Love the Boy, Respect the Man

A while back Samantha shared about how sometimes when she prays for her husband, she pictures him as a little boy.  She said it helps soften her heart towards him.

Well, last week I found that this little trick is helpful in a variety of scenarios.

Okay, so it was some evening last week.  It was around 10:30 pm or so and Jon and I were just putting some things away before we called it a night.  I went upstairs for something and decided I needed to check something on the computer.  I grabbed the computer bag off the floor and opened it to find it stuffed with not only our computer, but with school books, papers, pens, and food wrappers.

It was about two seconds later than I spun around, marched downstairs, and not so-lovingly told my husband how I was so upset that he had done that – when just last week I had specifically told him not to put anything besides the computer in the computer bag!  My voice was raised, my tone was bitterly sharp and after telling him off I marched my way back upstairs and took a seat on my throne, feeling high and mighty – for about ten seconds.

My husband remained standing at the bottom of the stairs where I had left him, stunned and probably not feeling like much of a man at the moment.

See, I can be a bit of a control freak.  In my mind, any extras in the computer bag will surely ruin the computer.  Right!?!  Sigh…

It was quiet in my apartment for a full minute.  Jon didn’t move.  I didn’t move.  It was just still.

While sitting there on my bed, I mentally replayed the scenario that had just happened.  In the slow motion replay I could see the expression on my husband’s face as I scolded him for something he did not intentionally do to hurt me.  I could see him try to say he was sorry, but how he was unable to because I cut him off.  And I pictured him standing there at the bottom of the stairs trying to muster up the courage to approach me even though he likely felt very small.

A lot of times in a situation where I feel guilty and regret my actions, instead of doing the right thing I get overwhelmed by my guilt.  And I waste a lot of time feeling sorry for myself.  But this time, while sitting on my bed, that little seed that had been planted in my mind suddenly sprouted and came to life!

I imagined the same scenario happening, but this time I pictured five year old Jon.  Then I pictured my potential future son.  I suddenly felt sick to my stomach.  Why would I feel so wrong about scolding a child like that?  Yet without thinking, I poured out a decent amount of wrath on my husband?

This time, my revelation caused me to get up off my bed and hurry to the stairs to apologize.  I rounded the corner, made it down a few stairs and found my husband already half way to the top.  I hugged him and kissed him and told him I was sorry that I had been so rude and mean.  He was so forgiving.

It’s crazy to think about how much power mothers and wives have over their little boys and their men.  Dr. Laura made a good point about this in her book The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands that I referenced yesterday.  She said that their whole lives, men are largely controlled by women.  As little boys, their mothers are the ones who tell them what to do.  Mothers have the power to make or break a boy.  Through their words and actions they teach their sons that they are strong, capable, and believed in.  Or, they teach them that they are weak, dumb and failures.  And the same thing goes for wives.

When a man gets married he begins to look to his wife for approval instead.  He needs to know that his wife loves him and believes he has what it takes.  So wives who constantly criticize, belittle and point out flaws and failures in their husbands have the power to turn a determined man in to one who doesn’t care much about anything.  Over time, their harsh words will crush the fighting spirit in the man.

I’m grateful that God is teaching me this now, early on in my marriage, so that I don’t spend years damaging the person I care the most about.  I’m sure I’ll mess up and yell another time or two, but like I’m learning lately, grace is so necessary for improvement.  So I plan on practicing this little trick of picturing my husband as a little boy whenever I start to feel myself get angry or worked up about something.  It really does soften my heart.

(Jon (bottom) and his younger brother Steven)


2 thoughts on “Love the Boy, Respect the Man

  1. Love this, Erin. So many big insights in this little article. And I’m so glad that grace won. The Lord is doing a good work in you. 🙂

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