I took a vote for this article. I wanted to know what was on readers’ minds during these early days of autumn and school beginnings. Shabby, dated homes has been on mine as well as common core and lesson plans. But unanimous cries of interest rose in want of supporting our husbands.
At first I thought of any number of links I could share that would guide readers towards better support systems, much better than I could encourage. But, as I thought about it, the reality came that there is a reason so many answered the vote and wanted to know more about supporting our spouses. We’re at a time of year that calls for re-evaluation within our homes. I think it helps us to re-evaluate our homes and family life before the holiday surge of activity. I asked for other couples to share the ways they support their spouses from the time the sun peeks through the bedroom curtain, to the time a phone call chimes a love note, into the evenings when the door announces a home arrival, through the nights when the bed sheets shroud a sacred dance.
Before I share those reader responses, I’d like to share what I consider one of the most crucial ways to support our husbands. I know it because I have learned it the hard way.
(1) Give him control over the bank account.
Now this probably isn’t written in stone for husbands who have a drinking or gambling problem but for the most part, if the husband is the bread winner in the family, he needs to have dominion over the money and where it goes. It’s easy—ultra-easy—for wives to step in and take control over money that we feel entitled to. After all, we are primarily the shoppers and the chauffeurs and bill payers of this family operation. There for a time, I justified my spending by default. I wasn’t bar-hopping or going on wild shopping sprees or visiting the gambling casinos. His money was being spent on his children. I still wave this card in my defense with accountability comes into question because it is all true. The higher the grocery prices get and the living increases monopolize our resources, the more defensive I become. Yet, even I can admit that I should be more frugal and conservative with the money my husband has earned with the sweat of his brow.
The money wasn’t *my* money to spend; it was *our* money and, in hindsight, he should have held me accountable for every dime spent. He had that right. What we have today and the fact that our home will be paid for next year is because my husband took back control…with a little help from Dave Ramsey, of course. It’s been a torturous experience, but that’s another article to write.
Another wife shared this Scripture verse: “Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” Proverbs 22:19
This reminded me of Rip Van Winkle’s wife. Remember her?
In the famous words of Washington Irving:
“If left to himself, he would have whistled life away, in perfect contentment; but his wife kept continually dinning in his ears about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing on his family. Morning, noon, and night, her tongue was incessantly going, and everything he said or did was sure to produce a torrent of household eloquence. Rip had but one way of replying to all lectures of the kind, and that, by frequent use, had grown into a habit. He shrugged his shoulders, shook his head, cast up his eyes, but said nothing. This, however, always provoked a fresh volley from his wife, so that he was fain to draw off his forces, and take to the outside of the house—the only side which, in truth, belongs to a henpecked husband.”
I’ve known many a good men who fall in that henpecked husband category. Do we really want to be married to a man who others believe have no spine or authority? Give your husband his authority back. Men were created for this. Never underestimate the power of giving your husband back his authority.
It makes life so much easier on us women. Later in married life we get to a point, no matter how controlling we are, when we wish our husbands would become that knight in shining armor once again and control those rascally teenagers or those annoying neighbors or the out-of-control spending habits or banish the lions at our door. Women want protection and love within our homes. A snarky, sassy woman is often simply a frightened little girl at heart.
And we all know what happened to Dame Van Winkle. In her daughter’s words:
“She too had died but a short time since; she broke a blood vessel in a fit of passion at a New England peddler.”
And her husband Rip did not miss her one tiny bit. What a tragic fairy tale ending!
One husband shared that a simple hug and nightly cuddles after a long day at work makes him feel as though God’s in His heaven and all is right with the world. Isn’t that how we should all end our day?
One wife said it’s as simple as telling him how proud she is of him. Men need to hear this. Men are really eager little boys in over-sized bodies seeking approval and worth. A wife who builds her husband up will be rewarded by someone who thinks he is worth something. And he is! Why do so many women flog their husband into a worthless sense of being then expect them to be a lover and a provider and nurturer. It isn’t the man who has crushed the family but the female who has set her footsteps toward crippling him.
Ladies, we set the tone within our households. The tone is ours. Are you an encourager? Or a crippler?
How much time do you spend with your husband? Do you take time to recharge him as often as you charge your cell phone? It can be simple little things: having a cup of coffee on the patio with him, watching a football game or a favorite show with him on the sofa, listening intently to what he is saying even if you don’t have a clue what he’s talking about, going on a date every now and then, going for a walk together. Nothing big. Little consistencies carry a lot of weight.
One reader insisted that we should put our husbands first and I can hear child advocacies debating that. Children are really the innocent victims of marriages. And too many marriages fail the children when they were, in fact, instituted to guard the fruit of this marriage.
Putting our husbands first is a puzzling enigma in today’s “I” generation and child-centered advocacy. It doesn’t seem to make sense. It sounds like a double-edged sword and yet if both spouses place the other spouse’s needs and desires ahead of their own, mutual love and respect usually abound, and, because the children are the fruit of this love, the children receive double the commitment rather than half a share.
They say the greatest thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. I think the same is true for wives. The greatest thing a mother can do for her children is to love their father.
With love comes prayer. We always prayer for those we love. And with prayer comes respect. And all the other suggestions offered will build towards your respect for the man you gave your heart, body and soul to before God’s altar and a church of witnesses. If you have given him control over your funds, held your tongue over sarcastic, snarky responses, offered him a loving home to return to every night, built him up in attitude and word, made and spent time with him, put him first on your priority list, and prayed for him then you will have next to you someone whom you can respect and someone who will love and respect you mutually. That’s the prayer anyway.
The last bit of advice I’d like to remind wives of is the purpose of their marriage vows. I thought the Unveiled Wife put it in beautiful terms: “God’s purpose for my marriage is to reveal His love to the world.”
Think about it. The covenant of marriage replicates the image of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is what the sacrament of marriage is supposed to look like and, in so doing, should reveal God’s love to the whole world. The purpose of marriage is to get your spouse to Heaven. That’s an incredibly important mission. Otherwise, what purpose is marriage? Why did Christ create it a covenant instead of a contract? Why did He lift it up to the same standards of a Sacrament if it was something so easily replaced or thrown away?
Anything less is not of God. And if something is not of God, why is the cross so heavy and the rewards so huge? A couple not working with God in their marriage but trusting in their strength alone, a strength that humanly will fail, is making an idiocy of their marriage. Without God their marriage has no strength. God’s arm lifts it up and He often offers it through the words and wisdom that are properly regulated through a woman’s words, work, and wisdom. If you don’t seek to have knowledge and build-up the man God gave you to love, it’s just infatuation; and infatuation does not last. If we don’t act with Christian love, why call ourselves Christian? Love is the only thing that builds-up and last beyond.
Tips Towards Supporting Your Husband:
- Give him control over the bank account (this is a prayerful discernment between couples)
- Guard your words
- Offer your husband a safe, loving reprieve from the rest of the world
- Build your husband up, never tear him down
- Spend time together
- Put him first, this is the person you are responsible to bring alongside you into Heaven
- Pray for your husband
- Respect your husband
Copyright 2014, Cay Gibson