Being a Provider: A How-to Guide for Men

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First and foremost, this article is primarily for the men. However, ladies, you are highly advised to review this material as well. Doing so may assist you if/when evaluating a potential mate in your future endeavors. Also, you are most certainly encouraged to pass this piece along to your mate and/or male friends.

So, lets begin.

For all the Traditionalists, Baby Boomers and Generation X/Y readers, I'm confident you all have heard the term 'provider' at least once in your lifetime. That being said, while most are familiar with this term, studies (and pure word of mouth) have shown that an accurate comprehension of this title is lacking. So, we're going to take the time to explore this term immensely.

In every way, a provider is an iconic title. Much like all titles earned (yes, this title must be earned), one cannot simply self proclaim themselves to be a provider without executing the proper supporting actions and upholding the appropriate responsibilities.

Allow me to explain.

Like all terms, a basic review of definition is mandatory. As per ‘dictionary.com’, a provider is defined as:

1. a person or thing that provides

2. a person who supports a family or another person

For all immediate purposes, we will solely focus on definition #2.

In terms of supporting a family or another person, one must first understand what's required. But, before proceeding any further, let's eliminate a few myths that are commonly associated with being a provider.

Myth #1

  • “Being a provider means a man gives a woman money”

This is untrue. However, money is most definitely involved with being a provider. Unlike this myth, the involvement of money is not primarily to ‘give’ to a woman.

Allow me to clarify.

Yes, at times, your earnings will be spent on one (or all) of your lady’s needs (as with the household itself) but as a provider one of your main responsibilities is to bring home a paycheck. Obviously, your lady will have needs but again, as a provider of that household, it is your responsibility to ensure those needs are met. Note, ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ are two different concepts. ‘Needs’ are defined as necessary factors to sustain a well-being. ‘Wants’ are luxuries. While spoiling your lady is a great idea, those luxuries will prove meaningless if you fail to accomplish the ‘needs’ first.

Myth #2

  • “Being a provider does not necessitate paying each and every expense in a household”

This is also untrue, but with a slight shade of gray.

A man whom is the SOLE provider is defined as a singular entity that financially supports an entire household. Our focus is on a provider in terms of performing the duties of being the cornerstone of a household. What this means is that yes, it is okay to allow your lady to pay an expense, however, as a man and the provider of that household, you should NOT require her to. For a few of you, this duty may seem extreme and a heavy task however this is a traditional sense of arrangement. If you have a good lady, she will likely want to minimize your stress and burdens. Therefore, she will likely offer to assist. Men, it does NOT make you any less of a man for allowing her to do so if she so pleases. And ladies, please do not ‘throw’ it in his face later. During arguments, neither mate should ever remind each other of the roles they play. That act is entirely counterproductive.

Myth #3

  • Being a provider means that the woman HAS to be a "stay at home housewife"

Gentlemen, under no circumstances are you to require that your lady is restricted to cooking, cleaning etc. This methodology is primitive and barbaric in custom. Being a provider does not post boundaries for your lady. If she so chooses, she may generate an income but as the provider, YOU should tackle the responsibility of managing the household and not be dependent on her income.

Now, there are certainly some ladies whom prefer to be a stay at home housewife. If this is the case, please ensure that you two discuss the expectations of the relationship before kicking it into gear.

The above are 3 of the most common myths/misunderstandings of being a provider.

Now, to revisit our previous subject matter: determining what's required to support a family or another person.

Men, please understand that money is NOT the only factor involved here. Supporting a family or your lady requires much more than bank account balances. As a man, you are without a doubt required to be financially mature and responsible however there are several other factors to bear in mind.

Here are a few items to take into consideration:

  • Assessing and evaluating situations
  • Attention
  • Decisiveness
  • Emotional support
  • Expenses management
  • Good judgment calls
  • Household upkeep
  • Prioritizing
  • Security
  • Sex
  • Stability
  • Time

In order to be an effective provider, it WILL require your attention, it WILL require your time, it WILL require your focus and it WILL require YOU.

You will need to be the rock for that family or lady you are providing for. Yes, you are human and can only take so much but as a man, you must wear this burden and endure it.

The 12 items listed above may vary upon each situation. There can always be more/less needed. But as you can see, money is only one of the several elements. Emotional support, household upkeep, security and even sex are all included in the basic requirements.

This concept is often misunderstood but if you are truly a provider for your lady, you must PROVIDE for her. Caring for her and sexually pleasing her go hand in hand. So, if you’re going to lay up with her, be sure to provide for her as well. Your job is to provide a way for her, lead her and if needed, guide her. If she’s cold, give her YOUR blanket. If it’s raining, give her YOUR coat. If she’s hungry, give her YOUR food (that one’s pretty important fellas). You are to ‘provide’ every service she or your family needs gentlemen.

In conclusion, you alone may be incapable of solving everything, however, it is your responsibility to obtain reasonable alternative means of completing the tasks. Ever hear of the phrase “making a way out of no way”? If not, please understand that it means accomplishing the goal in whichever way you can.

As a man, this is an honorable and selfless duty. No, it will not always be simple but it’s embedded in you. Serve your role and trust, she most certainly will serve her role and be there for you.

Lastly, men, if you’re unwilling to give your one hundred percent or are not up for the task, please, do not waste these ladies time. There are many of us more than willing to serve a Queen without all the jokers getting in the way. Food for thought.

Al Steven Harrison Jr.

Read more posts by this author.

Mount Prospect, IL

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