|"At Newport-Bains" by Isidor Verheyden|
This morning, my husband and I read a cute and funny post called "Things Your Husband Does Not Want to Hear" over at Middle-Aged Mormon Man.
Unfortunately, we also read the comments together, and by the time we were finished, we both felt really uncomfortable, and-- well, SAD. Some of the comments were cute and harmless, but some of them were downright disturbing.
We were both shocked at the mean things that some of the wives were saying to-- and about-- their husbands. In general, the tone of many of the women was pretty condescending toward their spouses.
I have written on this subject before, but in this day and age it bears saying again. Kindness in marriage should not go only in one direction: from the husband to the wife.
Of course, we know that worthy Priesthood holders need to practice righteous dominion in the home, as it says in Doctrine and Covenants 121:39-44:
We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men [and women], as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile--
Reproaching betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.BUT, does the scripture above only refer to the men of the Church? Does it apply only to husbands, fathers, and Church leaders?
I submit that the scripture above is for ALL of us. In fact, it reminds me of a similar scripture in the New Testament:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Sadly, I have found that the prevailing attitude of the women in the world today is that "husbands are stupid/brutes/incompetent/insensitive." And it's not just among "worldly" women. Here is a sampling of titles from Deseret Book when I did a search using the words "Husband":
Ladies, what kind of uproar would there be if we changed one word in the titles above? What if we took out the word "husband" and inserted the word "wife?"
I don't know about you, but that made me squirm-- a LOT.
- "Strangling Your Wife is NOT an Option"
- "How Do I Change My Wife?"
- "Have a New Wife by Friday: How to Change Her Attitude, Behavior, and Communication in 5 Days"
- "I Almost Divorced My Wife, but Went on Strike Instead"
Why is it perfectly fine and normal for women to talk about their husbands this way, but it's horrifying to have husbands talk about their wives in the exact same way?
Today, it is accepted and expected that women will complain about their husbands. Women talk about their husband's faults and weaknesses to their mother, sisters, friends, and complete strangers.
WHY IS THIS OKAY?
Let's apply the Golden Rule, here. Does ANY wife like the idea of her husband complaining about her to his father, brothers, buddies, and co-workers? I don't.
Can you imagine your husband confiding in his friend how messy his wife leaves his house? Or how incompetent his wife is about the laundry? Or how much his wife complains about and avoids marital intimacy?
Yet wives frequently joke about how their husbands won't ask for directions or won't share the remote. Or that their husbands just don't "get" how hard motherhood and housework is, and that GOOD husbands should come home and take over the household duties when they get home from work. Or that men are selfish and always harping about their sexual "needs," when they just want to sleep. (Oh, yes-- I went there, ladies...)
President Gordon B. Hinkley once said:
"I am satisfied that happiness in marriage is not so much a matter of romance as it is an anxious concern for the comfort and well-being of one's companion."This message is not for the men only. It is true for husbands AND wives.
Too often in marriage, we feel like we have to "keep score."
He gets to go off and do something, so I should get to go out with my girlfriends.
He spent all that money on [frivolous item], so I should be able to go out and spend the same amount. It's only fair!
He gets to go out and socialize at work all day, so it's only fair that he puts the kids to bed/does the dishes/makes dinner when he gets home.I have been there-- I have done these things! But I know that not only is it not the way the Lord wants us to treat our spouses, it is also VERY damaging to the marriage relationship.
I challenge every wife to take a good, long look at how she treats her husband, and how she talks about him to others.
Do we have "anxious concern for the comfort and well-being" of our companion?
Let's reexamine ourselves and our attitudes toward our devoted, hard-working husbands. I know our homes, families, and marriages will be happier if we do so-- today.