Wednesday, January 14, 2009

ARGH! That Man!

How many times have you felt that towards your husband. We all do from time to time. We get irritated by something he says or does. That is natural. If we were honest, we would admit that we probably do the same to him. The problem though is how do we respond to these feelings?

How often have your heard, or caught yourself, talking to another woman about some slight that you think your husband has done? It saddens me to hear women discuss their husbands in a negative way. Griping about everything from the income he provides to how little he does to help her with the household tasks or caring for the children. This is a common occurance. Common or not, however it needs to be stopped.

There is great danger in such talk. You de-value your husband. You can cause others to see only his faults, not his strengths. I remember one such couple I knew years ago. The wife complained so much about her husband, whom I had not an occasion to meet, that I prejudged him. When I finally met him, I was visiting their home. He was not anything like she described! What I did see first hand however was how demanding and rude she was towards him! If he tried to help her with something, it was never done right in her eyes. My opinion of him changed completely that day, as did my opinion of her.

Imagine a young newly married couple. Both are learning their way in this new life experience called marriage. Each person was raised with the example of their parents & the teachings received from them. each have expectations that their relationship will be like the one they saw in their parents or one that they have dreamed of. Then reality hits and they are faced with their ideals not being met as they had expected. So, what do many women do? They call a friend and complain about "that man" they married. The more they dwell on the short comings of their husband, the less appealing he is in their eyes.

Fast forward a few years. Let's introduce children into the mixture. The mother is still complaining or talking in a negative fashion about her husband, only now the kids are over hearing it. What affect does this have on the children? If they hear their mother complaining about their father, will they grow up respecting their parents? Surely, they will likely grow to see only the short comings of their father. Often, they will also lose respect for their mother for speaking in such a way of their father. If there are daughters, what example are complaining mothers setting? What are the chances that she will grow up to speak just as disrespectfully of not only her father but her own husband one day?

One thing life has taught me is that frustration towards others always comes from the idea that the individual did not live up to an expectation that I may have for them. Using a very common complaint I have heard as an example, let's say your husband doesn't pick up his dirty clothes & put them in the hamper. You always get frustrated because he never does it. Well, if he never does it why do you continue to have that expectation that he will do it? Your own expectations for his behavior has just set him up for failure in your eyes. If he never picks up his laundry, stop expecting him to do it and save both of you a lot of grief and heartache.

It is alright to seek the counsel of other sisters if done in the proper way. Not just a gripe session, but maybe asking advice of a good Christian sister who you can trust to not carry the conversation to others. Before you open your mouth think on one would I feel if I found out my husband was talking about me to his co-workers or friends in this manner? If you had short comings, would you appreciate your husband speaking to his peers about them?

We should always strive to uplift our husbands. They are a blessing in our life. I believe completely that if you treat your husband as though he was the most clever, hard working, and romantic man you ever met, he will rise to the occasion if he isn't already. Think about it. Doesn't it make you want to try harder to be an even better wife when you hear your husband brag about you? Don't you want to strive to live up to what he tells others? Beloved brags on me to just about everyone he meets, I think. Once at church, our daughter was wearing a little outfit that I had made. Beloved carried her around church talking to people after the services and made sure that everyone knew I had made the outfit. I was horribly embarrassed! It did one thing though. Seeing his pride in my ability to sew has made me want to sew more for the family. Not to hear him brag on it - good heavens No! - but because I saw how much he enjoyed seeing our daughter wear that outfit.

Our husband's are no different. The more we build them up, standing beside them, supporting them in whatever way we are able to do, and making them feel like they are very precious to us, they will respond to it. And you know what? Even if they don't our own attitudes will change. Maybe their dirty laundry on the floor won't seem so important because we know how hard they are working outside the home to put that roof over our family's heads, clothing on our backs, and food in our bellies. Maybe if we start praising or bragging on their strengths, we will cease to see their short comings.

This morning, I read a cute but very appropriate comment that fits this post. "Lord, Keep Your arm around my shoulders, and Your hand over my mouth!"