Recently, as Representative Jason Chaffetz was under fire and announced that he would not seek re-election he posted a flurry of “I love my wife” communications. I don’t know why, nor am I insinuating anything. But I’ve been troubled by it ever since. I’m not troubled by his love for his wife. I celebrate and encourage that. What troubled me is that this is a pattern I’ve seen play out so many times. Elected married men find themselves under pressure, often because of infidelity, but not always, and they all of a sudden “find religion” as it relates to their marriage.
This is not a phenomenon afflicting only elected officials, of course. All of us married men have probably had some moment (or many if you’re me) in our marriage where, because we’d screwed up in some way, we engage in a flurry of “I love my wife” activity. And of course sometimes that’s exactly what we need to do – we need to regain trust, shower her with love or just plain pay our debts.
Instead of beat up on Chaffetz (plenty have done that already) I thought I’d turn this on its head. I believe deeply that if we are going to turn this country around one of the things we need is elected leaders of character, integrity and kindness. Role models for our children. Men and women who are committed to the simple acts of goodness and kindness that seem to get shouted out of our political discourse. And just because there is so much shouting, I’ll disclaim here and now that I’m not saying women shouldn’t celebrate their husbands, singleness isn’t affirmed and valued or that I’m somehow elbowing out people who don’t share my views about marriage.
Here’s the reality: the majority of our elected leaders are white men – many of them married – and I think it would do us all a lot of good to pause for a moment, for no reason other than its the right thing to do, and call them to honor their wives as those of us who are married do the same.
Elected married men – love your wives well today. That’s my challenge, should you accept it. Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike, all over this country from the White House to the Town Hall – I challenge you to this simple act of goodness and respect that maybe, just maybe will bring a bit of good to this toxic time. Share it, retweet it, hashtag it, but most importantly, do it.