Andrew was having a hard time yesterday; he was really tired and wanted to escape into a computer game. But he had homework to do first. He struggled to stay focused, trying not to let me see the crocodile tears that dripped down his face. He didn’t have that much homework. I knew something more was going on. Something else was brewing in his thoughts that had to do with some friends. He’d been hinting about it all day but not flat out saying it.
JJ was sitting across the living room watching a football game while also kind of aware of what was going on with us. I had an idea of something that would cheer up Andrew, but I also thought what Andrew needed most was for his dad to recognize what was going on. I thought JJ should turn off the tv and “engage” with his son. It wasn’t happening, and in my mind I was not thinking very honoring thoughts towards my hubby. I invited him into the situation by suggesting he turn off the tv and come over to talk with Andrew.
It all got messy at about that time. JJ felt insulted. I felt frustrated. He finally just said, “Tell me what you want me to do.” I wanted him to take Andrew to do something fun, manly, and distracting like shooting the bb gun in the woods at glass bottles that will explode. I wanted it to be JJ’s idea but couldn’t get him to read my mind. If I told him, it wouldn’t mean as much to Andrew. (Such female thinking!)
Finally, I gave in and said, “When he finishes his homework, why don’t you guys go shoot the bb gun?”
Andrew smiled so big and said, “Okay!” The tears were gone and so was my husband. He was very frustrated about how things had unfolded. He felt dishonored for the way I handled it all – how I said it and when I said it (in front of the kids). I felt so misunderstood!
Feeling very convicted that I needed to honor my husband’s perspective, I remembered something I learned this summer while reading the book of Esther. Esther was chosen by the King to be his new wife because his first wife, Vashti, had dishonored him. The king’s advisers insisted that he remove the Queen from her throne because they were afraid her decision to dishonor the King would influence other wives to dishonor their husbands. God reminded me that the way we treat our husbands has great influence on others. It influences the kind of women our sons will look to marry. It influences the way our daughters will speak to their husbands. And it influences how our friends might talk to their husbands after hearing how we talk to ours.
However, my pride kept reminding me that I had the best of intentions. I thought so highly of my husband that I wanted him to be the one to speak into Andrew’s hurts and right whatever was wrong. But sometimes the best of my intentions can get me into the biggest of troubles!!!
I wonder if that was what happened with Vashti. Did she think hers were the best of intentions when she dishonored her husband? Maybe she was trying to prove a point that seemed good to her at the time.I used to think the ramifications she faced were a little harsh. But when I looked more closely, I realized how far reaching her influence was when she dishonored her husband.
After I cooled down a few hours later, I asked God to show me how to honor my husband and change the influence I had on my sons that had witnessed the whole “discussion.” The Holy Spirit nudged me to say I was sorry even though I had the best of intentions. I needed to say it – “I’m sorry for dishonoring you.”
Now, let me tell you – it was hard! I wanted JJ to say he was wrong, too. But that wasn’t God’s plan. He wanted me to just apologize for using a tone and timing that dishonored JJ, and leave it alone. JJ even told me that is what would make him feel most honored. So, I eventually swallowed some huge chunks of pride and apologized.
My pride was so hard to swallow but it went down a little easier when I remembered that honoring my husband honors God, and also influences my sons who will one day look for wives that I hope will honor their husbands, too. (It also helped that I really love my very patient husband and don’t want to dishonor him – I just don’t deliver my thoughts very well sometimes.