What’s the Difference between Being Disrespectful and Being Helpful?
We pulled into the church parking lot a few minutes late yesterday. The husband of a friend of ours walked with his kids behind us, calling out to my husband.
They were visiting our church.
They also weren’t frequent attenders.
He and his sons were without his wife, as she was working the weekend. The boys didn’t know where to go, and my husband offered to take them down to help them find their classes.
I said, “Honey, would it be okay if I did that? Why don’t you stay with Steve, and I’ll walk the boys down?”
He gave me a funny look, but acquiesced.
Throughout church, I wondered if I had done the right thing. Why did I jump in? Was I wrong to do so? The woman I was over a decade ago would never have done that, thinking submission meant, “Whatever the husband says is what you should do.”
The gal I am today recognizes that my husband is really my “brother,” and I need to be his friend and provide help.
But did I do that yesterday morning, or was I disrespectful?
I had no idea.
So I did what I encourage all the ladies who take Daughters of Sarah® to do – talk to their husbands and ask them questions – they love it – and it helps keep us from driving them completely nuts while we’re figuring it out.
On the way home, I replayed the incident for him, and asked, “Was that un-submissive or disrespectful of me?”
“No, I didn’t know why you did that, but no, I wasn’t offended,” came the reply.
“I thought Steve would feel awkward sitting with me at church, being as he’s mostly your friend, and I thought he’d feel more comfortable visiting if his experience started off with you,” I replied.
“That never occurred to me. I’m glad you said something – and yeah, that makes sense,” he said.
Some here might think I’m majoring in the minors, focusing on minutia, and when it comes to communicating with the people I want deep relationship with, you are right. Life is lived one small moment of interaction at a time, and if I have questions about perceptions, the only one who can give me insight is the one I’m interacting with.
I know some also think I totally did the wrong thing by making the suggestion in the first place. And they might be right with their husband. I’m not married to him, though, so without the questions, how will we find out? There’s no perfect formula to “submission” and “respect” or “help.” We’re called to do those things, but what looks like “help” to one man (in this case, my husband) might look like disrespect to another.
A number of years ago, while studying the subject of being a godly wife, I read a popular Christian author’s advice on the subject of submission. She told us to never comment on your husband’s driving. Let him take the wrong turns, drive too fast, too slow, whatever.
While I fully agree that I shouldn’t criticize my husband’s driving, he has made it VERY clear that I’m not his friend if I let him miss an exit because he’s not paying attention.
Especially if it make us late.
Someone else’s husband might be highly offended if asked, “Honey, isn’t that our exit?” but mine? Well, he would be ticked if I didn’t let him know in a gentle way.
I know these things because I’ve asked the questions. J
In Proverbs 7 today, I read verse 21: With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.
The bottom line is this: The world’s culture AND the Christian culture will try to tell you the “right” way to do things – both are persuasive, both have convincing and smooth talk. Sometimes neither is right. Combined with your motive to please God by being a good wife, we can be set up to be influenced.
Choose instead to be a student of 1) God Himself, by forming your OWN relationship with Him, and 2) the people in your life, by asking questions about how interactions go and their perceptions. They’re all different. There’s no ONE right answer for all of them – no matter who gives you advice in dealing with them, including me. Study. Learn. Connect. J Grow.
Double dog dare you to consider spending 12 weeks with us on Sunday mornings at Faith Church, in Milford, Ohio. We have several opportunities out of state to run Daughters of Sarah® so we’re running a FREE version of the class so we can tape it – there’s no public speaking, either, it’s in a small group format. (“Free” meaning “materials costs” only – there’s no jewelry this time, and you only pay for the books you don’t already have)
We can’t wait. J
Hope you’ll join us – 9:15am-10:30am on Sunday mornings – go to church before or after, and watch the teaching segments at home in between. We’ll also have another taping event coming soon – we’ll keep you posted.
Triple dog dare you to bring a friend or the ladies from your small group!
And can I trouble you to pray for us while all this is going on? J
Love to you,
Nina, you did exactly the right thing by offering to take the kids, so that your husband could be with the father. You lent your expertise. You had a take on it that he didn’t have. The necessary conversation confirmed all of that.
I’m with your husband. I would want my wife to tell me her observations and to keep me from doing something stupid or awkward.
Once you explained to him why you did it, I know he was glad that you did it.
“The heart of her husband safely trusts in her.” Because of this and other similar things that you do, your husband feels very safe in your hands.
Right away I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming over again
to read further news.
I think the better term is like Captain and First Officer. Definitely, the wife is important and she is trained and the two are a team– they’re not supposed to be working against each other!
It’s much better to know that someone has your back and is looking out for the best interests of both you– someone that respects and loves you!
Oh, Amen! 🙂
I am appalled at how some women “talk” to their husbands! Treating them like they are stupid or yelling or just generally being rude…..yeah those things add up over time so learn to be diplomatic and generous with your mouth especially to your family. 🙂 Thanks Nina, I’m my husbands “co-pilot” too!
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