Friday, July 18, 2008

Savoring a Cup of Tea: Womanly Advice

Betsy and I have from time to time complained about our husbands, and the lack there-of when we need help :-). What wife doesn't, right?! Well, I get emails from a forum through a homeschool curriculum place. I thought what this lady had to say was excellent (and I don't normally read these things.) So I am pasting it here. As a disclaimer...Betsy and I haven't complained this bad, and we weren't about to leave our husbands. This was written in response to a woman who was considering leaving or divorce. Enjoy.

"I know what it is like to be married to a workaholic husband. My husband used to think of nothing else but work, and any free time was spent serving others at church and in the community, or playing golf, etc. Right after we found out I was pregnant with my middle child, he took a six month assignment out of the country in order to advance his career. I was late being taken to the hospital to be induced with two of my pregnancies because he was working. I remember begging him one morning to help me--he left and went to the gym. I could go on and on. Not because my husband is a bad husband--he's actually a good one--but just to say I know where you are coming from. It is easy to start feeling unloved when a husband places priority on work over family.

It wasn't until I started hanging out online that I realized some husbands would not work and provide for their families. Knowing that my husband went out and worked and actually brought his money home while others either sat at home or gambled their money away sure gave me some perspective. Knowing that my husband actually was at a home owners meeting or playing golf instead of having an affair really gave me some perspective.

I also got some wise advice from women who are happily married who encouraged me to stop thinking of myself and start thinking of my husband. I stopped nagging. I started smiling. I tried to make things easy on him when he came home instead of wanting him to help me. I started overlooking his faults and being thankful for his strengths. I began to realize that many of the things I was upset about were due to his way of dealing with the pressure and stress he was feeling. My husband once confessed to me that he felt like he was a failure and like he was in a "pit of self loathing." And here I was piling it on about his faults. That sure didn't help much. Your husband may be feeling the same--for many men, work and TV and computer are an escape.

It has been a long journey, but my marriage and home are totally different now. My husband has voluntarily stopped working insane hours. He has cut all of his outside commitments. He even cut out all of his church activities, telling them he needed to invest in his family. When people ask him to go play golf or something, he makes up an excuse. The only reason that change came about is because I started making an effort to make home a place he wanted to be.

I used to complain that my husband never helped me, but now he voluntarily does a lot around the house. Sometimes he'll go get groceries on his way home from work or at night after I've gone to bed. He'll fold a load of laundry. He'll clean the kitchen. This change didn't come about because of me making any demands on him. It started with a change in me.

I would encourage you to pray for your husband. Start seeing good in him. Start thinking of ways you can be a help to him. Put the clothes away for him. Help him interact healthily with the kids. Help the kids learn to respect and serve him. Thank him for working so hard for you. Look for things to thank him for. If your husband wants to eat dinner in front of the TV, get your dinner and go sit with him. Recognize that he is also feeling stress and pressure. Forgive him for the many mistakes he has made.

It sounds like you've had an extremely difficult time, but the Lord has and can continue to sustain you. It sounds like your husband has made some bad financial decisions. It sounds like your husband is not perfect. None of our husbands are perfect. You aren't perfect either. You cannot force your husband to change. Your attitude toward your husband is the only thing you can change.

It sounds like you married a good man and he is struggling right now. You married him for better or worse. It doesn't sound to me like you have grounds to leave him, and I don't think you'll find things any easier as a single mother.

There are many scriptures on marriage which I'm sure you are aware of, but also think of these:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

1 Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."


Betsy said...

Great post! I think it makes a HUGE difference when we start looking for all the many things we have to be thankful for (just finished that chapter in FP) instead of looking to complain and this of course applies to our husbands (and our children) as well as to any circumstance. It's amazing what our attitudes as wives and mothers does for our homes.

Bridgette Boudreaux said...

I love when Dr. Laura will ask her listeners, "Would you want to come home to you?". Makes us look at ourselves in the mirror and think long and hard about what type of home we are creating for our kids and our hubbies!