Friday, August 13, 2010

The Husband of Your Youth

After reading this post from Melinda, I feel that I have something to add to her thoughts on dads by talking about husbands in general.

I love my husband. He is really the most incredible person I've ever known.  He is smart and talented and godly. Sometimes I wonder how I ended up with such an amazing guy, since my expectations in the husband department were pretty low, honestly. Then I remember that God picked him out just for me and we're perfect for each other in every way. We balance each other out, keep each other in line, and, with combined efforts, manage to keep a tidy and productive home running.

My husband is not a bumbling idiot.

I feel so, so bad for women who feel that way about their husbands. I've heard several women mention that lately. When I was pregnant with my son and I said my husband was going to give him all his baths, almost all the women I shared that with said, "Oh, please! At the first bath he'll say, 'Oh, I don't know where the towels are! I don't know where the soap is! Can't you just do it?' Mark my words."

My son is nearly two, and I've given him all of six baths. And those were either because we were traveling without my husband or there was a diaper blowout or other giant mess in the middle of the day that couldn't wait for my husband to come home. My husband gives the baths. Every. Single. Bath. So there!

It's one thing for me to have expectations for my husband—I'm his wife. But sometimes it seems that Women have expectations of Husbands in general. And, for the most part, they expect them to fail and act stupid. Even husbands they don't know personally are expected to screw up based on the mere fact that they're Husbands.

Now, few women would admit on an individual level that they expect their husbands to fail. I hope no one wants her husband to fail. But somehow, as a group, Women have succumbed to sitcom stereotypes of what Husbands are capable of doing. Sure, stereotypes come from somewhere and blah blah blah. I don't buy it. Most husbands are not sitcom husbands.

The fact of the matter is that your husband is unique. Just like all of us, he's got things he's good at and things he's not so good at. He needs your support and respect. I'm not saying my husband is absolutely perfect. He's not. He's very set in his routine, which can drive me crazy sometimes, and he stands his ground far too well when I want my own way. But I also wouldn't tell other women, "Oh, my husband is such a dummy!" It's just not true. And even if it were true, I wouldn't go around telling people that. There are a couple reasons:
  1. It's really disrespectful. Wives take liberties talking about their husbands because, for all intents and purposes, they're stuck with them. But would you go around telling people what a dummy your best friend was? No. She'd hear about it and you'd be short a best friend. Your bond with your hubby is a little stronger than that, but it won't be for long if you talk smack about him.
  2. If you have issues with your husband, talk to your husband about them. I understand seeking godly counsel, so if you need to go to your best friend and vent about what your husband just did, you should be doing it with the intent to ask her for guidance on resolving the issue with your husband. Still, the problem should quickly go back to your husband in the spirit of good communication.
  3. People will question your judgement. You married him. If he's such a dummy, what'd you go and do that for?
So any way you slice it, telling people what a dummy your husband is makes you look bad, saying nothing of what it does to your husband's reputation and ego.

Oh, I should probably mention ego. The one thing that is true about husbands is that they're men. Shocking, right? Men have delicate egos. They need to know their wives love them and support them and that they're doing a good job. It doesn't require skywriting and a marching band to tell your husband he did a good job at something. Your actions and your words tell the story. If you believe he's a bumbling idiot, you're going to notice him bumbling like an idiot. If you think he's a fairy tale prince, you're going to notice all the wonderful, princely things he does. Try to think of him as the latter and see what happens. A man who is secure in the love of his wife will do a lot of good.

I'm not going to pretend to be some expert on marriage. After all, I've only been married five years and we've not had all the ups and downs some marriages have. But I know the man I married—the man I chose. Proverbs 5:18 says, "May your fountain be blessed and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth." My husband often says, "I love you. You're the wife of my youth!" Not sure if he's being sweet or if he's just reminding himself that this newly-wrinkled, post-childbearing wife of his is still the girl he married...

I think the concept can apply to our husbands as well. He is the husband of your youth. Both of you will change and grow over the course of your marriage, but he's still the man you chose. Be nice to him, especially in front of other people.

And especially in front of me. I'll call you on it. Starting now.

6 comments:

  1. I agree with you 100%. I always think that of women who talk badly about their hubby's - YOU married him - who's the dummy????? Granted, there are times when I vent to my BFF about something my hubby does that bugs me, but we both have an understanding that we love our hubby's and we're not perfect either. :) Great post.

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  2. I'm here because I saw your comment to Melinda @ Parenting Confessions. And I cannot agree with you more! Women (granted, not all) have increasingly become publicly critical, sometimes downright disrespectful of their husbands, and this post is a GREAT reminder and wake-up call. Loved this post so much - consider me a new follower. :)

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  3. Hey lady! I'm glad to see that you are writing again. A friend of mine just pointed out to me how lately the media portrays most men and almost all characters playing husbands as bumbling idiots. I like seeing the stronger female roles but what is it telling the men?

    I think the flip side to women in real life talking about how stupid their husbands are is the flip side to men talking about how awful their wives are. My husband often tells me of lunch table discussions of how bad wives cook and awful they are in general with the "itch" word thrown around as if it were endearing. Unfortunately, for whatever reason this is how marriage is defined for them. You're supposed to talk about how stupid your husband is and what a battle ax your wife is. As a Libra I'm more suited for mutual respect and adoration.

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  4. Rachel,
    This post is awesome ... such an excellent point and so well said. I always cringe when I hear women berate their husbands in public. My husband sure ain't perfect (we're alike that way!) but I don't know how announce his shortcomings in public accomplishes anything, but making you look like a jerk and damaging your relationship with your husband. I know women love to talk, but sometimes we should just be quiet! ;0)

    Thanks for referencing my post ... I'm honored!

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  5. Hey Rachel,
    Just saw this when reading the link to your blog you posted today. I loved reading this and thought it was very true. I find it sad that so many women "expect/think" so little of their husbands, but I am not surprised when it turns out to be true for them at the end of the day. And like you learn in almost any Christian marriage class or book...men need respect from their wives and women need love from their husbands more than pretty much anything else. Anyway, don't want to babble, just wanted to say thanks for sharing this post!

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  6. Gosh, it sounds like God has graced you with an exceptional husband. When life is good, I think it is easy to place high expectations on others who aren't handling their overwhelming disappointments too gracefully. Consider a woman who lives with a high standard of living in a home that meets all her needs, maybe more, looking down on a woman who laments over her family's life in a house with a dirt floor and a leaking roof. I think it is important to take the time to put one's self in other women's shoes before a finger is pointed.

    I had a dream father and I feel such anguish when I hear so many stories about abusive, careless, or absent fathers. I had no idea the treasure of a father I had in my youth! I never found the dream husband myself, although that was what I was expecting because of my childhood. Imagine the anguish I went through getting caught up in my naivety in an abusive marriage. I thought all men were much like my father. Often when women are venting it is because there is a wound that has been created. The ordinary male can leave a woman feeling very unloved and uncared for.

    I agree complaining may not be the wisest thing to do and definitely not kosher to berate your spouse, or any person. But speaking salt and light into that woman's situation takes real finesse to not hurt her in the process.

    Another way of looking at it. God bless you in your blogging Rachel!

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