Isn't it amazing how someone can give you a peice of advice that is so wise, and so powerful that you actually take it? You take it, and you use it - integrating it into how you live your life.
That happened to me without me even knowing it. For some time know I have been thinking about the concept of respecting my husband. It has been brought to my attention by observing other women that are... perhaps lacking in this category. I knew I wanted to write a blog post about it, but as I sat down to explain where this concept first came from, I realized it came from a simple peice of advice that I was given at one of my bridal showers. I was given an amazing book filled both with recipes, and words of wisdom from all the ladies in the room. Forgive me for paraphrasing it, but it went something like this:
While part of your role of a wife will be to point out where certain areas need improvement, be careful not to cut down or make fun of your husband. The words you use can be damaging.
Obviously she said it much more eloquently. Actually, I kind of butchered it.
The point remains though. The words we use with our spouse matters. They can be words of great encouragement to build them up, or they can be words that make them feel stupid. Embarrassed. Disrespected.
Oh. I don't do that. I respect my husband. I would never cut him down.
Of course you do! I don't know one woman that would claim to not respect her husband. But are you sure that the way you speak to him reflects that?
It could be as simple as questioning whether or not he can perform a certain task "Why don't you just let me do it?" or pointing out his faults in front of his mother/sibling/friends "Ya well, ___ has been promising to get the oil changed for months now, but I finally took it in myself" Have you ever noticed his reaction to statements like this? The slightly deflated look in his eye? The change in his body posture?
I know what you're thinking. It was just a joke! He laughed with everyone else! Hey, maybe I'm way off base. I don't know your husband personally. I do know that if I was in the same situation, I would have probably laughed too. If someone was making fun of a sore spot for me in front of people I would go along with it - how awkward would it be if I didn't?
As women, we often talk about the pressures we have from society and media to be perfect. To have the cleanest homes. The best behaved kids. The tastiest meals. If we can recognize that there are all these pressures on women, why do we ignore all the pressures men face as well? Have you ever considered that something as simple as not being able to fix the toilet themselves might actually make them feel as though they are failing as a husband? As a man?
Now can I go a step further?
I'm not suggesting that we just watch our tounges while in the presence of our husbands. I'm suggesting that we need to actually respect them.
Do you ever find that when you talk about something, it is more present in your mind? Like you talk about having cheeseburgers for dinner, and then you're more excited for cheeseburgers? Or a slightly closer comparison- You're annoyed by something a co-worker did, and then a week later you talk about in it great detail to your sister and all of a sudden you're really annoyed again?
Well of course, Melissa. That's just basic psychology.
OK, so when all you ladies get together with your girlfriends and talk abut your husbands as though they are children that are really just so lucky because they have you in their lives to set them straight... do you think that's productive? Do you really go home and see your husband as the competant man of the house that he is?
Well... I don't know
Here's a challenge. Go out with your girlfriends, and talk him up a little. Maybe even brag. It's ok- I'm giving you permission. Just this once.
See how you feel about him when you get home. Not too shabby right?
Now try this. It's even more fun:
Next time you're hanging out with family or friends, and he's in the room- do it again. Talk about how awesome it was when he fixed ___ or how sweet it was when he cleaned up the dishes so you could take a bath. Maybe slip in the story about when he saw a man stalled at an intersection and pulled over the car, ran over and helped the man push the car out of the intersection into the nearest parking lot.
Oh wait... that was my husband ;)
Careful though ladies, that glimmer you'll see in his eye can get addicting. So is the abounding love he gives you in return. It's somewhat of a cycle you can get into...
OK. Confession time. I just started reading Love and Respect. So this is probably not the last you'll hear on this subject.