You see, while I have lots and lots (and lots and lots) of thoughts and ideas swirling around in my head, seeing them on paper (or a screen) and then allowing others to actually read them is something entirely different than sharing them over the phone with a friend or before going to bed with my husband. So, I like to have someone I know (and who knows me) read through it and provide feedback.
Anyway, moving on to the point of this record breaking post. After he finished reading it, he sounded a little disappointed as he remarked that I only talked about our children. Of course my first response was, oh no, I had done something "wrong." He said that wasn't the case. He did say that he had been "looking forward" to reading what I had to say regarding husbands. After only a little more badgering of him, by me, to make sure that his feelings weren't hurt, I began to think of what I would say...about husbands.
My first comment to my own husband was that I didn't often use the word "but" when telling him "I love you." At least not with my words. I told him that our "buts" (because honestly, we both add them) have more to do with our thoughts and attitudes toward each other and are often communicated much more subtly.
Here is an example from my own life and marriage. Before continuing, I have the confidence to share this because Jesus has been teaching and showing me that WE ARE ALL THE SAME AT OUR CORE. And, therefore, those who know me will not think less of me because they likely have found themselves thinking something similar! At least I'm praying that is so! : )
Well, it all goes back to Proverbs 19:11 again (NIV, 1984). Here it is, to refresh our memories...A man’s wisdom gives him patience;
it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
It also involves 1 Corinthians 13:5 (Amplified)It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
Or in the NIV, 1984 translation:It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Imagine, you've had a hard day and the children, well let's just say you've been a referee more times than you'd like to remember. There are 2 loads of laundry piled on your couch or maybe your bed, you have not gotten dinner started yet, and your husband should be home in less than 10 minutes.
As he walks in the door, he mentions that he has a meeting he forgot about and will not be having dinner with you. He apologizes, but says he'll be home by 8 pm. He spends some time with the children, and then out the door he goes.
You fix a quick dinner. Hot dogs aren't that bad for you, right? A few carrot sticks to add a vegetable and dinner is served. As you eat dinner, each of your children ask you when Daddy will be home at least a handful of times. Clean up is quick. You tell the children that if they put their jammy's on quick you'll play a game with them before bed.
(See in my mind I'm thinking, okay, if I get them into bed by 7:30, then I get a half hour to myself before my husband gets home. Because the Lord knows that I have not had a half hour to myself all day long.)
So, the children are off to bed. It's 7:30, just like you planned, and you sit down to have some quiet time. Perhaps to send an email. Perhaps to call a sister or friend. Perhaps to read your devotional because you never had time to read it since your children were up before you were and every time you sat down for quiet time something erupted in another room. Whew, that was a long breath!
You're looking forward to those 30 minutes to unwind before your husband gets home. You begin to get involved in whatever you have chosen to do and hear the garage door go up. A quick look at the clock let's you know that it's only 7:45 pm. What happens next?
(You would think that I'd be happy, right? I mean, you haven't seen him all day and now he's home earlier than he told you. But no. Something inside is grumpy. He's encroaching on my time. Here I've finally sat down, and now I'm losing time to do what I want to do.)
He comes in and you are less than friendly. He wonders what is wrong. How do you tell him that you would have been much happier to see him...if he had gotten home at 8:00 like he had said? How do you tell him it's the first quiet moment you've had all day? How do you tell him you love him...but wish he wasn't home yet?
I'd like to say that this type of thing is way in my past. I can say that I'm recognizing it more often and stopping my "unfriendliness" before it leads to a misunderstanding. My husband knows me. He wants what is best for me. He knows that our warrior likes to talk. A lot. He also knows that this constant chatter wears on me, intrudes on my thinking time, and can lead to a very grumpy wife if I go too long without some quiet and solitude. (Our summer vacation in 2010 showed him that. Our princess seems to have a similar "quiet thinking" personality.)
When I behave in that way, I am holding him responsible for something he has no control over. I am keeping a "record of wrong" which has been allowed to grow and blossom in my mind and is completely unfounded! (Sometimes, I even start "comparing" him to other husbands, real and fictional, who seem to always do the "right" thing.) I need to remember 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV, 1984) when this happens:
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Here is the TRUTH I need to remember: My husband is a godly man. He is seeking to live more like Christ each day. He is learning how to love me as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25).
So, what do I do? I remember that he is on my side. If I explain to him, perhaps ahead of time, that it's been a really long day, and I've not gotten much quiet or time to myself, he will help me find a solution. I know he will. Because as the years have gone by, I realize that he has a LOT of good ideas. And a lot of times, he can help me see the forest from the trees.
However, I need to do a few things. I need to actually SEEK HIS ADVICE and then LISTEN TO WHAT HE HAS TO SAY...without interrupting. (I also need to clearly articulate the problem at hand, but that is another post.) That means I have to lay down my pride in "knowing" how to do everything around our home. It also means that I need to keep my mouth closed and listen, without formulating a "rebuttal" in my head as he speaks.
To close, I would like to say that I can not do these things on my own. Often I find myself praying...
Lord, help me to really listen to what my husband is saying. Let me have an open mind and really hear his perspective. Jesus, please give my husband wisdom and guidance in leading our family. And help me to stay under his authority, because you have placed him over me for my protection.