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My Husband's Most Important Job: Teaching Our Sons How to Treat Women

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Before I married my husband nearly 20 years ago, we'd talk about our future and joke around about the kids we'd someday have. I just knew we would have girls. I could feel it in my bones.

So much for mommy's intuition.

When I found out our first-born was a boy (only four days before he was born!), I was crazy with anxiety. I don't know anything about boys! Their bodies, their interests, nothing! I was a wreck with worry about my lack of preparation for this male child.

I have a very strong personality, and I'm pretty girly. I'm not a princess, by any means, but I do like the occasional cheetah print and I'm all about bling. My husband - although he's definitely an opinionated person - doesn't have a strong personality. He's a pretty laid-back, go-with-the-flow guy.

I'll be honest, I was concerned that my "girly influence" would impact my son more than my husband's male influence.

Fast forward 16 years and we now have two sons (and not a daughter in the house)

Mark and the boys before our Dominican vacay

I always knew my husband was an incredible person. I wouldn't have married him, otherwise! And I knew he'd be a great dad, but I never imagined he'd be this great at it.

Every day since we became parents, my husband has modeled for our boys how to be leaders, how to have strong work ethic, the importance of being honest and of staying healthy. He shows them the power of laughter and of keeping a sense of humor when things get tough.

But the most important thing he's shown them - a gift, really, and not just for our boys, but for the girls and women throughout their lives - is how to treat women with respect.

My husband does not worship the ground I walk on.

He doesn't coddle me, and he certainly doesn't mince words when I'm in the wrong. He has no problem telling me honestly when I do something he doesn't like.

But he speaks to me as his equal and, even if we're in a heated argument (which isn't often), and one of our boys says something rude or disrespectful to me, he'll turn on his heel, point his finger at the offending child, and tell him sternly, "You will not speak to your mother that way," or, "Do not disrespect your mother. You apologize to her right now, and I better not ever hear you speak to her that way."

It's one thing for him to do that at all, but for him to set aside his anger during an argument with me, is something else entirely. I'm not sure I'd have the maturity to do the same. (Let's be honest here: I so wouldn't have the maturity to do this! I'd let my kids disrespect him all day long, if we were in an argument!)

We are so blessed/lucky/whatever to get compliments from people on how sweet and respectful our boys are. I do love hearing those compliments and I'll take a little bit of credit (I did carry them for nine months each, after all!), but most of that credit will have to go to their dad.

Not just because he demands that they behave respectfully, but because he shows them through his everyday life that that is how to behave.

I am so proud to be married to this man.

But I'm even more proud that he's my boys' dad, because I know their girlfriends and future wives, and daughters, if they have any, will be treated like I am by my husband: a smart, happy, strong, independent, capable woman.

Kristan, a writer, speaker, and marketing consultant based in Austin, TX, writes about parenting, health, and small business.

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