While continuing to think about yesterday’s topic, marriage came up.
Now, I suppose an unmarried person would take an admonition to contentment differently, but as a married person I find it interesting that husbands and husband-behavior didn’t come up in our spontaneous list.
Most of that can, I believe, be attributed to the fact that our group seems to be full of contented women (a blessing I wish for every young wife– to be surrounded by contentment. It is a good training ground).
We have every personality-type represented in our small church, and a variety of marriage-types (God did such a good job pairing us off!).
It would be possible for any of us to look at one thing another husband does really well, and become discontented or angry with our own husband, but to seek contentment we can fall back to this test:
Have I prayed about this yet? Why do I want this/him to be different? So I will look better? So my life will be easier?
After this conversation about anger and wanting and covetousness, I understood for the first time why some women have become angry with me when I talk about my relationship with my husband: I have something they want, but don’t have.
Perhaps I can try to redirect their reaction to prayer before their response progresses to (this seems so weird) covetousness?
Maybe there’s nothing at all I can do.
Does this mean I should avoid talking about my (fabulous!) husband, like I should avoid talking about being a millionaire? (I’m not one, if you were wondering.)
I make it a point to not speak negatively of my husband, so someone might never guess what a truly balanced view I have of him, or make the (erroneous) assumption that he is perfect, or that I believe he is.
But it’s harder, I think, to not-talk about my husband than about anything else someone could envy.
I’m not really sure what the guidelines should be here.
I can’t control other people’s reactions, but I can pray for the sensitivity not to feed those reactions overmuch.
It’s an awkward balance to seek: modeling positive conversation about my husband (in the midst of husband complaints) without sounding like I’m gloating or exalting myself/my marriage.
Hmm, I’m not sure what’s correct but if it gets to a point where I start to sense someone’s perspective is off, I just try to empathize with the issues they’ve shared without getting into detail. Stereotypes are really helpful when that happens and I find they can be laughed off. I think it’s also helpful to point out that we all have our different areas of weakness (again, without getting into detail) and share some of my own, directing the conversation to commiseration of being human wonderment at the miracle that marriage is.
“I make it a point to not speak negatively of my husband, so someone might never guess what a truly balanced view I have of him, or make the (erroneous) assumption that he is perfect, or that I believe he is.”
I very much feel this way. My husband IS wonderful, but he is not perfect. But I don’t feel like it’s my job to tell people his imperfections.
I notice this particularly on my blog…for example, one young married woman was expressing frustration and disappointment with her husband and brushed me off a bit, since I have such a “perfect” husband and couldn’t possibly understand her situation. How does one correct that view while not tearing down one’s husband? I just chose to keep my mouth shut.
I think people need to read Matthew’s blog as well as mine to really see our marriage – as in anything, it’s best to get both sides of the story. He is wonderful to praise me publicly, and I love to talk about his excellent traits, while we are both open about our own problems and struggles on our own blogs. I think the only way for someone to get a balanced view of our relationship is to listen to both of us talk about each other and listen to both of us talk about ourselves.
I think I remember that — or at least a similar instance. ^ Being silent in that case was probably as good as anything; some people just have a strong tendency to think a certain way and there’s not much you can do. It can be stressful if you’re trying to censure everything to give a balanced perspective. In the end, I suppose, the choice is up to that person alone. :)
I’d never really considered this before – at least not consciously. But just last week a good friend of mine was praising her husband for being wonderful with their kids – in ways that she was not. And as she talked about it, you could look around the room and see some of the ladies glaring at her – I assume in anger or resentment – and others looking at her with a sort of pity – probably thinking that she was deluded into thinking her husband was perfect.
I try never to down talk my husband in public, in large part because of what Becky said above – it’s not my job to tell people about his imperfections. And partly because we’re part of a church that teaches members to ‘always give good reports.’ In other words, if what you’re about to say is negative, will it edify? Will it benefit someone? If not, keep it to yourself.
My hubby isn’t perfect, but neither am I. So why fish out the splinter from his eye when I have a log in my own? The more I focus on the good in him, the less I think about his ‘imperfections’, and the more I realize that the ‘negatives’ are actually tied to the positives.
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