OK well not really, but I got your attention huh?
I was driving today, thinking about the husband/wife relation and just how bad we can mess it all up by not learning how each other see things, think or motivate themselves. We do them a big disservice by not taking the time to learn our spouses. We didn’t marry them because they are exact copies of ourselves. I have to say we are both equally guilty of thinking our spouse should think and act like we do.
I usually come down pretty hard on the men on these kinds of categories, because well, we usually are the guilty ones.
This time I am going to be giving two sides of this example. A little he can use and a little she can do differently to make things easier. So hang on, off we go to real life……
Cue the twilight zone music…. A normal house hold, Nothing special going on. The husband comes home, kisses his wife and plops in his chair asking whats for dinner. The wife has been wrangling 3 kids all day, frazzled and behind on her list of things to do. Her temper is flaring. The husband has no clue as to the disaster that awaits him. He thinks he worked hard all day, he deserves a rest. His couch maybe very comfortable tonight. How could this have gone differently? Why don’t we see. Cue more music…
Ok I know that was a little silly, but I felt we needed to set the stage and have a little laugh on this serious subject. Now to the real meat.
Lets start at the base of it all.
Ephesians 5:25-28 ESV
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”
This is our starting point, ground zero if you will. There is so much to be gained from this verse. Men, its a lot on your shoulders and if you are not afraid of meeting God’s expectation of you as a husband then you are not aware of what the verse is really saying.
It’s a large responsibility that we have to live up too, but thats ok. So your wondering what dishes have to do with leadership? Or being a husband? More than you might think. I am going to describe a scenario for you then go over the lessons learned and ways both husband and wife might approach this in ways that build into the relationship opposed to driving a wedge.
Husband is sitting in his chair listening to the work his wife is doing. He finally thinks. Ok, I am going to help out. He sees the sink full of dishes and steps up to the plate. Depending on his past experience from his mommy or as a single man he will have different levels of knowledge of how to load a dishwasher. He steps up and begins. His wife now has to pick herself up off the floor and wonder who is this man that looks like my husband? Na not really but he feels her eyes on him. He begins to feel the weight of, ” Am I doing this right? I have no idea where this goes. What is this thing anyway?” Soon after he feels her approach him. She does one of two things. She begins to instruct him on how to load the dishwasher. Or she waits until he is done and redoes all of his hard work. Both usually have the same effect on him. FAILURE!!!!! That is not what she meant at all ,but thats what he feels. It usually ends like this. He says ” I don’t even know why I try, I can never do anything good enough for you.” He stomps off with his bruised ego.
Is this right? No, its not but neither was her way. I’ll go over both. First his. How or what could he have done to lead in this situation? Remember a true leader leads from the front and is willing to do any job of those he leads. What could he have done different in this example? Lets begin again. He gets up to begin dishes. “Honey, I’m wanting to do more stuff on your list of house work and thought about doing the dishes. Can you watch me? Because I want to learn how you do it?” Every wife just fell over. This approach does a couple of things. One it gets the male ego prepared to accept instruction. I know it seems stupid, but we can be pretty fragile, we hate to fail or seem like a failure in front of our wives. So it can be easy to hurt us. The other is it builds into the relationship, what I mean is that when she shares her way of doing it she sees it as sharing part of her life. Its small but it shows that he is stepping into her world and listening to her. This is all building connection. All good stuff. How is this Biblical your asking? The husband is not just the iron fist here, he is leading by humility. He is humbling asking her to help him. Something many men just plain refuse to do. He is reaching for connection with his wife.
Ok now her part. If she sees her husband struggling to do the dishes, she should know he is out of his comfort zone and have some sympathy for him. Instead of just jumping in to give correction, begin with the good. ” Oh thank you so much for doing the dishes. I really appreciate it. ” Then follow up with the truth in love part. “You know i put the dishes here because they can chip if they touch another one. And these cups go here because if on the bottom they could melt.” It softens the blow that he basically didn’t load it your way. You see that I said your way not the right way. There are hundreds of right ways to load a dishwasher, yours is not the only right way. Both of these examples on both sides soften the approach, they show a willingness to work together and add to the relationship as opposed to driving a wedge with harsh instruction and anger. Now if you put both together you have taken any possible chance of a misunderstanding or problem occur.
Yes guys, you can love your wife through doing the dishes. I personally did not take either of these approaches with my wife. I wish I had. Many times I just gritted my teeth when she corrected me, do you know why? I knew my wife’s heart, I knew she wasn’t a critical person. I knew she was just showing me the way she wanted me to do it. She could always feel when I got stiffed up over her correction and it usually got a little uncomfortable and I couldn’t really explain why to her. Its not that she corrected me, its that I felt is if I failed, like she saw me as failing (which was far from the truth) and I hate failing my wife. I have gotten much better at the instructions because I know her heart and I love her immensely. I love putting a smile on her face and if loading dishes her way takes a load off her shoulders and a smile on her face I will do it every chance I get.
Start looking for ways in your every day life you can implement gentle biblical leadership in your home. It usually has a lot to do with setting your ego and pride aside and tackling jobs your not good at. You have the best teacher right at your fingers, just ask her, be willing to learn her way. Yes this is real leadership in action. Its not the heroic throw your self in from of the bullet meant for her type of heroic leadership, but its a true from the heart leadership.
Leadership will come in some of the most unusually places in your family. Many times you may not even realize it but they are still there. I would suggest reading over this verse every week and trying to seriously looking into your everyday life and see how you can put it into practice. Each time ask yourself, Is this adding too or taking away from our relationship? Is this honoring my wife and God? The fact is ladies, most husbands really do want to be your hero and thats why when we seemingly fail you, it hurts and we heap the blame on ourselves, and unfortunately it comes out in anger because that covers a lot of our emotions we are not comfortable feeling. We will pull back and go find something we are good at and stay there for a while to feel better. Ie work, hobbies, sports. So seriously put in the effort to ask questions and humble yourself as the leader of the family to honor your wife. Build something that going to last a long time.