In the recent weeks, I have had more than a few conversations about relationships and marriage…a couple of them light-hearted and amusing…some very hopeful and others very sobering.
My family and friends have been reflecting on their own situations and realizing that they’re all being called to a higher “state of being”, I guess you could say. The young married couples are growing more grateful for the spouses God gave them. The single folks are finding ways to prepare themselves for “The One” He will send them someday. Those who have ended dating relationships are learning to live their lives apart from a love they once hoped would last forever.
I’ve been on my own path of enlightenment, too – especially after rereading the story I wrote of the developing friendship I had with Gary before our courtship. In the spurts of free time I have during the day, I also read snippets of books I’ve had for a few years…trying to see how I can be a better wife and best friend to the man I pledged the rest of my life to.
In Romancing Your Husband, the author talks about communication infidelity. Even if a wife is not outrightly cheating on her husband, there are verbal and nonverbal ways that she can be unfaithful to him. Debra White Smith says, “If you live a life of verbal fidelity with your mate, your words praise him, encourage him, and generally build him up. If you live a life of verbal infidelity with your mate, then your words will criticize, bite, or discourage him.” If a wife is also belittling her husband in front of others or behind his back, she is not supporting him or trying to help him be a better person.
The funny thing is that the whole Jon & Kate plus 8 crisis/divorce has forced me to ask a lot of questions about relationships I may not have otherwise thought of if we weren’t following the show so closely (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, just pick up a tabloid at the grocery store…it’s quite a sad story). Whenever I’d notice Kate being mean to Jon, it would force me to think about the tone of voice I use or comments I make…wondering if there’s a little but of Kate in me, too.
St. Peter in his first letter tells married couples to be “of one mind: share each other’s troubles with mutual affection, be compassionate and humble (1Pt 3:8).” So I personally am trying harder to be the help-mate God made me to be for Gary. It’s not that I’ve been horrible to him or verbally abusive, but if I tell myself I”m not that bad and excuse away little things that I know I shouldn’t be doing or saying, then I might be chipping away slowly at his self-esteem. After a while, he won’t feel respected and loved or even valued as a man and the head of our family.
This is my lesson for the day, and I welcome it with all of my heart. We all have things to work on within ourselves and this is a good step in the right direction. Amen!