All his life, I’ve been there for him. I’ve been the sounding board for ideas, concerns, hopes, disappointments. I stayed up through the night, holding the puke bucket or rocking him when he was sick. I kissed his scraped knees, cheered his first goal, laughed at his first attempts at humor.
I was the one who suffered through the early years of music lessons.
I praised, cajoled, coached and punished, pointing (sometimes shoving) him toward Jesus. His young, impressionable heart was in my hands. God made me his mother, and that responsibility, though at times overwhelming, was a great joy.
I strove to be worthy of the total trust he had in me, though not always successfully. I was the most important woman in his life, and I knew it.
That’s no longer the case.
You have taken that role, the baton is passed and I hand it over with joy. No, not the role of mother, I’ll keep that, thank you. There may be days you feel like his mom, but the role as “the most important woman in his life” is now yours.
You are the first one he thinks of when he wants to share a new idea, a concern, his greatest hopes. You are the one he goes to when he faces emotional scraped knees, or when he wants to try out his newest joke. You are the one to inspire him to play music, the one to encourage, even cajole and coach at times.
You are the most important woman in his life, rhe most influential from now to death do you part. And the most powerful. This is good. It fits God’s purpose.
“An excellent wife, who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her.” Proverbs 31: 10, 11a
You hold his heart in your hand. God made it that way. God sees you as the helpmeet he needs to become a greater man. The man God plans for him to become. Together, you will further the kingdom and glorify God. It will often be an overwhelming task, but one which, when tended to in God’s way, will bring great joy.
Your opinion matters. How you see him, affects how he sees himself. One word, rightly spoken (sometimes accompanied by a gentle shove) will give him courage to put on his brightest armor and face the fiercest enemies.
That enemy might have the face of homework, a job, or a lawn that needs tending, or it may have a more sinister face, like illness, great conflict or tragedy. He needs you to wow over his bravery, cheer his efforts, wave his banner, be proud of him. Small accomplishments matter as well as the big.
Over the years, you will learn all about this less than perfect human you married, and it makes you both vulnerable. Like so many things, attitude is crucial for success.
Let me tell you some small lessons I learned that have helped me.
My husband is an odd fellow. I’m told it’s not so odd from the perspective of other guys, but it always seemed odd to me. In those early days of our marriage he had to do whatever repairs on the car that needed doing. The coffers were bare and we couldn’t afford to pay anyone to help. During those times, Doug loved for me to pull up a chair and watch. Yep. That’s it. Watch.
I couldn’t help worth a dime. Oh, I knew where the motor was, but that was the extent of my mechanical know how. As helpless as I was, he liked me there. So, I pulled up the chair and watched him work. Sometimes he explained what he was doing, sometimes he worked silently. When complete, I would admire the job well done, thankful that the car would make it one more day. It was like my presence was the cheering he needed to make the task not so tedious. I liked that he wanted me around.
Think about it, how many men would rather leave their wives at home while they go hang out with their buddies? My husband wanted to be with me. I’d pull up a chair and watch him anytime.
Thirty-four years later, whenever he finishes a hard task of clearing brush or fixing a ditch on our property, he wants me to walk with him afterward and loves to show me what he accomplished. I love that he still wants to share with me. It may seem inconsequential, but for him to know I appreciate and admire even these little things means a lot to him. I will gladly cheer him on. I am his biggest fan. I love being with him, and I love that he wants me around.
A discouraging or cutting word from you can take the wind out of his courage, be acid to his armor, bring him down.
One of my pet peeves is the common practice women have of complaining to each other about their husbands.
“Hey!” I want to shout. “Are you behaving in a way that reflects well the trust your husband has in you? Do you have his back, or are you destroying his reputation? How would you feel if you knew he was complaining about you in that same way to his buddies?” Not cool. It is embarrassing to listen to, and doesn’t improve anyone’s situation. If anything, it will drive the woman to dwell more on her own discontent, focus on her husband’s myriad faults, and make it more difficult to recognize his good points. Grace, understanding, and forgiveness become foreign concepts.
There are other subtle ways words hurt.
I’ll never forget the time I jokingly repeated a story about my husband to a group of friends.
He and I had laughed about it earlier, so I didn’t think that my repeating said tale was a bad thing. I was simply trying to be funny. Doug became very quiet and sullen. I had no idea why, so I became irritated. What was wrong with him?
Not a pretty picture. I later learned he felt I was making fun of him, humiliating him in front of his friends. Now I am a lot more careful about what stories I tell, or the angle I tell them with, or I make sure he’s ok with my sharing the tale. Together, we laugh at a lot. That’s good. Feeling laughed at, is a different experience. Being funny at your spouse’s expense is not any cooler than criticizing him behind his back.
My husband is one of the most incredible people I know, and God gave him to me! That thought is sometimes overwhelming, because I know with that gift, God gives me responsibilities. Mostly it fills me with joy.
To have your husband’s heart trust you–is that not awesome?
Random thoughts from a mom to her lovely daughter and daughters by marriage, with love–Mom