Saturday, September 27, 2014

Go ahead, be impressed by your husband!

One scenario:
Jason: "Honey, Did you know that I..."
Me: "Really?  Well, did you know that I…"

Another scenario:
Jason: "Honey, I just got a great deal on meat at Publix…"
Me: "What?  I had a coupon for that…I could've gotten it cheaper…"

I have spent the first 10 months of my marriage using my husband's humble sharing of his accomplishments - regardless of how big or small, as a platform to make myself look better, and in the process push him down.

I'm realizing now that unconsciously, I do this for two reasons:
1) my own pride combined with my black and white personality
2) competition

1) My own pride and my black and white personality.
I have to admit, many times when Jason shares something that he has accomplished, there is something inside of me that says I have to come up with something I've done better.

My black and white personality does not allow the possibility for two people to be excellent at the same thing.  Clench fists full of empty insecurities that tell me if Jason is good at something then I must not be good at it.  And my perfectionistic pride refuses to let me "fail" at anything.

Some of you see the ridiculousness in this.  Unfortunately, others of you may identify with it.

2) Competition
Why do we feel the need to do better than everyone else?

It started in the Garden of Eden.  Eve too wanted to be better.  Not just an overall improve your life better-ness, but an "I want to be as good or maybe even better than God" kind of way.

Our sinful nature pushes us towards what we don't have.  When someone else tells of something remarkable they've done (at least compared to us), we subconsciously hunt for ways to minimize the other person's worth in that moment.

In a different, but similar way, the Enemy diminished God's value by leading Eve to believe He didn't have her best in mind.  Eve then started down a road of comparing herself to, and competing with, God, her Creator.

When my husband shares his achievements with me, I too often find myself reducing his worth, not to mention stealing his joy, by whispering out-loud my own accomplishments.  To my initial satisfaction and later remorse, this amplified noise typically silences any remaining decibels that could have been shared in his melodious story.

A couple things have helped me fight against this mess.

1) Realize that it is a life-long battle and ask for forgiveness.  Pride did start in the Garden and it won't be fully redeemed until Jesus returns.  But forgiveness and grace helps make it more whole here and now.  Ask for forgiveness.

2) Think about how those words might sound coming from his mouth towards you!  I had conversation with a friend at work this past week who shared that she had said some hurtful things to her husband recently.  I said, "I'm so thankful we have such gracious husbands.  If they said half the things we say to them back to us…it would be scary!"  She wholeheartedly agreed.  Our words are so important, especially when they come from the one we love the most in the world.

3) Remember that you and your husband are DIFFERENT.  A huge reason why we got married was to complement each others' strengths and weaknesses - not because we are exactly the same in every area.  You've heard it said before: "celebrate differences."  This is especially unifying when applied in a marriage.

On our honeymoon, 10 months and 5 days ago :-)
4) Recognize that most of the time, your husband is not trying to brag - he simply wants to share his life with you.  When Jason tells me about some money he saved on a sale at the grocery store, or that he got a lot of work done in an extra hour at school, I should not question it, or wonder if there was something he had to do or give to get it.  Clearly, it was worth the cost to him. He wants to share his life with me, and this is part of it.  I must not assume it is because he is trying to lift himself up.  Even if it is, it is not my place to pull him down!  My God-given privilege is to listen, to be there for him and to share in his joy!

5) Go ahead!  be impressed by your husband!  Wow! That's great!  I'm so proud of you! You are amazing!  When was the last time I shared words of affirmation or encouragement, or even just recognition?  And not in a belittling or sarcastic tone?  Do I share these words in such a way that my husband truly feels like I am genuinely impressed?

Being fully impressed can only happen when the Lord tears down my pride, gives me grace for more grey-ness in my black and white personality, and helps me remember that my husband and I are not in competition with each other, but are on the same team.  We can succeed because we have uniquely different sets of gifts and skills.

In the next 10 months of marriage, and beyond, I want to strive to be impressed by my husband.  I want to recognize him for who he is - an image-bearer of God himself first and foremost.  I want to encourage him in his daily work, and affirm his efforts towards personal and family goals that he may have.  I want to embrace the differences, especially in our accomplishments, as I slowly realize that they have the power to make us stronger together!

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