Friday, December 18, 2009

Decode Your Husband - Part One

Hey Ladies. Well, in about an hour, the kids will be home until January 4th. What will we do all day, everyday? LOL I can't seem to get everything done now, how will I get my work done & hang with the kids? I have a feeling that next week will be the week that I start going to the gym! I will need a few hours of sanity each day. What kinds of plans do all of you have for your children while they are home for the holiday?

The other day we talked about C-H-A-I-R-S. This is an extremely important topic & one that will require lots of practice over time. Many of you have asked, "Now that we know that we need to show respect (not love) to our husbands, how exactly do we do that?" I think that it would be good to break each part down a little deeper so that we can all have a greater understanding. If there are this many steps to decoding our husbands, can you imagine the work that they have cut out for them to decode us? Yikes! Actually, we will get into that lesson later down the road. Right now, we want to keep our focus on ourselves & we can can better our behavior. We will cover this particular lesson in three parts. Today we will do the C & H, Monday will be the A & I, & Tuesday will be the R & S. Otherwise, you will be reading for 20 minutes today. We want to keep small, manageable lessons. Ready?

Conquest - If he feels that his work is unappreciated, you'll hear about it.

"Then the Lord God took the man & put him into the Garden of Eden to cultivate & keep it." But God still had more plans for Adam's work: "Then the Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him". (Genesis 2:15-18)

When his wife is his suitable helper, his companion to stave off loneliness, & a supporter of his pursuits in the workplace, a husband feels respected. But when a wife's attention & energy are drawn from her husband, she may here him saying things that sound unloving to her. Such as.."The kids....Your focus is always on them. I'm happy that you are a great mom, but what about us?" This probably sounds unloving to you, doesn't it? You might even think that he is being selfish by saying, "What about ME?" It won't do any good for you to shout back with, "It's all about you. I am doing the best that I can!" Her husband's comment sounded critical, but what his heart was really saying was, "What happened to the cheerleader I knew during our courtship - the girl who believed in me & made me feel as if I could conquer the world?" Here are some responses that you could try that will help to keep you off of the crazy cycle.

"Honey, you're right. I get too preoccupied with the children. Will you forgive me?"

"You've made it possible for me to be a full-time mom. I am so sorry if I ever made you feel like only a meal ticket. How can I change?"

"I'm so proud of what you are doing at work. I tell everybody except you. That will change - starting right now."

"Let's set aside some time tonight just for us. I want to hear about what's been happening at work."

"The Bible says Eve was Adam's suitable helpmate. Am I your suitable helpmate? What could I do to be better at that?"

"I feel bad that you are frustrated at work, but I believe in you & I am behind you all the way."

There are many ways to send an energizing message to our husbands. How it should be expressed is a matter of personal taste. That is why I gave so many examples. Our children are important to us & they should be. I think that sometimes we feel that our husbands can fend for themselves, while our children can't because they are too small. We push our husbands out of the way for what we feel is more important (the children). However, the Bible tells us that our order should be God, our marriage, our children, & then our jobs. Our husbands helped to create our children, they allowed us to be moms in the first place, they help to provide or do all of the providing for our families. Without our husbands, our family, & possibly our security would be destroyed. Don't we owe it to him to decode his thoughts before we just assume that he is being critical of us & pouncing on him? Don't we owe it to him to respect him for what HE does for our family? Why do we make our job seem so much more important?

Hierarchy - If his desire to protect is being squelched, he may send a coded message.

In Ephesians 5:22-23 Paul lays down a dimension of God's call on the wife that can be controversial in today's culture. He writes: "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church...." As explained in Love & Respect, when a wife willingly places herself under her husband's protection & provision, he feels respected. But, when a wife complains that her husband is not providing what she wants or blames him for her fears or insecurities concerning the finances, he may come back with a comment like, "Quit complaining. You're a nag. Nothing that I do is good enough. You are never satisfied. You are a worrywart. If you don't like what I earn, then why don't you go back to school & improve your career options so that I can live off of you!"

Of course, these comments will sound unloving to us, if we don't take a minute to decode what our husband is really saying. Consider for a moment that your husband already knows that what he is doing is not enough to provide all that is needed. That he is worried too & doesn't know where else to turn. What your husband is really trying to say is, "I'm supposed to be the head of this family & it is often a little scary. I'm trying to be responsible & you could help me by telling me that you respect my desire to provide for you."

Headship can be a touchy subject in some marriages, but a wife who is willing to decode her husband's words may figure out that he feels like his position as head of the family is being threatened or ignored. Here are some energizing responses to get you thinking in the right direction.....

"Honey, I'm sorry for coming across in a way that belittles you. This has nothing to do with you. These are my fears rooted in my childhood. Will you forgive me?"

"Have I ever told you how safe I feel with you? I like that feeling a lot."

"I often thank the Lord for how you protect & provide for me & the kids. I am sorry if I am not telling you enough."

"When I realize that you would die for me if necessary, I am overwhelmed. Thank you!"

"I am so thankful I am married to a responsible man. It means a lot to me."

"Honey, I complain too much & I don't say I respect you often enough. I apologize."

Our husbands need to be seen as our protectors & providers for the family. We should not ignore this need as it is deep within our husbands & needs to be met.

Both of these examples today have been an issue before in my own home. They created more crazy cycle moments than I care to share. I have seen a tremendous change in Adam & in myself since we have been more aware of each other's needs, desires, & what it means to understand & decode each other. It isn't always easy, but if we just remember that we are both good-willed people who love each other, it is much easier to not take offense & figure out how to diffuse the problem. It is such an amazing feeling when your efforts are successful & you can laugh & remember how that conversation would have previously gone!

Day Fourteen - 

"The righteous man walks in his integrity...." (Proverbs 20:7a)

Every week there are news reports about men who gave into temptations & compromised what they said that they believed. We hear countless reports about dishonest business dealings, hidden infidelity, & hypocritical leaders. It's so easy to focus on these things & ignore those who are being honest, faithful, & genuine. As you continue in this 30 day challenge, determine to look for ways that your husband stands out against culture. 

Is your husband a man of integrity? Is he fair in his dealings with people? Does he understand the meaning of justice? Is he honest in business? Unhypocritical in his faith? Consider all of the ways a man can live in integrity, & praise your husband for one of them. 

As you have the opportunity - as it is appropriate - share examples of your husband's honesty & integrity with others. 

Day Fourteen Prayer - 

Pray that your husband will cultivate strong integrity, & not compromise his convictions. Pray that his testimony will be genuine, that he will be honest in his business dealings, & will never do anything that he needs to hide from others. (Proverbs 20:7; 1 Timothy 1:5, 3:7; Ephesians 6:10-12)

Aimee Freeman


Carrie said...

Thank you for sharing this - we started reading the love & respect book, and really liked it, but haven't had time to finish it. Our 2nd child is due any day (well, today), and I know these next few weeks will be crazy, but I need to focus on my Hubby, too - I really liked the order of priorities - God, hubby, kids - so true & so easy to forget! Thank you for these practical tips & ideas of what to say. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this little series. I started reading the Love and Respect book and I wondered "How can I show Respect practically?" Definitely some things to think about with what you posted today. Looking forward to the rest of the series next week!

~ Carrie ~

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