my chili, onion and all. It serves as a reminder that I shouldn’t settle for a damaged life or damaged partner. That there is somebody out there for me that knows how to be a dad, how to be a husband, and how to wrap up his feelings and bury them like landmines to explode decades later as he calls therapy a “leftist conspiracy.” A girl can dream.

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