Thursday, July 29, 2010

How to Encourage the Man in Your Life- Chapter 4: Men Speak Out

As wives and mothers, it is so easy for us to get wrapped up in our list of things to do, the children, getting dinner on the table, having the laundry folded, the house clean, and groceries bought.  Many times without realizing it, we may push our husbands to the bottom of the list because "He's an adult, he can take care of himself."  However, when we married him, we were ready to lay aside every hindrance in our path just so we could care for this man that we had asked for. 

In this chapter, the men speak out and share how they feel about things they experience from their wives and how they would prefer to be treated.  They are not being unreasonable, demanding, or obnoxious in their requests.  In fact, the men who answered the questions allowed themselves to be vulnerable in order to give us as women a unique insight into their thoughts and feelings.  I am going to give you a just few of the situations mentioned and then the suggestion for correcting the problem.

If, after marriage a wife fails to share in her husband's vision or participate in it, or if she becomes apathetic toward his work, or even resentful of it, then that marriage will fall into deep trouble within a surprisingly short time. -Robert Lewis and William Hendricks from their book Rocking the Roles.

We need to remember that a man's identity many times is built by his work.  It gives his life purpose.  If we despise his work, in a sense, we are despising him.  All honest work is honorable, and we need to give honor to our husband for being willing to go out and be the bread winner (at least in our family that is how it is).  We need to encourage our husband to continue to do his best as even brag about him and what he does. 

One man said, "I long to be appreciated for who I am, especially at home.  I want to experience unconditional love at home- not just performance-based love."

We need to tell our husbands in some way everyday how much we appreciate and love them..  We need to do this when we are alone and especially when we are in front of our children.  They will grow up remembering how much their mother admired, appreciated, and loved their father which will help them respect him even more.  This is how I grew up, and because of that, I believed that my father was Superman.  As Brian walks to his van every morning, I make sure that he hears me tell Addie that Daddy goes to work so Mommy can stay home with Addie.  I make sure that she hears me tell Brian how wonderful I think he is and how much I love him.  I tell others (when Brian is in earshot) how gifted Brian is in his field and that he is the best technician in his company (he really is!).

One man said: "I would love my wife to give me a hug, a kiss (without having to ask for one or be the initiator), and ask me to share what is going on in my head."

For some of us, physical touch is not our primary love language, but it is something our husbands need.  A hug or kiss shows them that we are still attracted to them and that we still admire and desire them.  After all that our husbands experience in the work place, don't they deserve to come home and know that they will have these validation needs met.

As one man put it: "I need continual affirmation that I am a good father/husband.  I never had any training in being either one.  I guess I need the acknowledgement that I am doing the best I can, even if I don't quite measure up to all desires and expectations."

As women, we are not perfect (although we tend to think so and have excuses for why things are not up to our husband's expectations).  We need to allow some room for growth in our husbands.  When we see them making an attempt at bettering themselves, being critical, cutting, or sarcastic is not the response we need to give them.  By doing this, they will stop any future attempts at improvement because the attempts they have made are treated negatively.

Our husbands are human beings who have feelings that can be hurt.  They have hearts that need love.  God's Word says, "May words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord."  If we remember this verse as we speak to and think of our husbands, we will build up their spirits with the words we speak to them and build a love inside of our hearts towards them.  It is definitely worth the time and investment!


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