Being the “protector” in a relationship


Today I’ll write about a particular incident that really made me notice and think about how gender roles can be influenced when a woman practices martial arts. 

About a year ago, I went out with my (then future) wife. We went to a restaurant for dinner and we had a really nice evening. On our way home, quite late at night, we suddenly found ourselves alone on a rather dark street in front of an empty park, with two very suspicious looking guys standing on the park side of the street, in front of us. They were menacingly staring at us as we walked by. We pretended to ignore them.

I immediately felt a burst of adrenaline in my body and my heart beating faster, as this was obviously a potentially dangerous situation. Then the next second I remembered that the woman beside me holding my hand was of course a martial arts expert and self defence instructor. I had her hapkido demonstrations with me fresh in my memory – and as I remembered that, I suddenly felt much safer, calmer and more confident. I knew she could likely handle any situation that might arise all by herself. Not that I would just stand there doing nothing of course, if something would happen. I remember we glanced at each other, knowing we would have to be prepared for things to get ugly. Nothing at all did happen though – the sinister looking guys followed us with their weird glare until we were out of sight, but they left us alone and we got home safely.

At home I started thinking about what had just happened. And I realised that in the face of danger from two possibly violent men, I – a tall, fit, perfectly healthy man – had basically looked at my girlfriend for protection! Objectively, this isn’t strange, as we both know she is a way better fighter than me. But it still felt weird and confusing for me as a man, and I could feel that I was blushing. It was like I had this inner voice screaming at me that I should be the “protector” in the relationship. But at the same time that doesn’t make sense, when she is the one having practiced martial arts since childhood and who had recently proved that she can easily wipe the floor with me in a fight. So there were some very conflicting feelings for me after this incident.

Again, I am very happy and proud over my wife and that she has the skills and capabilities to defend herself. I definitely don’t wish that things were different. But I guess it can be quite confusing and complicated for us human beings, when things like traditional gender roles and norms in society gets turned on their head like this.

couple on date

15 thoughts on “Being the “protector” in a relationship

    1. mywifeisablackbelt Post author

      Thank you for those kind words!
      And you are right of course, gender roles aren’t set in stone (no point following them when they don’t make sense) and I know there is no reason for me to feel embarrassed. But these thoughts still come up because it’s so ingrained in us as men, that we should be “the stronger sex” and protect women etc – especially when as in this case I am physically much bigger and stronger than my wife.
      But obviously we don’t need to let ourselves be guided by this kind of illogical thinking – and yes I really want to give my wife credit for the skills she has acquired! She very much deserves that!

      Liked by 4 people

  1. Emma

    Awww this is so cute! You should be proud of your girlfriend (and I think you are).
    There is no reason for you to feel embarrassed. But I think it’s kind of cute that you do lol.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. mywifeisablackbelt Post author

      Thank you! Yes I am very proud of my wife.
      And I know, objectively there is no reason for me to be embarrassed. But sometimes feelings aren’t at all rational.
      Haha it’s cute that I felt embarrassed? How so?

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Jay

    Most gender roles are just imaginary things we invented to keep people in boxes anyway.
    It’s awesome to have a partner who can physically handle herself so well. But ‘protector’ isn’t just a physical thing and I imagine she sees you as her protector in many ways even still. The need for emotional support comes up way more often than the need for physical defense. And I hope that’s a role that either gender can take on, and hopefully we’re moving away from the strict gender norms as a society.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. mywifeisablackbelt Post author

      Thanks for the comment! You are absolutely right!
      And yes it is awesome – I really admire her!
      And of course we both support each other emotionally and in other ways. And I also still can help her a lot in physical ways in everyday situations. I mean being both clearly stronger and taller than her, I can help her lift and carry heavy stuff etc – and that feels good haha. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Neha Sharma

    Stereotypes, in general, often get the best of us. What makes you stand out is that you have both the strength to defy gender roles by feeling safer in her presence as well as the honesty to address the remnants of such stereotypes in yourself. It takes great courage to do so. Great job writing such an honest post 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

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