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Archive for August 22nd, 2008

My answer to the latest from Doug Phillips’ blog.

Real wives, enter here. Uber-militant-patriarchalists, beware. Anne Basso is writing this blog post, and her words are real, but difficult for the hyper-pats. Anne is part of the league of White Washed Feminist bloggers, and the following is just some plain old girlfriend advice.

12 Things We Should Do As Wives:

1. We should know that we and our husbands chose of our own free will to pursue a life with one another. You are not his child and should not be treated as such. I’ve found the best way to continue to receive that kind of respect from my husband is to give it. Just as I am not his child who needs her day mapped out for her and her tasks set, neither is he mine. We must strive to treat each other like the adults we both are.

2. Be respectful of where he is spiritually. In some homes wives are the more spiritual and/or the more knowledgeable of the two. That’s not something to be ashamed of or hide from him. Nor is it something to be prideful about. The best decisions in a home, spiritual or otherwise, are best made between husbands and wives as a team. With both parties input and acceptance, things go off so much better. I think I would be quite irked by a husband who acted like my spiritual better when we are both equal before Christ. Likewise, I will treat him with the same respect.

3. Be yourself. If you are naturally gregarious and your husband is quiet, you do NOT have to be silent simply because that’s his nature. Now, granted, we also shouldn’t be rude. Talking over someone or interrupting them is rude and it should go without saying that we should give our husbands the same respect we’d give anyone else. Being a talker in no way means that you’re speaking for the family. And remember, your husband married you. Whether you’re quiet or a talker, he loves you and doesn’t want you to be someone you are not.

4. Speak of him respectfully to others. I always try to imagine what I’d like my husband to say about me while he’s at work and I try to speak similarly about him. I’m blessed to have a fantastic husband and I like that people know that. When we have a personal issue it’s just that: personal.

5. Remember why you love him. I think it’s easy to get bogged down in the day to day of living and forget what drew us to our husbands in the first place. There are a thousand things I love about my husband and when I take the time to remember them, it softens me. And the more kindness, thoughtfulness, and respect I offer to him, the more of those things he offers to me in return. That allows our marriage to be one of mutual giving and sacrifice for one another.

6. Learn how to talk to your husband. If I ask my husband to do something and he agrees but doesn’t do it, I want to find a way to remind him without making him defensive. A “Hey, honey, thank you for helping get the kids to bed. I noticed that the trash wasn’t out, can I help you with that?” goes over so much better than a “Why didn’t you take the trash out? I told you I needed that done!”. I find that when I approach my husband the right way, it almost always avoids an argument and gets things done. I think part of that is also remembering that we’re on the same side, not opposite ones.

7. Remind your husband of why you love him. I think marriage grows through mutual nurturing. Kind of like a garden. He should always know why he’s special to you.

8. Approach is important for many things in marriage. And if there is a time that you must bring some behavior or issue to his attention, think in advance about how you want to approach it. Think about why he might be doing what he’s doing, or what his thought process is. Even if you disagree, knowing where he’s coming from will help when you want to discuss it. And I think one should always make it a discussion. Putting him on the defensive will not help at all.

9. Speak wisely. I really hate being told to hold my tongue. I have just as much right to my thoughts and opinions as a man does. That doesn’t mean that it’s always wise to say so. This goes hand and hand with approach. When we choose our words carefully, we have a much better chance of engaging in conversations that help our family, make it stronger, resolve a conflict, or find an answer than if we just say the first thing that pops in to our heads.

10. It’s totally okay to have things that are his and yours. I love certain movies, novels, tea, games, etc. which my husband has absolutely no interest in. And vice versa. I encourage him in his interests because they make him happy. He does likewise for me. There’s nothing wrong with that. Those things that enrich us at the very least give us something to talk about. I don’t have to pretend I’m interested in golf, nor does he have to pretend he’s interested in my latest novel. That said, we do need activities that we do together. I hear of couples who grow apart, and I’ve learned that growing together takes work and time. It’s worth it to invest the time and energy into growing together. But you don’t have to do that by being interested in all the same things he is. Like I said earlier, be yourself. He loves you.

11. The marriage comes first. One day my children will move out and I will live out my days with my husband. It is important that we nurture the marriage relationship because it is stability for ourselves, our children, and because it needs to last. My marriage is built on the rock of our faith, and our family is built on the foundation of our marriage. That must be tended to and cared for. My husband and I both make sacrifices in order to meet the needs of our children. But I try to be careful to make sure my husband understands that he is a priority and that his needs will also be met as he in turn does for me.

12. Remember that your character far outshines your exterior. Beauty is more than skin deep. Your husband cares more about how you treat your marriage and family than whether or not you’re wearing lipstick or that last baby has added a few pounds to your middle. Caring for one another as precious children of God creates a connection that goes beyond what you’re wearing, how you’ve fixed your hair, or if you’ve applied make-up.

Marriage is a beautiful relationship made up of mutual sacrifice, love, and care. It’s two imperfect people loving someone each other selflessly. While I have focused here on what we women should do, I think it’s all pretty applicable to husbands, too. We all falter. We all make mistakes. Marriage involves two sinners, after all. But it’s worth it. We make mistakes, and we forgive each other. Most importantly, I refuse to see marriage as a list of don’ts. I refuse to see it in negative terms at all. Marriage is a gift that God has given us so that we won’t be alone. We should cherish that gift being positive in thought and charitable in word and deed. And we should receive that in return.

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Here’s a real gem from the Bayly Blog… Its not the poem, so much, as the comments below it.  All points indicate to the Bayly brothers’ obsession with being the boss.  If you have to keep reminding people that you’re in charge, you aren’t doing a very good job leading.

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