Thursday, September 24, 2009

When God Speaks Through Your Spouse

In a moment of disagreement between the two of us (you know the kind - an argument), my husband said some things that hurt.  At first, they just made me really angry.  How dare he say that to me?  I've been a stay-at-home mom for almost 7 years now and in that time, I've done a lot.  I've tried to keep up with the housework. I've tried to keep the family organized.  I've tried to keep the laundry washed and folded (okay, I slack on this one more than other things because I hate laundry so much). I've taken the kids to school, signed all the notes, made sure homework was done, written the checks for field trips, lunches, pictures, etc. I've signed the kids up for various activities and tried to get them involved. I've been the primary care-taker and disciplinarian, simply because I am home.  I've also gone to graduate school, volunteered at church, been a classroom mother for the kids and helped at school parties, and taught foster/adoptive parent classes in the evening.  What I'm trying to say is that I don't feel like I've wasted the past 7 years of my life and I've not spent them on the sofa watching Oprah or General Hospital, eating chocolate. 

So, to hear my husband say that he hasn't really noticed a big difference in the house or the schedule or whatever since I started my final practicum (which is a part-time job) hurt.  He went on to say how ticked off he is that I haven't made simple changes he's requested, like filling up the truck when it gets to 1/2 a tank vs. E, or that I haven't been as resourceful/accountable with our financial resources as I should be, was a surprise.  At first, it felt like he was "giving me instructions" and I didn't want to hear it. 

I mean, really, is he the one at home dealing with all these things.  Nope.  He's at work from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.  That's easy because he doesn't have to deal with the kids and the day-to-day family stuff!  Can't he help out more at home?  Can't he pay the bills, do a load of laundry, help with homework, run the kids to and from, help clean up from dinner, do baths, get the kids in bed, spend quality time with each of our kids, coach the sports teams, volunteer at church, etc. in the 3 1/2 hours he has at home each night, and do it all without getting irritable?  Shouldn't I be allowed to "clock-out" when he gets home? 

Okay, okay.  I know - on some level that all seems totally reasonable.  Last night (and this morning when I woke up), I heard God saying to me..."He does his part without your help." God's right.  I don't get up at 5:00 a.m. to get ready for work.  I don't go to FedEx and help Justin make his deliveries on time, especially when freight is late, so they're all really, super busy.  I don't help coach the football team. I don't coach the soccer team.  I see my kids during the day and I talk to the teachers, so I know how they're doing all the time.  I get to care for them when they're sick and hear how they're growing because I take them to the doctor appointments.  I get to see them laugh and have a good time, while he's at work.  I have my relationship with our children because I have more time with them than Daddy does. 

When he comes home, and I'm expecting him to help with everything because I want a break - when does he get a break?  Genesis 2:18 says "The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."  God created me to be a helper for my husband - not the other way around! Oh, Lightbulb! Duh.  I've known that verse for a very long time and I thought I had accepted it. 

In a Bible Study that I'm taking, we've recently discussed the innate drives in men and women.  My husband's drives are to provide for and protect our family and to exercise dominion over those territories.  My drives are to nurture and support my family and to exercise dominion over those territories.  When I ask my husband to take on my territories as well as his own, I put a great deal of pressure on him.  I ask him to do my part and his own and that's not fair.  When he asks me to do things a certain way, I should respect that he knows how to lead our family and make the changes.  (Wanna hear something else?  Justin actually said to me "If you want the power in this family, fine. Take it." Whoa!!!! That's not what I want and NOT what I'd been praying for in my marriage for a very long time. In fact, I've been praying that Justin would step up more.  Prayer answered - last night!  That hurt.  Talk about God getting in your face...)

Now, am I saying that I, as a woman should be okay to be stuck in the kitchen all day doing "woman's work"? No. I'm not.  I believe marriage should consist of mutual support, encouragment, and respect.  It is a two-way street and each partner must give something to the relationship and the home.  However, what each partner gives is just different.  Each gives something to the family and the home, but each gives what God has equipped him or her to give.  It is unfair of us, male or female, to ask our loved one to give something that God did not design him or her to give.  It's just not possible, and eventually, someone blows. 

So, my encouragment for today is to ask your spouse what he/she feels should be your offering to the marriage. Define your territories and commit to sticking to them.  Check your demands on each other, honestly and sincerely.  Are they equal but different?  Is there something that your spouse would want you to change about the way you do your part, in your family?  Can you make that change?  Today, I will pray about my part and my territories and I will consider how I have been unfair to Justin.  Today, I will really hear the message from my husband because, I believe it may just be a message from my Father.

1 comment:

  1. we took the love and respect study and it was eye opening for our reactions in our marriage.
    well said and very hard to realize sometimes. communication is always key and asking that question just once is not enough. Territories are always a changin as the babies grow.