Tuesday, July 28, 2009

EVEN THE BEST MAN IS STILL A MAN!


He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. (Deuteronomy 32:4, NIV)

Okay, I admit it. My husband and I struggle through life just like every other married couple out there. In fact, there are times when I don't like him very much. Why? Because he doesn't meet my expectations.

Here are some of those expectations of mine. I expect that he's going to know my likes and dislikes. I expect that he knows how I think. I expect that he knows what needs to get done within the household ever day (ie meals, homework, treatments). I expect to go out on a date with him at least once a month. I expect that he's going to help me in the evenings and on weekends. After all, he does get to use a bathroom and eat meals by himself all day! I expect him to keep me informed of what's going on (extended family, work, etc). I expect him to work with my on our finances.

Now here is how his brain typically works. He's got a lot to get done at work. "How am I going to provide for my family?" "Geez, the weather is perfect for doing what I like to do with my buddies today!" Work. He expects that the wife is going to handle all things kid-related today, including school, doctors, therapists, playmates, clothing and the like. "How am I going to pay for all this?" Work. He expects that his wife will handle all things household today, including cleaning, laundry, gardening, grocery shopping and bill paying. "What's for dinner?" "I need to get on the computer after supper to get the rest of my work done." "What's going on with the kids?" Yell. Pass out from exhaustion.

Now, of course both of these mindsets are a bit of a caricature. Still, I suspect that our thoughts are quite similar to other married couples. And you can see with a husband and wife having such divergent thinking, why the divorce rate is so high (and even 30% higher in the special needs community). Each has expectations that are far too lofty, setting up major disappointment and conflict.

Several years ago, I had an epiphany of sorts when I read the book LOVE & RESPECT by Emerson Eggerichs with a small group of women over the summer. It was a real love-hate relationship that I had with this volume. There were times that I wanted to hurl it across the room, it made me so angry. But that was only because it was so convicting.

Making a long story short, the book confirmed a phrase I have proclaimed for years: Even the best man is still a man! Most women laugh when I blurt this out, thinking it a sexist dig. But it's true! My hubby is NOT God! He's a fallible human being just like I am. He deserves what he needs most (respect), no matter if his behavior commands it or not. In the same way, I deserve what I need most (love), whether or not my behavior evokes it.

Now this isn't to say that we are each entitled to run roughshod over one another as a couple. No, God dictates in His word the selflessness we're to treat one another with. But He also commands us to show one another the same mercy He has lavishly granted each of us.

I find my marriage to be much more enjoyable when I let God reign on His throne of perfection rather than trying to place my spouse there. When we talk out expectations ahead of a situation, and both have a willingness to adjust to the others needs, life runs much more smoothly. When we can both laugh at ourselves and each others mistakes, less comes between us. And when our first love is our Lord and Savior, disappointment doesn't act as the house guest who never leaves.

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