“Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs.” —Strachan Hurd
“He’s my other child.” What starts out as a joke between a wife and her friend, or a comment in a blog post, or spoken in frustration plants a seed of change in how she sees her husband.
While it might seem innocuous at first, it quickly puts a divide in the unity between husband and wife.
A word to wives: It snowballs.
You might never even verbalize it again, but the next time you’re picking up his dirty clothes it crosses your mind. And then it affects your attitude towards him.
Your friends might have heard you say it, and it will change the way that they see him. You might have said it to your husband’s face, and this will minimize him and his role.
This will make him feel unappreciated, unloved and unworthy – translating to anger and resentment.
Keep in mind – the way you speak to your husband will sow in him the characteristics you will later see. Choose which set you want:
Child: immature, irresponsible, dependent, small
Husband: partner, equal, intimate relationship
Do you want to get out of this cycle?
Step 1: Acknowledge the words and/or attitudes to this effect in your marriage. You can’t make any progress without taking responsibility. Ask for forgiveness.
Step 2: A word to husbands: A true apology from your wife is a humbling experience for her. She is not perfect. Create an environment for this conversation where grace (rather than finger-pointing) is the underlying sentiment.
Step 3: Create a vision for your marriage. There is not a successful company that does not have a vision statement to guide their decisions. Why should you leave your marriage’s direction up to the wind? It’s vitally important that you both communicate and agree on what the roles of husband and wife look like to you. Don’t rely on the stereotypes, they probably won’t fit you best. Unarticulated expectations and unspoken needs won’t clear themselves up unless you communicate specifically.
A man who feels small will not show up for his wife. Take the steps you need for your marriage to grow through this.
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