Proverbs 14:1 (NASV) The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
I remember when my boys were little and the bazillion times in a day when I would hear, “Watch me, mommy!” Or, “Look what I can do!” My daughter seldom does this, and when she does, it is not to show off and gain my positive reinforcement, but rather because she wants to interact with me while she is doing something.
I can’t tell you how many times I have watched my sons climb a tree, throw a football, hit a baseball, shoot a basketball, or target practice or witness some other thing they were involved in. I have recommended to moms to be their children’s number one fans, specifically by watching their little boys and playing with their little girls. I have given similar advice to women about their husbands, and am not alone in that regard. Most male pastors and Christian psychologists teach “companionship,” “spectating,” “friendship,” etc.
Why does this matter so much?
Research also shows that men’s brains are hard-wired for immediate response to any perceived threat. Their brains are different than ours in a number of ways, but this particular wiring impacts our marriages.
If a man is wired to perceive a threat, and his wife unknowingly communicates in ways that challenge him, she is tearing down opportunities for intimacy with her husband. I’m not talking about sex here… I’m talking about the deep soul connecting stuff we long for in our relationship with the man we married. Dare you to be aware if you spend much time disagreeing, arguing, criticizing, or correcting your husband (or your kids) – it’s the opposite of being encouraging. Men perceive volumes of difference between using the word, “Why?” in the beginning of a sentence (“Why did you do that?”) and building up before inquiring in a non-threatening way (“I know you had a good reason for XYZ, will you please share it with me, so I can understand?”) If you are creating an environment where your husband perceives YOU as a threat, he will be closing up, defending himself, and arguing back. None of these things, on either side, are good for building deeper relationships.
The good news is you can do something about this now:
STOP criticizing, arguing, disagreeing, and correcting.
START pointing out what people are doing right instead.
And if you must disagree about something that matters (some of us are just disagreeable people – who needs that?) do so by building up first, and then asking a respectful question.
Double dog dare you to be a woman who is more of an encourager, a cheerleader, to her family, than one who tears them down. Specifically, TODAY, think about one thing you can do that builds up each of your family members. What are each of your kids into? What is your husband interested in? Find a way to spectate, be a companion, and encourage.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV) Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Triple dog dare you to share what God is doing in your life in this area!
So glad to be on the journey with you!
Love to you,