I always like to start these semi controversial blogs with "DIS IS MY BLOG. YOU DO YOU BOO BOO."
This is not your typical southern baptist "well the bible says to respect my husband as head of the household therefore I'm going to lie down and not speak" so while the title may have made you think that, that's not what this is about. I also think it's important to recognize I'm sharing this in efforts to show others even small little issues can be resolved without huge blow ups, but that I'm being vulnerable so maybe keep that in mind. ;)
I just simply wanted to share a story on how I really did something that I've never done before and how it changed my marriage. When Tanner and I moved to NYC, there was no trouble in paradise but there were a few heated arguments over REALLY silly stuff. I can remember the days but like not even really what they were about. I think we all have these. I do remember one thing though...he felt completely and utterly disrespected from the way that I treated him in front of other people. He never said those words of course though.
I am not one to deal with this well so I fired shots. Shots like, "OH COMEEEEEE ON CALM DOWN IT'S NOT THAT SERIOUS DUDE! IT WAS A JOKE!" I also fired shots of "How dare you demand respect like this is 1910? I am a woman. Here me roar."
We all know I'm over exaggerating here, but you get the point. To explain what was going on-I was doing what every wife does right? Her husband says something that she believes to be silly. She rolls her eyes in efforts to let everyone know "He's so silly. I know he's silly. I'm embarrassed." I have this thing that I do to myself also. I point out my flaws to make everyone laugh. I thought the same humor would hold true when pointing out the flaws of my husband...in front of him...and friends. I'm not a terrible person. These are not like REAL flaws, but like funny flaws. For example, I always laugh about how someone will tell me "I saw someone that looked JUST LIKE YOU the other day" and I'm like "Let me guess. They had a long horse face." (cue the laughter)
Everyone laughs when I say this because they know I have a long face which makes it even more funny when I'm like "YEA SEE WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING SO HARD!!" I'm not offended by this. I don't have low self esteem about my long face. I just have one and I like to make people laugh about it. So what was the harm in playing this game with my husband right?
I was having a bible study with a group of girls and we were going through the book, Love and Respect and the "crazy cycle." The crazy cycle goes like this. You feel unloved so you disrespect him. He feels disrespected so he doesn't love you well. You aren't loved well so you disrespect. You get it? In order to break this cycle someone has to just say "Okay, I'm just going to sacrifice my desires in efforts to do this for you." Typical Christian-ese marriage talk.
So, I'm reading along in the book and it says something about making a joke at the expense of your spouse to make others laugh. I thought "Woah... do I do that?" I had never thought of it in that way. My little grinch heart started to soften. We went to our group that night and I had this epiphany moment. I know they all probably thought it was just normal talk but I was thinking "No really, this is huge. I've got to stop. I'm going to stop. I'm being so mean to him in efforts to make others laugh. I get embarrassed by some goofy thing he might say and I roll my eyes at him. That's not the wife I want to be. I want to lift him up."
I'm going to be honest, and I know that some might think it's silly but men were CREATED to have their ego stroked.... and especially by their wives. No, my husband does not ask me to stroke his ego or even make reference to this but when I started uplifting my husband instead of picking on him, he was a different person. Let me tell you though... that did NOT happen overnight. The word I would describe him as was ... defensive.
I started to notice that any time there was even a hint at something that I was putting him down, almost like he thought I was treating him like a little kid, he would give a snide remark (mind you it's Tanner-he doesn't raise his voice but he would immediately make it clear he thought I was putting him down and he didn't understand why I always do that). I kept thinking to myself how I created him that way when that was NOT how he used to be, so it was my job to undo it and show him I wasn't going to pick on him or put him down. I know yall only know me through this blog, but yall, I don't do well with keeping my mouth shut in moments like this. It took genuine REAL effort to be think to myself "KATIE DO NOT SNAP BACK!!" I can remember twice I had moments of broken down tears of "I'm trying so hard to uplift you and be so biblical with the way I'm treating you and you don't even recognize how hard I'm working over here" and him immediately being like "Oh wow. I had no idea you were even trying. I'll start trying too."
Little by little, he started to give back. Little by little, he started to not have the knee jerk response of defensiveness. It's been really cool to see the change in our marriage simply by me sacrificing just getting that last word in. When I say we don't fight...we like legit don't fight. I can't even remember the last time. We agree on really big issues that people argue about (politics, religion, food preferences, financial preferences, ways to raise a kid [we will see how that lasts ha], etc etc) so we find it rather easy to agree. I honestly will say that without a doubt, I made him into the defensive person that he was for a year. I picked on him. I made him feel belittled. But, I had no idea I was even doing it. It took introspection to see the things that I needed to change. It took a solid year to undo the response he had towards me, and then now I look back and think "when did the defensiveness stop?" I don't even know. But, it did.
I know there will be tons of stories like this in our marriage, but it's really cool to look back and know that through making Christ the center of our marriage, I was able to recognize that it's not about me and my desires, but about how can I make us better together. I'm not saying I got this gig figured out and it was most definitely the work of the Lord through me in those moments of prayfully keeping my mouth shut and knowing how to uplift him not put him down, but in all those moments of wanting to say "NO! ME ME ME! I AM WOMAN HERE MY ROAR" to saying "I respect you so much and I think you're wonderful and a true gift to me so I'm going to shut up and sit down", I was able to see my husband become an even better husband and love me even better than he already did.
((There are so many run on sentences in this blog and yall all know I'm not a grammatically well written author and I'm more of a 'spew my thoughts on the world wide web' type of blogger so please forgive me. hahaha!!))