I have no cute photo to go with this post. My husband is outside practicing his golf swing, my children are snug in their beds, and I just finished soaking in a long bubble bath.
I wasn’t going to write tonight, but I lay in the water and felt so strongly that I needed to get out and write about what I was conversing with God with. And I feel a little nervous about this post because it’s a little personal, but I can’t keep ignoring what I’m being told to do.
So here I am.
I hope my sharing this helps someone else out there.
For a month or so, my husband has seemed really…what’s the word…dejected, maybe? He has had such a … I’m really at a loss for words to describe it. The only thing that keeps popping in my mind is: “bad attitude” over and over. And I guess you could say that it is. It’s a bad attitude. And for the longest time, I didn’t understand it.
One night we were sitting at the kitchen table, and I said “I am worried about you. What is going on? Why do you have such a bad attitude lately?” And the first thing he said was: “I feel like I can’t win. I feel like I am constantly apologizing to everyone, all the time…like I’m failing at everything.”
It hurts to hear someone you love say that. And even though my heart sunk for him, I have to admit that my first reaction (in my mind) was: What the heck?! You just spent four hours playing golf on a sunny day, without a care in the world! No kids to look after, nowhere else to be, no one else to answer to, no certain time to be home! You have an incredible life!
But, instead of saying that, I just prayed for God to help me understand. For the next hour, I sat and listened to how my husband was feeling, I tried so hard to see it, to see the reasoning behind those feelings, but I couldn’t. I just could not understand. His feelings were not his reality, and I sat there trying to wrap my brain around it. By the end of the conversation, I still couldn’t understand. I just sat and listened. There were some things that he said that were really hard for me to take, some things that just plain hurt my feelings, but the conversation wasn’t about me. It was about him. And I needed to understand how and why he was feeling this way. Something needed to change.
The next morning, I sat at my kitchen table, Joseph in the seat next me clearing out his bowl of grits. My Bible was open and last night’s conversation was on my heart. I prayed for God to please show me how my husband was feeling so that I could understand and begin to help my husband.
I thumbed through, reading scripture I’d underlined years ago. I came across this verse in Mark 6: 4-5:
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” 5He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6He was amazed at their lack of faith.
Jesus had traveled back to his home town to preach in the synagogue, but the people from his hometown only viewed him as the carpenter they once knew. He could not do any miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Now think about my husband.
Our home is supposed to be a safe place for him, a retreat from the outside world. He is the head of our household, the father of my children. And as his wife, what am I doing to honor him? How am I showing that I have faith in him so that miracles can happen in our home? And if he isn’t getting honor and encouragement from me, where will he get it? Who else is going to give it to him?
Something that I have gotten better about is complaining. I try not to complain about things anymore. And by “complaining”, I mean any negative talk. For example:
My husband picks a restaurant he thinks I’ll like. After we leave, he asks me how I liked my dinner. I say “It was okay BUT…the waiter took forever, my food wasn’t really hot, BUT it was okay.”
How my husband sees the above commentary: “You couldn’t even pick a restaurant I like.”
And so, the negative talk has gone down a lot…but what’s taken it’s place is silence. And the Lord says to me: “Being silent is the easy part. It’s taking the complaint or negativity, and turning it back into a praise or a compliment that’s harder.”
While I’m not complaining as much, my husband has taken this silence as a blanket of failure over his efforts all the same.
If a man is not winning in his own home, he will not win anywhere.
I cannot sit here and micromanage how my husband spends time with our children. I cannot ask him to please do something for me, then comment on the way he did it. I cannot ignore (or be silent about) any small act of kindness or thoughtfulness he gives to me. I cannot think a compliment in my head, and not say it aloud to my husband. I cannot ask him to build something for me, then turn around and critique every little flaw.
And no, I am not the only reason my husband has been feeling dejected lately, but I sure as heck can help.
As wives, we have the power in our words and actions to build our husbands up. It all starts with us. They leave us in the morning and come home to us in the evening. Let’s not forget what a gift that is.
Our men need to be praised. For every small thing. They need to hear us talking them up to our friends and relatives. They need us to brag on them in public and in private. They need to go out of the front door in the morning with the feeling that they can conquer the world.
And I’m not perfect. And it is a process. But little by little, I am trying.
May our hearts keep no small offense, but take it and let it roll right off our backs. May our hearts seek our husband’s happiness before our own. May we go forth into the next week with kind, affirming words for our husbands.
And for every complaint, may I offer up two praises to my husband. Sheesh, this wife stuff is hard.