Tag Archives: kindness

Let’s Try Kindness

Let’s try kindness. Let’s simply try simple kindness.

I see too much of short-tempers and touchiness. I see too many relationships which could be heaven on earth, but which fall far short.  I have to watch while one hurts the other one seeming not to feel any empathy for the pain.

One person gives the other person a world of hurt when they could be enjoying a mutually loving and caring relationship. Offered happiness and unconditional love, we choose our personal agendas. I wonder what could we be thinking?

People take for granted that they’re going to be treated well while taking for granted the human gift that’s been given to them.

It’s hard to watch people lower the bar on their own relationship, as though the offender will benefit in any way. If the bar is lowered, it’s going to be lowered for both of you. Do you mistake forbearance and patience for a lack of feelings? Do you actually think that your partner will take what you dish out, and persevere in holding up his side forever?  You must think an awful lot of him; in fact, you must think he’s not even human.

Because any human being is going to get enough of being treated selfishly one day. He will then have three choices: he can decide to diminish so much that he’ll let you pummel him into a doormat whom you won’t respect, or he will decide not to take your garbage anymore, and give it back to you. Or he’ll decide that someone else will actually respect him and treat him as though he’s loved.

You say it’s because you can’t respect him? That only says something about you.

If you can’t respect someone who consistently treats you with kindness, sympathy, patience and hopeful attention, in the face of irritation, selfishness of feelings, and dismissal, and does not return anger for anger…you just aren’t able to respect.

And you are missing the obvious:  God has given you an unbelievable gift which you ought to treasure, and you are ungrateful.

What if, instead of looking for irritation, putting our personal agendas before other people’s feelings, and imposing on the other person’s patience and love, we decide to be considerate? What if we are simply polite (even if we don’t actually feel happy about it)?

What if we seek not to hurt even though we must pay the price of swallowing our selfish moods? How about if instead of serving our own childish feelings, we decide to serve the people God has chosen to be our companions in life?

What would we lose?

How about if the law in our houses, from now on, is kindness? What if we adopt a standard that even some people who never set foot in a church are able to pull off? What if we decide to expect kindness and love?

Because simple kindness is a shelter against all the troubles of life, and no relationship can withstand consistent unkindness.

 

This is a revision of one of my very first posts, and the recipient of my very first “like”.

 

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We Kill the Weak

My recent blog post War on Children produced a conversation. Here is an excerpt from one of the commenters:

“There is no “human being” until full bilateral synchronization [of the brain]. Please understand that. Please get that straight in your head. A human being can die. Before week 28 nothing can “die.” Period. So, if you want to use language like “kill” and “murder” then you must tell me, and everyone reading this, how you can kill something that cannot die…”

The author of this position then asked repeatedly, “Tell me, how can you kill something that cannot die?” as his trump.

So the arguments are:

A fetus is not alive until 28 weeks gestational age. (It is not a human being either?)

Before “brain synchronization”, it is not living, therefore it is not something which can die.

That baby in your belly moved because it was nothing more than “electrical impulses firing, causing movement… like firing shocks through a [dead] frog’s leg.”

This blogger equated death (the cessation of life in a previously living being) with the early stages of human development. No distinction was recognized even though a fetus meets every criteria for life and humanity. Blogger also would not define the terms of the discussion, particularly regarding whether the critical question was the fetus’ life/non-life, humanity/non-humanity, or sentience/ non-sentience.

Incomplete brain development = not living yet OR not human yet = we can dispose of it and it’s a morally neutral act.

20-weeks-human-fetus3 20 week fetus

What is this position really? What are all positions which pinpoint some arbitrary criteria which allows functional human adults to excuse the termination of millions of unborn human beings?

It is discrimination imposed upon some human beings based on their incomplete development.  It is a defense of legal termination based on inability, temporary handicap, or the incomplete growth process.

It is disqualifying still-developing children for life, even though if they were left to grow (not killed), they would become fully able.

Making termination of human fetuses legal up to a certain point in their development is exactly this.

In other words, we are killing the defenseless because they are defenseless.

Abortion culture sometimes uses pre-viability as a boundary for guilt-free termination A moving goalpost if there ever was one; and since it moves as science advances, it cannot have ever been an ethically-based position.

Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 case legalizing abortion, made fetal viability an important legal concept. The Supreme Court ruled that states cannot put the interests of a fetus ahead of the interests of the pregnant woman until the fetus is “viable.” ~ Slate

But why was viability ever the benchmark anyway?

While the unborn are weakest, while they are the most defenseless and vulnerable, while they need the most nurture…that is when we allow them to be eliminated. This is the opposite of Christian ethics, or even human ethics.

We are meant to protect most exactly those who need protection most.

In God’s design, babies are helpless for at least one good reason. Their dependency is supposed to elicit an instinctual response in adults, particularly females and more particularly mothers…for protectiveness and for the desire to nurture. It’s built into us.

We were designed to be the protectors of those helpless lives. Carrying those tiny lives within our bodies is supposed elicit obvious and intuitive impulses to protect. This is not altruism; it is not extraordinary but natural.

What we see now is a whole culture of  females denying those impulses to nurture, calling those impulses oppressive and disturbed. In favor of lateral peer dependence, they will purposely make themselves cool calculators who are just fine with ending the lives of the weakest of human beings.

Our culture has chosen a position which favors self-serving and arbitrary criteria for inclusion, and death as the default for those who fail to qualify. We kill the weak.

 

 

 

 

 

Write Love on the Tablet

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.  Trust in the LORD  with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…

In other translations,”love” = mercy, kindness, grace.

“Faithfulness” = truth, or [shutting out all deliberate hypocrisy or falsehood].

The context of the passage is that this is God’s law.  His real law, the substance of His law.  Not what we call His law, the rigid and arbitrary p’s and q’s we had better mind, but the real meaning behind those commandments.

And it is a command.  Note the “Let…never”.  Other translations are: “Let not”…”Do not let.”  Meaning don’t miss the boat; do not ever allow love, mercy, kindness, truth, faithfulness to leave without you.  Keep them always with you.  Keep them where you will see them.  Be deliberate about it.

Why? Because by doing this, you will win favor and a good reputation in the sight of God and men. You will win favor and esteem…in the eyes of GOD and people.

In case you were thinking you would manipulate the approval of other people from whom you seek esteem some other way, such as worrying about how they think of you, playing a part or wearing a mask. In case you were operating under the illusion that you could ever make God approve of you by minding any set of p’s and q’s.

No, God approves when, out of trust in His say-so, out of humility before His wisdom, we live out our lives animated by love and faithfulness, mercy, kindness, grace and truth. Do this because He says so and trust Him for the results.  Don’t protect yourself in human relationships; make yourself humble and vulnerable.

The New Testament echoes the same thought in Galatians 5.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.   

Where do we acquire those good things like love and faithfulness?  It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit; we get them from God. And there is no law against love, peace, faithfulness, self-control. We are completely free to go crazy with these qualities.

The converse point I take from this is: if you are allowing yourself to freely practice the opposites of these qualities, you must question whether you belong to Christ Jesus, or at least whether you have crucified your own sinful nature with its passions and desires.  At the very least you should recognize that you are dismissing God’s clear urging to be motivated by His character; you are disobeying your Lord to whom you claim to belong.

You are being a hypocrite. You say and believe that you are walking in the power of God’s Spirit but you are actually being motivated by your own preferences and desires.

You are not keeping in step with the Spirit. Something else is driving your behavior, something other than God’s Spirit’s leading. Of course, you are not alone. This is a struggle we all live with. The point is to struggle, and not to let our ungodly desires have free reign.

…Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.  We need constant reminders.

Love, faithfulness…grace, truth…kindness…

 

 

For the Men in My Daughters’ Lives

The world we live in suggests, no, demands, that we conduct our marriages as though they are a perpetual power struggle. 50/50 and egalitarian marriages would have us counting beans and tallying scorecards the livelong day.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Real traditional marriage, not the caricature bandied about by its detractors, calls us to a higher place, and a better one. Love does not keep its eye on the balances to make sure my side of the scale isn’t heavier than yours. The Biblical model is one in which I stop defending my own interests and care more about my spouse’s; and care most about the sacred trust we’ve got called Our Marriage.

We are called to care for each other to a counterintuitive and astonishing degree. Self-sacrifice on both sides is the way of life called for in marriage.

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Ephesians 5:25

Lest you think this language is hyperbole, and that you probably won’t be called upon to put it into action unless you’re aboard the Titanic II, letting your wife get on the lifeboat while you remain on deck, let me assure you that you are living this every day. Or you’re not.

You are called to lay down your life for her, and she for you, every day.

As a wife I might do this by simply being kind and engaged with my husband when life is distracting and irritating. Or I might pour my effort into creating a warm and comfortable home, managing resources economically, doing my part in raising self-directed and wise children to adulthood, or promoting kind and considerate behavior. If you’re wondering why I call this “laying down your life”, you probably haven’t tried it.

As the man in the equation, one of the ways you can lay down your life is by taking care of your wife. Protect her, defend her. Speak up when she is disrespected. Your wife (or fiancé) is probably tough and tenacious, nevertheless, you ought to take care of her like she’s a fragile and precious treasure.

Protection is not based on the weakness or inability of the protected. We protect what we value. We protect our loved ones because they are ours; unique and irreplaceable.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. I Peter 3:7

If someday you have children together, she will have the minute-by-minute responsibility to oversee your children.  She will be making decisions constantly on the minutiae of managing a household and X number of people all at various stages of development. At the same time, she must keep her reactions to the stress to herself, which requires wisdom, patience, perseverance, energy, selflessness. In practical terms she must think about them rather than herself throughout every day.

That last one is where you come in. Your responsibility is to think about her when she doesn’t have the luxury.  Guard her needs, her dignity, her health. You will look out for her while she looks out for the kids. Keep in mind that you must take this responsibility because she may not. Don’t wait for her to ask for help.

Each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Ephesians 5:33

You say she’s the strong one? The one with the ideas? A driven career woman? Your job description doesn’t change.

Let’s not join in with the world’s nonsense thinking. Don’t ask her to do your job and hers.  Did you think managing and physically maintaining a home, and nurturing and raising children was not a full time job? Did she have lots of free time on her hands with nothing to do? Was she not pulling her weight? Or was that job not meaningful enough?

Each couple’s response to economic reality is personal, and I won’t second-guess a working wife’s wisdom.  But neither of you should buy into the new paradigm that leaves unquestioned the premise that women’s lives are only meaningful when they contribute their share to the world of work.

Please don’t ask her to do her job, and expect her to earn her half of the economic partnership. One career added to a 24/7/365 task is more burden than you can carry; why do you expect it of the one God calls the weaker vessel?

Remember in what way Jesus Christ “gave up his life for her”, the church. The Church is us, all of us who believe in Jesus as the Son of God, the Redeemer who died on the cross as a substitute for us sinners who deserve the punishment. He who was without sin willingly became the sin-bearer:

But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

He made himself utterly vulnerable; he did not protect or reserve himself.

He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth. Isaiah 53:7

He gave his life for her even when she didn’t understand or appreciate it. He did it because he had created her with infinite value and he had a claim on her; she was his. This was no selfish motive…her true home was with him, and to wander from home would be tragic and destructive for her.

He had created Her, yet he died to make her his own forever.

He gave to the uttermost; he gave everything for His Church, his Bride. What does this look like for a guy in his everyday life? How will you lay down your life for your bride?

Reducing Relationship

I have a husband who won’t let me get near the dishes lately. There are always a lot of dishes here, a lot, always. His reasons are clearly excuses.

In 31 years, we have not had Fight One over who works harder, whether he should help with the housework, or whose job it is to iron his clothes, mow the lawn or put the kids to bed. But it’s certainly not because we’re above such things.

We don’t do 50/50 here.

Did other people speak wedding vows which assigned domestic duties, and which spouse was going to be the primary breadwinner?  Because  to hear some people complain about the sorry thing called marriage, you would think that in their vows, they promised to model Ozzie and Harriet in their suburban 1950’s home. And they don’t want to, so away with marriage, that obsolete patriarchal engine of oppression.

We didn’t sign a contract outlining household duties or role requirements when we got married. We didn’t confuse our wedding vows with societal expectations or TV sitcoms.

What did we vow?

“Will you have this woman/man to be your wife/husband, to live together in holy marriage? Will you love her/him, comfort her/him, honor, and keep her/him in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live?”

“In the name of God, I, ______, take you, ______, to be my wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow.”

What we vowed may have been a slight variation on these words, I don’t remember. We knew what we were promising.

Notice that we both vowed the same things. There wasn’t the Housewife Version and the King of the Castle Version.

You’ll also notice that these vows are not limiting, but rather open-ended, except as to duration–until death. We were promising to love, to comfort, to be faithful.  We were not promising the nuts and bolts, the how we would achieve these abstract states of existence. We were promising to live the rest of our lives committed to and committing to one relationship.

A relationship has the potential to grow and expand, and to build toward almost infinite intimacy. To live under a contract would reduce our love to a pre-ordained set of boundaries.

On another front…

During my tenure as a parent, I’ve been advised by persons who are over The Age of Eighteen, that I ought not to tell adults what to do. All the advice-granters in the world would tell me to say: OK, you’re an adult now, so I’m not allowed to tell you what to do. In return, I give up caring whether you get yourself up for church, school or work. It’s your business and I’m not going to help you anymore. You’re not my responsibility.

There is certainly truth in there. My role as a Mom changes as my child matures and I do have to increasingly step back and let him make decisions, and let him live with the way those decisions play out. I’m fine with Mr. Experience  teaching her the responsibilities of adulthood. And I’m not above feeling a tiny bit of pleasure when an “I told you so” would be a legally appropriate thing to say.

But relationships are not contracts. A contract spells out what I am, and am not, responsible for. Beyond the requirements of a contract one does not go. A contract limits my actions.

When we had a young teenager who was self-willed and apparently in danger of going off the rails, the going advice was to put the relationship under contract.  This is what’s expected of you, Teenager.  And if you commit these crimes, here is a handy list of the corresponding consequences. Now you know what to expect. 

It was an invitation not to be resisted. And because our children are creative people, it was unresisted very creatively. There was no instance in which he/she committed Offense X and therefore was liable for Consequence X.  It was never that simple.

Because they don’t just want to do X and get away with it; the goal is to confound your attempts to be the authority in the first place. They want to mess with you. It’s all about the relationship, and the rebellious child knows that better than you do.

Contracts and legal agreements reduce a relationship to that which is spelled out therein. Do we really want our family relationships lived via contractual agreement?

Relationships are not contractually binding; relationships supersede contracts. My behavior toward those I love aren’t limited by the letter of the law. Or so says The Author of Relationships:

Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

John 15:12-13 “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Romans 12:8 “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.”

“We love him, because he first loved us.”  1 John 4:19

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”   I Peter 4:8.

Relationships with human beings are infinitely more binding than legal agreements. We are accountable to love one another. To act on their behalf toward their good, even and especially when they aren’t able to appreciate the help, even and especially when we don’t think we have the strength to do it, even and especially when we feel like doing the opposite.

According to J.Budziszewski, “Love is a commitment of the will to the true good of the other person.”

I want to relate to people in my life according to love and grace, not according to a reductive contractual agreement.  At times, I must borrow heavily from an inexhaustible Source to fulfill my part.

I give the Adult a wake-up call because I know he has trouble hearing his alarm, on the morning after receiving the caution not to tell the Adult he should go to bed. Or go pick her up when she didn’t plan for the ride home. Overlook irritating and irritated talk.  Dive in to thankless tasks. Really act as though the person is truly loved, and you couldn’t live without her, because it’s true.

And isn’t the debate over complementarian (no, it’s not in my spellcheck vocabulary either) vs. egalitarian marriage really a hyper-focus on this very thing? They can’t get their eyes off of that simplistically reductive 50/50.

The change agents are so proud of their enlightened egalitarian marriages.  They’ve given us something new, something never seen before in the long millennia of human history: men and women, equal in marriage! Hey, congrats and thanks, guys!

I do hate to tell them that the Bible had this one a long time ago:

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21.

And specifically on marriage:

Ephesians 5:33: “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

I Peter 3:7:Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”

Each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife. Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”  I Corinthians 7: 2-5

Settle what job is whose, for goodness sake, and move on.

Of course when you have just now thrown away: what women are, what men are, and what you are; and you confuse Ward and June Clever with millennia-old Scriptural teaching, it makes for a little tiny bit of confusion. If you’re going to set out to right societal wrongs, it would be best to get an understanding of the issue all the way down to its foundations.

My husband does the dishes lately without explanation.  He fends me off and tells me to go relax.  After working all day and then chauffeuring for awhile, then going to a meeting, after working on his own writing, before going to bed much too late and getting up much too early.

It’s not because he’s invented a brand new kind of marriage. It’s not because he’s heard on Christian radio that husbands doing housework get rewarded in the bedroom. He has nothing to prove and no secret agenda. He just understands what he promised.

 

 

The End of the Honeymoon?

I have a complaint about this concept of the “end of the honeymoon.” I hear from all parts that inevitable disappointment awaits every bride after she has been married awhile. That all women feel it after the newness has worn off. When we are advised to adjust our unrealistic expectations. When we are advised to resign ourselves to his shortcomings.

Oh, I didn’t realize he was a human being. Why didn’t anyone tell me? It’s never supposed to occur to me that he might be noticing my shortcomings now too.

Christian sources tell us to make the best of our now permanently lowered expectations. Elisabeth Elliot, I suspect charitably attempting to meet women where they are, offered this advice:

A wife at that stage of marriage realizes this is not exactly the man she envisioned before the wedding ceremony. This person whom she thought was a prize package has turned out to be a surprise package. But the more you can offset the differences in your personalities and the way you respond to each other, the more you can learn to enjoy this man.

My husband once made the statement: “If a woman conceded the fact that her husband was perhaps up to 80 percent of her expectations, she ought to consider herself very lucky.” Still, what’s she going to do with the other 20 percent?

You can pick away at that 20 percent for the rest of your life, but you’re not going to reduce it by very much. One of the secrets of a good marriage is learning to accept with gladness the 80 percent you’ve got.

I have been married to my husband for 31 years and I seem to have missed the Disappointment Memo.

I am no idiot, I’m no marriage genius, and I’m just as human as anybody else. There are no rose-colored glasses. He is not perfect. He’s human.

We have been through the same sorts of challenges which are common to most marriages, as well as our own particular troubles. Undiagnosed chronic illness which included nine months in bed and all the attendant emotions and turmoil. We’ve raised six extraordinary and sometimes emotionally difficult people. (Sorry kids.) We’ve experienced extended unemployment, financial stress, depressions, sorrows, disappointments, and cosmic bewilderment.

We’ve seen each other at our worst. In marriage, this is absolutely inevitable. When you get married, you make a choice to face a future containing the most stressful, emotionally difficult times you will ever experience. You will work side-by-side at a life full of responsibilities that will be as much as you can bear. More than you bear; you will be overwhelmed. You will see the worst of each other.

How did we do this without becoming disappointed? You’ll have to ask him for his answer; I guarantee it will reflect well on him. How have I avoided disappointment?

It’s very simple. I never wanted to go there.  I did not WANT to be disappointed. I did not want to believe negatives about him.  I didn’t give myself the opportunity.  It was intuitive and automatic.  I didn’t think about it—I just did not do it.

WHY would I want to think that my companion for life was a disappointment? It sounds self-defeating to me.

I did not want to believe that I was better than him.

For a short-term feeling of superiority, we will plant seeds of discontent in our own gardens. God gives us the person he created to be our spouse from the foundation of the world, moves heaven and earth to help us find each other, and we choose to be disappointed.

Ah, but that little thing we can feel superior about…we can replay it over and over in our minds. We can relish that feeling of outrage and self-righteousness again and again.  It’s really worth it, right?

Meanwhile, we can ever-so-slightly pull away from him, allowing that self-interested item to build a little wall between us. We can feel OK about not respecting him, on this issue at least.  We’re justified. We’re being realistic. Because it would be foolish not to see it, right?

Foolish it is. Don’t I acknowledge that I have become ONE with my husband? I chose him. We two have become one, at once both a hardly-comprehensible mystical union formed by the hand of God, and a practical, functional team toiling about the real business of daily life on Earth.

How do I believe that, live it, and yet step aside and pull for myself, against him? It’s one way or the other.

 

 

Ridicule

It’s so refreshing to hear a woman spontaneously praise her husband. That’s because it’s extremely rare. Even those women who genuinely admire their husbands feel a bit embarrassed to speak up. It’s just so counter-cultural.

I’m supposed to be a bit disapproving about some aspect of my husband’s behavior, and I’m expected to share it with a laugh or a roll of my eyes. Otherwise I’m a vapid Stepford Wife.

Our culture is saturated with this attitude. It’s even parroted in our churches. You don’t need me to rehash the many ways we belittle men in our world. Did you manage to miss the Facebook memes today about the superior intelligence of wives, or was it about the selfish stupidity of husbands? That new joke? I’m still laughing.

Actually we’ve been working on the humiliation of men for a long, long time, and the origin is infinitely more unsavory. The first set of judgments from Eden predicts that the besetting sin of womankind will be to resent the place of mankind, and particularly her own mate. To lord it over him, to choose to live in a state of conflict with him.

One of the ugliest things I have seen is a wife who ridicules her husband in front of others and passes it off as a joke. But it’s such a good joke, every single time, am I right?

Is it ever pretty when someone makes herself look good by making someone else look bad? The one-upsmanship can take many forms. It is easy for us women to manipulate before we realize what we’re doing. Do you know why it’s easy? No resistance. Because, usually, he is gracious about it. Because when you are using your power over your husband to manipulate him, you are counting on him to treat you with grace. How does it feel to use your husband’s own kindness against him?
Then there’s the compulsion, like a habit, to put him down. Sometimes it’s subtle. You may put down something he cares about, remotely, as if it’s not a personal insult. I guarantee that he knows he’s been slighted.

And then there’s the outright ridicule. It’s always so funny when a woman points out that the one person in her life whom she had the option to choose is an idiot. But I don’t understand how that makes him look bad.

A woman who makes jokes at the expense of her husband, or who eye-rolls or smirks while he’s talking, is missing something very fundamental about being in a marriage. More so if she believes she is part of a union comprised of herself, her husband, and Christ.

Ridicule is contempt. It’s betrayal. It’s embarrassing to everyone present. It puts her to shame far more than him. I don’t know what response she receives from her man, but others who hear her jibes are inwardly wincing. The person who is looking unfavorable is not the husband.

We women forget how much power we possess.

We possess the power to cultivate or to poison our own sexual relationship. How emotionally close to your husband would you feel if he made it clear to all your friends that he was embarrassed by you? Would you be able to be trusting, without barriers? It’s hard to really trust someone who hurts you. That’s rather important in sexual intimacy.

We possess the power to make or break a home.” The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1. This is exactly what a ridiculing wife is doing to her husband, her children, herself. How you value and respect your husband, or how you don’t, will become a heritage that your heirs will build upon.

We have the power to make or break our society. Ladies, we set the tone, we drive the future. We rock the cradle; we teach the next generation more important things than potty-training, manners, math and reading. We teach them how to navigate and cultivate relationships, how to navigate adulthood in a hostile environment, how to become responsible adults.

Whether to love or hate. Whether to take or give. Whether to value or dismiss. Whether to respect or humiliate. Whether to build or destroy. Whether to serve or use.

We have all the power we dare to exert. We have power we never use. I have no patience with the supposed oppression of women in modern first-world western society. I think we’re afraid of the responsibility if we should dare to righteously use all the power God has given us.

If you want to re-orient your attitude, it might be best to study up on what a man was designed to be. I suggest going to the resource written by the One who invented men.

Once you’ve gained some understanding of what a man is, you may not need my suggestions. But here they are anyway:

Encourage him to be a man. If he knows you support him in being who God means him to be, you will receive the true man God wants for you—and you will be amazed at who he is and what he can do. Your children for generations will be blessed.
And because he is a fallible human being, he will need your support in reaching for who he is meant to be. We all need encouragement for the task to become more than we are.

He has been given talents by God. Be careful not to criticize something which is an expression of his gifts. Heaven forbid that you should belittle how God has gifted him. But you are supernaturally gifted with the gifts of the Spirit, so you can do this.

Treat his thoughts and opinions with seriousness and respect. Don’t only do this only outwardly.

Most importantly, encourage him to lead by respecting his decisions. Give him deference and trust. I sometimes wonder why women have chosen to be in relationships with men who they are unable to respect.

The best men I know are also the most graceful, meaning they treat others with grace. ( Grace= treating someone with more kindness than is deserved or necessary). They are not petty, as we women are apt to be. They humbly return kindnesses for slights. Do not abuse this awesome grace or take it for granted.

Why do we fear ceding too much power to our husbands? Do we try to live down to the canards that a husband “behaves” so as not to risk his wife’s petty wrath?

Your husband will not dismiss your wisdom, your opinions, your convictions, your feelings or your intuitions because he already loves you for those very things. He will value and respect your views and will be guided by your intelligence and your convictions. You need not fear submitting to a loving husband who knows your worth.

You can trust his “final-word” because he is basing his decisions upon your guidance added to his own. And GOD has given him his own portion of wisdom. In trusting him with final authority, you are trusting God.

What kind of a husband do you want? Do you want a man who is afraid to irritate you? Do you want one who obeys you? One who slowly learns to adapt to your spoken criticism, who learns to be what you say about him?
Or do you want a MAN—a man who feels free to become all that God intends him to be?
A man who respects the power structure. He answers to God, not to you. He knows who he is. A man who does what is right regardless of the reactions of the people around him is strong, admirable and noble. You can see by now that you are putting down more than your husband.

Always be the kindest person in his life. Who else if not you? A marriage can endure against many threats. But no relationship can survive unkindness.
The vital importance of simple kindness cannot be underestimated. Just be kind—it’s so easy to know when you are and when you are not being kind. Be kind to him at all times. Be kind when he deserves it and when he doesn’t. Be kind when it’s not necessary. There is no downside; you will receive a better relationship and more love in return, and you will have become a kinder person. You lose nothing; you gain a lot.

If you still find yourself truly being embarrassed by your husband’s behavior, if you think one day that he is actually being foolish, then take a look in a mirror.
You are the one person in the world who has chosen, of your own free will, to be identified with this foolish man. You have stood before witnesses to declare your willingness to be one with him. You picked him.
Then have a laugh on yourself.