Lately things have been a little tense at home. Nothing serious but we’ve had our fair share of worries and stressors. I’d like to be able say that I’ve walked through this trying period with grace, humility and faith but the truth is that when I get stressed, I get controlling. I want to fix, fix, fix; instruct, instruct, instruct; and boss, boss, boss. My motives are pure–I only want to stop the suffering–but the way I go about it leaves (more than) a little something to be desired.
The problem with my approach is that it presumes that I am smarter than everyone else; it presumes that I have all the answers; and it presumes that everyone else is stupid. That’s right, I said it: it presumes that everyone else is stupid–including my husband who I’m afraid bears the brunt of this domineering (born-of-fear) attitude.
While I know that my actions don’t reflect my true feelings or opinions (which, if they could speak, would tell you that I think I have the most awesome husband on the face of the earth), the message they send is harmful nonetheless. My actions imply that I don’t think my husband has a handle on the situation; that he’s not up to the task; and that I’d better step in and assume control of the ship before it sinks and we all drown.
(Did I mention that I also get a bit melodramatic when under pressure?)
The truth is that it is I who would be lost without him and his wisdom. He is my rock, my safe haven, and my solace. This is what I actually want to communicate. It just comes out all wrong when I start to panic. What’s up with that?
Sometimes I worry that he can’t say the same about me for so often when he approaches me to share his burdens my response is to correct and advise, rather than to comfort and console. I want to offer him a secure place to lay down his armor, rest, and be vulnerable but how can he when he knows that I will most likely respond by showering him with unsolicited advice?
Maybe I’m exaggerating. Perhaps my husband will read all this and object but my heart tells me I could do better and more and so I thought I might create a little list of 15 ways that I can support and encourage my husband…
• Compliment him on his strengths and achievements and acknowledge his victories.
• Create a peaceful atmosphere within our home. Make it a place that he can lay down his burdens and rest easy.
• Pray for him. Reread The Power of a Praying Wife.
• Write him love letters. Make sure he knows how absolutely swoon-worthy I find him to be.
• Speak well of him to friends and family. It wouldn’t hurt if he accidentally overheard from time to time, either.
• When he stumbles, respond with mercy, compassion and encouragement.
• Encourage him to dream big and find ways to support those dreams.
• Try not to give feedback on every single decision he makes.
• Ask him for his opinion and guidance. Make sure he knows how much I value his opinion.
• Be affectionate. Don’t be shy about communicating how much I desire him.
• Make sure he has the time to do the things he loves and to pursue his passions.
• Apologize for things I’ve done in the past that have hurt him.
• Thank him for all his hard work and many sacrifices.
• Don’t bring up past failures or hurts or rehash old fights. Truly forgive and forget.
• Have faith in him and let him lead.