DEAR CAROLYN: I stumbled on a comment my husband left on a blog he reads. The context is complicated, but the gist of his comment was that when he was choosing a wife (me), he was not worried about finding someone he considered his intellectual equal but rather someone who would be loving and supportive toward him on a daily basis. I have never, ever heard him express anything like this in public, and wouldn't have married him if I had. We are equals — ours is not an old-fashioned helpmeet marriage, and we are not even religious. We both work in academia and I consider myself an intelligent person. He is, too. I am shocked and hurt by this and haven't begun to untangle what to say to him about it. The blog is public — this wasn't snooping, just unfortunate chance.
SO HURT: Yikes.
But what you think he was thinking is probably much worse than what he was thinking. So, don't worry about what to say to him, just tell him you saw it and ask him what he meant by it.
My guess is that he meant to address his priorities, not your abilities. Whatever he says, that's the thing to respond to, not your worst assumptions. I'm also guessing you'll be able to tell whether his explanation is genuine — and if it's not, then that's what you talk about.
Maybe this is purely artificial sunshine, but it is entirely possible he prioritized someone loving and supportive and was rewarded for that by finding in you a loving supporter AND intellectual equal.
Anyway. Give him a chance to fix what he broke.
RE: INTELLECTUAL EQUALITY: I'm a professor. People who are professors can be really snobby about others being their intellectual equal, as if book smarts are the only thing that matter. A dear friend — a professor marrying another professor — printed their academic credentials on the back of their wedding program. They were not being ironic.
I did not choose my husband because he was my intellectual equal, either. I chose him because he is a warm, wonderful, supportive human being. Who I love more than anything else.
He IS my intellectual equal. It's one of the things I love about him. But that's irrelevant. I can imagine marrying someone not as "smart" but warm supportive and loving. I cannot imagine marrying someone who is smart but a jerk. That's how I read the blog comment. Who people are is much more important than how smart they are.
RE: INTELLECTUAL EQUAL: A wiser man would have posted, "I wasn't concerned with finding someone who is my intellectual equal, and it's a good thing, because she's smarter than I am."
WISER: A smarter man, you mean.
RE: INTELLECTUAL EQUAL: I hope my wife doesn't go around (correctly) pointing out that I'm not her emotional-intelligence equal, and that I lack her amazing common sense. Actually, I'm fine with that. Maybe my SAT scores were higher than hers. I don't care. The fact is, we each bring strengths to the relationship. And hers are more important to the success of the relationship than are mine.
Fine With That
A-plus, everyone, thank you.