with Your Spouse
In storybooks, men are superbly strong, uncannily sensible, wonderful “bullet-proof” heroes with incredible endurance and perfect timing to conquer any situation encountered as they daringly rescue and guide women around or out of trouble.
These fictional male protagonists we read of are fantasized about for this mass of amazing qualities they always seem to possess. They always “get the girl” by the end of the story by rescuing her from some tragic situation that only they (because of their being ideal male specimens) are able to triumph through. The girl, of course, falls in love with this ideal specimen of manhood, so they enter into Holy Matrimony and live happily ever after. He is genuinely thankful to have found a woman who will appreciate him. She is grateful to have a man that can stalwartly protect her but treats her like royalty. He is not just an ideal specimen of a physically fit and strong man, but a gentleman and scholar as well!
Our marriages start out similarly. Our husbands marry us, feeling they finally have a woman they can trust. We marry them, while rejoicing and flaunting that we have a real man we can depend on.
Unfortunately, over time, we often come to depend on them too much (and they us) while we simultaneously sabotage their trust in us. Hmm, that’s a co-dependent relationship without trust. That sounds like a disaster. It is. And many of us begin to fall into this situation without even realizing it. You probably think that THAT would never be you. So, it not being you, : ) , you are safe to keep reading!
When we dated our husbands, we counted on them to be timely picking us up, take us somewhere fun or relaxing, pay the bill (maybe), pay us a compliment (hopefully) on how nice we looked (which we later daydreamed about and re-ran through our minds 100 times over, proving to ourselves what could only be their unfailing love for us), say a few things to make us laugh, and not talk too much during the movie. That was enough to make us happy. They even kept behaving like that long enough that we fell hopelessly in love with them. Then, somehow, they persevered sufficiently to the point we agreed and married them!
BUT, NOW . . .
Now that is not enough. Now we expect all we had before . . . and exponentially more! We should expect special treatment as wives. Men should save special gifts for their wives. My husband was advised by his mother not to give flowers to girls he dated, but to save them for his future wife. So, while I never received flowers from my husband while we courted, I do enjoy them on a regular basis now. It is good to know that I am now treated better than any woman he dated because he saved certain special gifts only for his wife. However, that is not what I am talking about.
We expect too many little attentions now that we never expected while courting. We expect them to notice and verbally thank us for the multitude of tiny things we do. We expect them to encourage us when we are even slightly discouraged, cheer us up when we are sad, make us feel pretty when we feel ugly, ignore our moods when we are hormonal, overlook all of our shortfalls, give us a long hug whenever we need uplifting, read our minds flawlessly, obey our whims, and basically, say and do all the “right” things at all the right times.
Now we expect them to notice tiny things: the slightly different shade of make-up we are wearing, how our shoes perfectly match our dress, the upper shelf we (finally) dusted, the little black spot we finally got around to scrubbing off the stove, the dog’s new hairbrush, and the EMPTY trash can that WE took out for them. Now, if he does not comment appropriately and in a timely fashion (within 5 minutes of his walking into the house) concerning these relative trivialities (that we have blown the importance of out of proportion), we treat him as though he just went out to the pub right after work and came home drunk at midnight with lipstick all over his neck on our 25th Wedding Anniversary.
Oh, and forbid our husbands pay us a compliment anymore. Rather than cherish any absurdly tiny compliment for days or weeks (remember, like we did when we were dating?!), we either don’t realize it was even a compliment, don’t believe the compliment, or we read into their words incorrect intonations and hidden second meanings. And you were wondering earlier in this what you could have ever done to lose your husband’s trust?! Can our husbands even pay us an honest compliment anymore . . . safely?
We did not treat them this way when we dated. We would certainly not treat our best friend this way. We would never dream of treating the Pastor of our church this way. So let’s stop treating our husbands like this.
Okay, we did marry MEN, so let’s practice the use of a SPORTS ANALOGY:
Question: If your “home team” is losing a major game, what should you do?
A. yell “BOOO” every time they make a mistake, scream what they should have done, exclaim that you could have done it better yourself, and walk out of the game ( while muttering frustrations at them) when it looks probable they will lose.
B. sit silently through all the ups and downs of the game and cheer only at the end, if they win.
C. do whatever everyone else near you is doing, but keep a silent tally of all your team’s mistakes, to review with them and correct immediately after the game (win or lose).
D. pray for them when they make mistakes and grab your POM POMs to cheer wildly for every little good bit of progress they make. Feel pride, knowing win or lose, your team works hard and always does the best they can for their fans.
So, here’s the sport’s analogy, if you haven’t figured it out yet:
- YOUR MARRIAGE is the game!
- Your HUSBAND is your “HOME TEAM”.
If you want your home team (husband) to be successful in the game (your marriage) choose “D“!
What does this really look like?
Lots of “Stopping”:
- Stop “booing” them every time they mess up!
- Stop telling them how they should do things (your way)!
- Stop muttering under your breath (or in your head) at them.
- Stop keeping tally of all their mistakes.
- Stop treating them only the way the people around you treat them.
- Stop walking out on them when the game gets rough.
AND Lots of “Starting”:
- Start focusing on and cheering the positive things he does.
- Start forgiving (and forgetting) about the things you think he fell short on.
- Start believing what they tell you (ESPECIALLY THE COMPLIMENTS!)
- Start praying for him.*
- Start appreciating all the little stuff he does for you like it is big.
- Start doing all that little stuff for him again.
SOOO . . . . . GET YOUR POM-POM’s OUT!
Cheer your husband on!
For the game’s still going on!
He has made an error or two,
but he’s still at work for you!
Celebrate his successes.
Quietly help clean up the messes.
He cannot be your “gentleman”,
if you aren’t his “lovin’ woman”!
Be your husband’s biggest fan!
It’s all part of our God’s plan,
Be his personal cheerleader,
and let him be your trusted leader.
When you hold his heart inside your hand,
And your heart’s in his, just as God planned,
He’ll yearn to spend his weekends with you,
his own best friend, and he’ll be yours too.
* Prayer is #4 (and not # 1) on the list, because we need right-hearts before we pray for our husbands (1-3 help us regain right-hearts). Our prayer should be for their successes as Godly men and leaders of our families, NOT for them to do what we want or think they should do!
BIBLE TOPICS & REFERENCES used in this article:
Helping Your Husband
“And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:18
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
”Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-22
Encourage Your Leaders
“But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.” Deuteronomy 1:38
“But charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.” Deuteronomy 3:28
Serving the Master (God)
“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:22-24