Several years ago, I stumbled upon the book Love and Respect by Emerson Egrich. Mike and I were traveling to the beach and sometimes when we travel, I read in the van. Sometimes even out loud to him while he drives. Funny snippets of things or "Is this really true?" kind of things. Anywho, I was reading that book and I swear to you, a light turned on in my life. We're driving down I-65 and I'm going, "Mike. Is this true??? Is this really true??? Is this what men need????" And he was like "YES!" and "YES!" and "YES" and I was like "OH MY GOODNESS!!! No wonder we've been in a state of frustration for all of these years!!!"
I desperately WANTED to be a good wife. No. A great wife. Everything I do, I want to do it well. Like, totally rock it. I'm sure you feel the same. But I was not rocking the wife role and for the life of me could NOT figure out what the dang problem even was, much less how to fix it!
And then TA-DA! Wisdom in that book, that comes straight out of the bible, changed EVERYTHING. Every last thing. It didn't fix us, but it sure changed my heart and totally started changing my reactions. It opened my eyes to a new way of living.
The bible says that husbands should Respect their wives and wives should Respect their husbands. I want to write about the "Wife respecting your husbands part." I feel like the other side of the coin is equally important, but I'll save it for another day.
Because I used to say, "Oh Michael, I just love you so, so, so much!"
But in the very next breath, I'd say things like.....
No. I don't want to do that.
No. We can't buy that.
Don't buy that either. Or that. No! Definitely not that! That's a big NO!
No. I don't really like that shirt. Or those pants for that matter.
No. I don't really like that business idea. Too risky! Way too risky!
No. Going on a weekend trip won't work.
No. We can just have dinner at home tonight.
No. She doesn't need that toy.
No. You probably shouldn't drink that drink.
You didn't mow the yard quite right.
This isn't really the gift that I wanted. I mean, close, but no cigar.
I know you've already planned that, but go ahead and cancel it. It doesn't work for me. For my idea of what would work for our budget.
Obviously, there were a lot of Yes! moments too, but even some of those were filled with hesitation.
I was always mad at him for NOT telling me his ideas in advance. But, HELLO! When you know most of your ideas are going to get shot down, you might as well just do it anyway and take the pain of the unhappy spouse - husband or wife. Husbands AND Wives are guilty of taking on this role.
Sometimes he'd say, I can't even talk to you. Before I even finish my sentence, you say NO. When I make plans, you want to change them. Or cancel them.
Here was the issue. I've been to church nearly every week of my entire life, but I haven't operated on FAITH. I've operated on fear and control. I had been so worried about keeping us financially sound, that I thought saying No to almost everything he suggested was the right thing. I thought I was doing us a huge favor to keep us on budget. I was more concerned with our money than our marriage. Not that we shouldn't make good choices with our money, we absolutely should, but we have to remember that God is in control. He gives and takes away. We have to be wise with what he entrust to us, but we must remember to value other people's ideas and plans too.
I did not respect his ideas. I didn't encourage him. I was honestly so worried about my our reputation holding up, that I never even considered that God had created him to do great things too! I did not put myself in his shoes. Or think from his perspective. I was far to prideful to think of letting him (or our children) fail. I acted like everyone's safety net at all times. I had the very BEST intentions, but that's just exhausting!
I didn't realize (Until I read another book, How We Love) that in his life, his experiences with feeling loved almost all centered around gifts that he'd been given. I'm always hauling stuff off to the Goodwill, so it got on my ever last nerve when he'd take the kids out for more DANG TOYS that we did not need! For the love, I was tired of picking up that junk! Never-mind that it brought him so much Joy to feel like he was loving our kids well or that it brought our kids so much joy. I sucked the joy out of more occasions than I can even bear to tell you about.
I was a jerk. Such a jerk!I hate that I was so selfish and self-centered and didn't stop to think about him or from his perspective. If you'd asked me, Are you selfish? I would have been like, Heck No! I'm the nicest gal around. My intentions were always good. I never ever ever for a second meant to be hurtful. I just totally missed that verse in Corinthians about "Love does not demand it's own way."
My not respecting my husband, was essentially shooting my own self in the foot. And creating a poor environment for my husband, myself, and our kids. I can't help but think, they were watching and likely thinking, Hmmm...do all of my ideas stink too??? Am I not worthy of these gifts??? I was sucking the Joy out of holidays, vacations, birthdays, etc, etc, etc for with my critical, controlling, know-it-all perspective. Even though I thought I was "saving"my family or just doing what was "RIGHT."
How do you fix it?????
You learn to pause and think before you speak. You might even say,
Let's think on that. or
Let's pray about that. or
Sure! Let's do it. or
I appreciate the way you love me and our kids so much. Even though I wouldn't choose it, I can live with it and be happy for other people.
It's not my cup of tea, but if it makes YOU happy, it makes ME happy, LET'S DO IT! or
I can't today, but if it's important to you, let's find a way to make it happen!
You put yourself in other people's shoes.
You consider what would make them happy.
You Humble yourself.
You swallow your pride.
You might even hold your breath and say, Go ahead! Start that business! Take a risk. And if they fail, you don't say "I told you so, but rather, It's okay baby. I believe in you. Get back up and try again.
I slowly realized that when you are married, two become one and when you hurt your spouse with your words or with your actions, you are hurting yourself.
If you want "Joy in the Chaos" you have to learn to Respect your Spouse.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. For man's anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires. James 1:19
Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up, according to their needs, that it might benefit those who listen.
Dear Children, let us not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence. John 3:18-19
1 Thessalonians 5:11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you , you should love each other. John 13:34