If I Wasn’t My Husband’s Wife

For those of you who don’t know my family, my husband’s name is John.  John is a pretty special guy.

A loyal husband and adoring father, he is determined to provide for our family, both materially and otherwise.  I know this for a fact, because in the time between leaving military service and being handed a lucrative job that took him away from us for 8 months a year, he began interviewing for entry-level jobs that he would then stack in order to continue our homeschooling lifestyle.  My husband is a provider.

I know that he is loyal to me, because there was a time when I had all but given up on him due to our inability to communicate and connect.  He never gave up on me, though, and we have grown stronger through the years by relying on the third person in our marriage – Jesus Christ.  My husband is loyal.

I know he is a great father, because I have seen him grow into that role.  He knew he had always wanted children, and he also knew that he had no idea how to be a good father.  He knew what kind of father he didn’t want to be though, so that is where he began.  He knew nothing of screaming infants and diaper changes, but after his initial anxiety he became a help in some of those times.  He flourished as the father of preschoolers, for his forte at the time was creating magical and hysterical stories off the top of his head, dressing up and playing make-believe, and playing at playgrounds as though he wasn’t a full-grown man.  He is hesitant for the final true years of childhood, because we are realizing more and more that being a young adult these days presents more and different challenges than we were faced with when we were going into middle school and high school.  Also, because we choose to follow Jesus as our Savior and example (don’t get me wrong, we fail every day), our standards for morality tend to be higher, as our culture continues to lower its own standards.  We  keep making an effort to pull together as husband and wife, showing our children that we are a team that often disagrees, yet remains unified.  My husband is a loving and devoted father.

But what if he wasn’t my husband?

What if I wasn’t his wife?

I would be hoping for a man like him.

Knowing what I know about him – the circumstances of his youth, his journey in becoming a man, his failures and successes – I would want to be his wife.  I would know that no matter how many times we failed each other, he would always be there, wanting to try again.

At this point in my considering his qualities, I am feeling humbled.  Am I still making the efforts that would be necessary in winning him over were I not his wife today?  If he and I were to meet today, would I have made enough effort in my conversation and appearance to encourage his getting to know me more deeply?  If I had to win over my husband today, could I?

On a practical level, this is how I am putting these musings to use…

In thought – Speak truth, seasoned with love, patience, and kindness.  Use discretion in speaking about others, and use words of encouragement.  If I am always negative of others, or putting others down, or using harsh/embarrassing speech, I could easily cause harm to his reputation or speak about him in the same way.

In deed – Before marriage, much thought went into outward appearance.  When getting ready each day, some of that effort should still be there, for he is still worth attracting.  Before marriage, much effort went into practicing good manners and learning to anticipate his needs and desires.  While those tasks can be exhausting and all but impossible while going about the day raising children and keeping our home, I can still try whenever possible.  He is worth whatever love-filled attempts I can muster.

For the wives reading this, I hope you will be encouraged to continue making an effort for your husbands, whatever that may mean to the two of you.

For the husbands reading this, consider what it might take to get your wife’s attention today, and what you would be willing to do to make her yours.  Then perhaps take small steps toward some of those things.  Surely she is worth it.

As always, please leave your thoughts below, I love reading them 🙂

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That old adage about more being caught than taught

There’s a poem written by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D., titled “Children Learn What They Live”.  You can find the book with the original work here, and a slightly different version of the poem follows below, shown on a lovely afghan:

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A disclaimer belongs here – this poem is often viewed as being somewhat humanistic.  I cannot wholly disagree with any part of it, though.  Too often our pride causes us to lash out in anger at the deficiencies we think we see in our children.  What will others think, right?  What will others say about us when we aren’t around?  Our insecurities about what we see wrong in ourselves causes us to overreact when trying to shape our children into what we wish we could be.  Our criticism of any child – ours or others’ – could come from any number of things, few (if any) of them come from a loving place in our hearts.

The entire poem above could be summed up in the “Golden Rule”, which reminds us to treat others as we wish to be treated.  Consider for a moment if someone you looked up to spoke to you or called you the same names you called them.  Feeling good, yet?  Didn’t think so.  I’ve found it to be true that we often hurt worst, the ones we love the most.

Scripture points out exactly what Love is, and I cannot imagine that we should treat anyone – especially children with their impressionable minds and vulnerable hearts – any other way.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 reads, “4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  8 Love never fails.”

What sort of person are you deep down inside?  What sort of adults are you hoping your children grow to be?  We can’t erase our mistakes, but we can have hope that our Creator will protect the hearts of these little ones from the messed-up adults He has tasked with raising them.  And while we cannot erase mistakes, we can start fresh each day.  We can remind all children how cherished and important they are.  We can choose to be determined each day to cause them to be so filled with love and joy that it spills out of their lives and into a hurting world.