I have a challenge for all of us...all of us women, all of us wives.
It's happening more and more every day. I hear it from friend after friend after friend.
"Well, I think I made a mistake. He's just not the man I thought I was marrying."
Oh, there's a myriad of reasons...not passionate enough, not a good enough friend, not a good enough provider...he's a pig...he's not a good spiritual leader...he's floundering as a father....everything he does annoys me...
...hopefully you get the jist.
Well, LADIES!!...I have a thought. (And as I'm sure you're well aware by now...that means I'm going to share it.)
I think it's time that we shed the shackles of the messages that we are bombarded with every single day! It's time to think of things in a new light.
Think about the message of society:
- If you need someone to love you, then you are not adequately loving yourself. i.e. You are incomplete, and to want to be in relationship is selling out.
- If you need someone to tell you good things about yourself, then you have an ill-formed and inadequate self-image. You obviously don't respect yourself, and you are less than what you ought to be.
- If you are not a lone wolf...and happy being one...you are needy, weak...hysterical.
- Loneliness is a form of mental instability.
Ok...now that everyone is listening...go back, read through the list again...and pretend you are a man.
A year or so before I married my husband, I was at a friend's wedding. I remember the exact string of words that came out of the pastor's mouth, as he was addressing the bride. He told her...
"Your husband will live up to...or down to...whatever you believe about him. It doesn't make sense, it doesn't seem fair. But, it's the truth. You can take a man without much potential, and give him a mate that believes he can do anything...and he will be able. You can take a very capable man, mate him to a woman who believes that he is lesser...and he will come to believe it also."
I heard that, and it rang through my ears like a gong.
That's a lot of responsibility. That's a lot of pressure! Could it be true?
All you need, is to look at the beginning. When the world was perfect...when there was no sin...when there was nothing to be upset about...when Adam walked with God...God recognized a loneliness in him. BEFORE THE FALL OF THE WORLD...God recognized the need for man to have a relationship...OUTSIDE of his relationship with the Father.
It's important, people! The marriage relationship took shape before the fall of mankind. So, maybe the message that we need to not need anyone is a bunch of rubbish? Maybe it's a big, fat lie to put wedges in between people, so that resentment and bitterness take root and ruin lives?
Men need relationship. They need us to be their helpmates. They need our encouragement and our respect...even if, and ESPECIALLY if...they don't deserve it.
Guess what...even Adam...who walked with God...was taken down by the words of a woman.
Now, certainly...his sin played a role. He didn't stand on what he knew to be the truth. But, what I want to emphasize is this: even the guy who didn't have to guess at God's will...the guy who SAW God, and talked to Him on a daily basis, the guy who didn't HAVE TO go on faith....HIS WIFE'S WORDS had enough weight with him to make him act against what he knew was right!
This is not a new concept, ladies...we have to understand this!
What a woman says TO her husband, ABOUT her husband, AROUND her husband...even how she speaks of him WHEN HE'S NOT AROUND...it holds tremendous weight!!
Your husband does not live in a society that celebrates the man. "Man-ness" has been replaced in the psychological hierarchy by femininity. Oh, yes it has...just think about it. This society wants men to be in touch with their feminine side...to communicate for hours, to dress a little more civilized...to be a little softer...to be well groomed...to be sensitive and equal-minded....etc. etc. etc.
Oh yes...most of these things are good things...at first glance. But, beat this into the male psyche over and over and over...make sure that their warrior spirits are downplayed and their built-in need to provide for their family is looked at as sexist or "old-fashioned" at best...make sure they know that their gender is not well appreciated...and all of sudden...
we've diminished male-ness...and we're left wondering "where have all the men gone?".
Haven't you heard...having 2 genders is discriminatory. Oh...you hadn't heard? Yes...yes, you have. They just get you to believe a little at a time, until you don't realize what you are hearing.
So, then...can we really be that surprised that our husbands are all of a sudden not everything that we truly need? We've shot ourselves in the foot, here.
Ok, seriously...I can go on and on. I'm really just wanting to put out some food for thought.
What I really want to do is this: I want to challenge all the women who might possibly read this...
Be the biggest cheerleader in your husband's life. Be in his corner. Protect his reputation...even from his own inner demons. Appoint yourself the champion of his worth. Decide that no matter what the world tells him...you will tell him better.
For some, this is going to take some choking down of a big hunk of pride. It may be well-deserved and very much appropriate. Stick with me here...I'm asking you to drop it. Just like that. Drop it.
You may very well have to lie at first. Oh, faint! Get over it.
Speak to your husband as if he is already meeting the need that you are so desperate to get met. If you are angry with him for being lazy...tell him as many times as you can how much you appreciate the hard work he does...and how you don't know what you'd do without him. If you have been at odds with your husband...stop during the evening, look him in the eye...and tell him you are so glad that you are on the same side...how you love that you are in eachother's corners. Say these things through gritted teeth, if you need to...but, if you want to fix an ailing marriage...I'm telling you ...this is the secret.
You have a choice: Build him up or tear him down. When you looked into his eyes and said your vows...did you intend to choose tearing down? My guess is no.
I have people scoff at me all the time about this. "Why should I have to do this for him? He's the one who makes me feel like crap and doesn't say nice things to me!" My response is usually along the lines of..."do you want to argue semantics, or do you want to have a happy marriage?" It's time to get bold about this. This is something I do a lot. And, no, I'm not playing games with my husband. Most of the time, I realize that I am actually reminding myself of what the truth really is...because, usually I am the one who has been dwelling on his shortcomings.
No matter what the situation is in your home...go first. Women are just better at relational issues. It comes naturally to us. So, we can either belly-ache over the fairness, like we're in second grade...or we can get to the business of getting happy...making our marriages whole again. Dare I say...helping your husband to be whole, again? Your need will be met...and you know what? You won't care who made the first move...because you will have realized that the power of life and death is on your tongue...and, that you have used it for life.
Give it 3 tries. Watch the change in your husband. Watch him walk taller...watch him become more affectionate. Watch him become who you are needing him to be. It shouldn't be that shocking...you know how it feels when he recognizes and voices appreciation for you. If he doesn't...I'm willing to bet he probably will after this:)
Lastly...make it a priority to be concerned about your husband's heart. If you're not on his side...who is? I guarantee it's not the world he lives in.
You have the power to get your peace back...the first step is remembering how to speak it.
Just so you know...my husband is a pillar of man-ness, whose masculinity has, in no way been diminished. However, he too is subject to the building up or tearing down of my words. He has experienced both. Every time he has experienced the tearing down...our marriage has been torn down as well.