I can’t remember the wrong committed, but on two different occasions, I learned that my friend wasn’t someone who could help me.
The two times I went to her, not knowing what to do, she gave me the same advice – “Do the same thing to him, and see how HE likes it!!”
The first incident involved one of my sons. The second involved my husband.
I had a minimum of knowledge at the time, and knew at least not to “repay evil for evil,” but still just didn’t know how to respond without being a doormat.
How did “being worthy of respect” myself fit into the picture? And btw, husbands are told to treat their wives that way in 1 Peter, chapter 3. It makes it easier for them if we act in ways worthy of respect.
What I do now looks like doing nothing – at least at first. I wait.
God will then open a door. Or sometimes He doesn’t, which is my cue to not choose that hill to die on…aka… stop being so sensitive that EVERYTHING is an issue – the phrase, “nitty picky” comes to mind.
If the door’s been opened, I walk through it.
Usually it swings wide in the form of a question, “Honey, you’ve been awful quiet tonight – is something wrong?” In which case I can then respond, “I am sad because you lately have been (notice I don’t say, “always” or “never” – those are lies… no one always nor never does anything J) discounting or arguing with many things I say. It’s making it difficult for our children to respect me when you don’t communicate that you do.” And then conversation ensues.
Sometimes it swings wide in the form of a request. “I want all the video for the last seven years organized onto DVD’s for us – can you do that by the end of the summer?” “I’m happy to put energy toward that if you will take responsibility for the bills for the next month. I don’t have enough margin in my life right now, so adding that to my plate will be too much.”
And always, daily, I am asking myself, “What can I do to communicate respect to my husband? Am I focused on what I can do to be a good spouse today? Or am I all about getting things from him?” I don’t feel I have the right to let him know my disappointments or hurts from his behavior when I’m not consistently over time pursuing being an excellent wife to him. I know he needs my gentle, encouraging help in figuring out how to be a great dad and husband, but I lose my right to give feedback when I am not pursuing righteousness and doing my best on the wife side.
Some Christian teachers and authors will tell you that a good wife should never communicate difficult truths to her husband – that she should do whatever it takes to make his road smooth. I don’t agree. While I embrace that I am my husband’s “helper,” I also fully believe I bring disrespect to the Temple of the Holy Spirit when I allow my husband to treat me poorly. I also believe that grace is often necessary, however, AND, I know God NEVER wants me to execute revenge or judgment. And when the few times I do respond like the above occur, they are always the result of calm prayer and never the result of anger. Just so you know, there are moments when I am 100% sinful and human and forget everything I’ve learned…but the above is the goal.
A friend of mine recently carried out these thoughts flawlessly. Her son shared with her that he was struggling with temptation with alcohol and peer pressures. She and he talked about it, but he told her he needed to talk the issue with his dad. She encouraged her husband, even though they are separated, to talk with their son about the issue. He said he would, but never got around to it. She continued to talk with her son, and encourage her husband. A few weeks went by and the kid drank at a party. My friend shared with her husband what had happened and asked him if he had spoken to the young man. He hadn’t. She didn’t accuse, judge, rant, or anything. She said, “That’s too bad, but I’m glad this happened before he leaves for college this fall because he’ll face even greater temptations there. I really wanted to help you get connect with him so we might have avoided this, but that’s okay. Will you talk with him now?” He agreed and it happened that day. She modeled strength and dignity, and let the Holy Spirit do the convicting. J I want to be just like her when I grow up.
Dare you to pursue the wisdom contained in Proverbs 6 and see how the above fits in. I was noticing verse 18 when I started…perhaps you will agree or have other thoughts.
Double dog dare you to share or subscribe!
Making up yesterday’s miss with today – you’ll notice I’m consistently inconsistent… J
Glad to be on the journey with you,