Wednesday, June 17, 2009

a word to husbands

Recently Vickey and I were able to get away for a little while and enjoy some rest and relaxation. We stayed with some friends at Lake Almanor, near Mt. Lassen. We drunk in the beauty around us, played, and had a great time just being together.

Vickey and I like each other's company, and I realized how grateful I am that we have learned to treat each other with respect - it hasn't always been the case.

I have observed a trend in many households that concerns me. I’m talking about the way in which family members speak to each other: a husband barks at his wife, the mother clips harsh directives to their children, children yelling at their parents...seeds that produce bitter fruit. I want to speak first and primarily to husbands about this. Hey guys, as leaders in our homes - the buck stops with us. What we initiate will trickle down through the rest of the family. It’s too easy to blame the Mrs. for what’s going on in our homes, when, in fact, we can lead by example, and set the tone in our family. Men, take a tip from someone who’s been around long enough to learn at least a couple of things.

Eric Hoffer, author and longshoreman philospher said “Rudeness is a weak imitation of strength”. Being the man of the house doesn’t mean treating your wife with disrespect. Think again about how you address your best girl and remember how you said things when you were convincing her about yourself. If you’re not sure if you are speaking kindly to your Mrs., just ask her. She’ll tell you if your tone gets abrasive, or if her feelings are hurt. It may affect your pride but the wisdom book says “…whoever heeds correction, shows he is wise.”

The way you talk to your wife, will also set the tone with your children. I like this quote: Fred Astaire once said, “The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.” How can we expect our children to treat us with respect, when we do not give respect to each other, or to our kids? Do your children see you blaming your wife, speaking harshly, even contemptuously to her at times? They are going to follow suit and treat her the same way you do.

Just to press the point, I’ll go one step further. I Peter 3:7 states “. . . be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers”. Whoa - your prayers hindered? Like – answers could be delayed – or held up – or not come? Think about that one. This warning is very vivid to us now with ''call waiting'' in which one party abruptly says ''Excuse me while I get this other line!" In context this might refer specifically to the husband’s prayer! This one verse speaks volumes about how important our treatment of our wives is to the Lord. So much so, that He literally will turn a deaf ear to our requests. Been wondering why you aren’t getting the answers you‘ve been asking for? Examine your manners. Could it be that you have treated your wife with less than the respect that is due her?

Your family may be entrenched in some unhealthy practices, but you can change the cycle, and turn this thing around. Be patient, be kind, be polite - - - and just see the affect that it has on your wife, and even your children.

And a note to the wives - if your husband already practices good manners - tell him how much you appreciate the way he treats his family. We can all use the encouragement.