The Gift Our Husband's Really Need
As Father's Day rolls around the corner, I've been thinking about the best gift in the world I could give my husband, my baby daddy. Lucas has no clue that Father's Day is this weekend because he's busy working hard to provide for us, getting sunburnt doing our yard work, and reading the girls' stories at bedtime. You know, pretty much crushing fatherhood. And I've decided what my gift is going to be. Are you ready for it?
I'm making a commitment of honor.
I'm committing to make our home a place where my husband feels seen, respected, and adored. I'm going all in and I'm committing to fiercely guard my tongue and only saying words that build up, respect, and encourage him. You might read that and think that the only reason I can make this commitment is that my husband deserves it. But that's not the reason why.
I don't honor my husband only when he deserves it.
...But that wasn't always the case.
In the earlier years of our marriage, I thought it was my job to train Lucas, you know, like a golden retriever! Passive aggressively of course. I would show Lucas how I expected him to conduct himself around me, what jokes he was allowed to say, how often he needed to send me sweet texts, by rewarding the desired behavior with love and punishing the bad behavior by becoming an ice queen.
I didn't even realize it was wrong, I thought it was just how things were done. It's not "genuine" to still be kind and loving when he's not meeting my expectations, right? How else will he know how he needs to improve? For some reason even after a few years of training, it wasn't working. Lucas would not obey me, in fact, he only got worse when I tried.
He could sense that I was trying to control him, trying to tame him, and to protect himself, he put up some massive walls. He checked out emotionally. There were so many one-sided fights where I'd be yelling at him just to get a reaction, any reaction. But he was so far away from me. I’m glad he responded this way because it woke me up quickly to realize he wasn't going to budge and if I wanted a chance at a healthy marriage, I had to explore the option that maybe I was doing something wrong.
There are only two possible results from trying to train your husband.:
1. You push him away:
In my case, I was pushing my husband away. He felt disrespected, belittled, manipulated, and so shutting me out was his best way of coping. When we're dishonoring to our husbands, it is like sucking the oxygen out of their lungs. And in order for them to breathe, they have to run away. They can put up massive walls, or they get angry and push us away. Soon enough, we're in a loveless marriage at best, a volatile relationship at worse.
2. You break his spirit:
The other reaction they can have to our training is a broken spirit. And this might actually feel like our obedience class is working! We've figured out the secret to a perfect husband! But our husbands are not domesticated, they are wild, and the only way to train them is to break their spirits. He will become a shell of a man who utters "yes, wife" to stay out of trouble. He will not take the lead, he won't take initiative. We will create a follower, a puppet, and strip away what is at the core of his being. It's not the result we were after, but it is the only one we'll ever get if we use dishonor to manipulate them into behaviors we want.
I knew there was more for our relationship and over time I realized that I was being manipulative out of fear. I was scared. If he didn't behave the way I wanted him to, then maybe he wouldn't meet all my needs, and maybe I'd end up disappointed and alone. I had to release him from being the answer to my problems, the one who would fill every void and give my life meaning.
Letting go of control meant I had to let him go from the responsibility of being my savior.
Slowly, I opened my hands and let go. I trusted God to be enough for me and let my marriage be a blessing, not a necessity to my happiness. And from a place of abundance instead of lack, I decided to make a commitment of honor. Even if Lucas didn't deserve it, even if I didn't feel like it, I was going to make our home a place where he felt so respected and I was going to let go of trying to control him. It didn't happen over night, but I started by saying kind things when I didn't feel like it. It felt uncomfortable and even painful at first. But, I kept going. And eventually, it got easier. I started holding my tongue when I wanted to correct him and ask for his opinion instead of telling him what to think. I started speaking words of vision, life, and respect over my husband when I didn't see it in the natural. And something amazing happened.
He came back to life.
The honor I gave my husband was pumping oxygen back into his lungs and I watched him come back to life before my eyes. Little boys start playing the hero without being told to. They are the policeman, the firefighter, the knight. They have an innate desire to be the rescuer, the hero, and do the impossible task of defeating the enemy. That's why Braveheart stands the test of time, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan, pretty much every Super Hero movie ever made. They are movies about men of integrity who laid down their lives, they are movies of honor and respect. And it calls to the deepest part of a man. And when we honor and respect them, when we make them feel like the hero, it validates and affirms them like nothing else.
Honor calls out the truth of who they are before those things are even realized.
And that wasn't all. Lucas wanted to be around me, it was like he couldn't get enough of my encouragement, my love and he started telling me his dreams, his fears. I remember coming home from date nights and being blown away by how deep our conversations were, how I felt like we were more in love than ever. I was letting go of my expectations and he was letting go of his walls.
Honor is the key that unlocks a man's heart.
I want you to make this commitment of honor with me, I am making this commitment all over again for Father's Day 'cause I ain't perfect. Even though I have grown, it's so easy to slip back into the critical, controlling, nagging wife role. Let's make the decision to honor our men with our words and actions BEFORE the changes we want happen. Let's let them go from the responsibility to fulfill us and just enjoy them and respect them for who they are.
We have a unique position in our man's life. We have his ear and it's directly linked to his heart. So let's not abuse that power, but instead be their biggest fan, their not so secret admirer, the one in their corner telling them the truth about who they are. This is the best gift you could ever give to your husband this Father's Day and always.
And if you're wanting more encouraging content to live with passion and purpose, make sure to subscribe to the newsletter!