Is your spouse wrong or just different?
Recently I read an article where a wife described how her husband had neglected his spiritual leadership role in their home.
I read up her challenge and how vexed she was and slowly began to identify with her.
Her thinking and expectations, to be exact.
I have in the past defined how leadership in my marriage (and a host of other marital roles) ought to look like.
And of-course gone ahead to demand my version and preference from my beloved.
The lady and the wallet
Recently my husband was changing a tail light at a parking lot when a lady approached us and asked for three dollars for gas.
As she talked I was taking in the little details; the small flecks around her mouth, her dressing, her fast mannerism, quick words.
Everything within me was screaming “Con!”
My husband on the other hand, had paused from his work and was looking at her the way you’d look at another human being who needs help.
Within moments and and before I could put in my question (or two), he had his wallet out, counted some money, gave it to her, waved away her thanks and went back to work.
It was not the first time I’ve felt like a deer in headlights; unable to wrap my itchy mind around his generosity.
Good givers always examine motives (or not)
While I consider myself a “generous” giver, I am still very much the “deductive” giver, the one that wants to examine motives, probe deeper and apply breaks as necessary.
My husband on the other hand likes to live out Luke 6:30.
He “give (s) to everyone who asks (him)…” (Brackets mine)
And he listens well, he’s friendly, asks genuine questions and treats people with respect.
Obviously that creates a little problem for me because I believe that good givers (nay good stewards) examine motives, always ask questions, say no.
And that’s what I expect of my husband, the leader of our marriage, our chief earner and example.
Setting ourselves up to fail
I’ve learned that so often we set up ourselves to up to fail because we are rigid in the way we perceive things and the way we expect our spouses to be.
Specifically how we expect them to play their roles in marriage, even life. Like me and my idea of how givers ought to be, we have the roles down to tasks and behavior.
The problem of course is that usually our spouses will also have their own version of what it means to carry out that role.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with encouraging growth in our spouses when we feel there’s room for such growth and improvement (all though we must remember that such growth is a personal choice).
I do think however that when we hold our spouses hostage, demanding that they do things our way, refusing to see or acknowledge or express appreciation for the other ways they carry their roles and duties in marriage, we set up ourselves for a long long struggle.
Learning from each other
My husband has more fun giving than I do sometimes.
His heart is light, he doesn’t care that much about being right. He believes that attention and prayer are really important, not just money or substance.
A while back we decided that whenever we came upon a need and we had the means to meet it, we would ‘err’ on the side of giving; go with the person that felt generous, not the one that felt like holding back.
We’ve not perfected that yet, but we at least we have that basic understanding in place.
How about you?
Do you need of a fresh pair of eyes in your marriage? Do you need to start noticing and appreciating all the other different ways your spouse carries their role?
Maybe he’s not the social butterfly at church but he’s great at one-on-one connections?
Or the house is not as clean as you’d like it to be but she’s a great mom to your kids?
Me thinks that if we dared beyond our personal wants and preferences, if we broke the mold and ventured out of narrow perspectives, we’d be wonderfully delighted (and surprised) by our spouses.
Question: What do you think? Has changing your perspective impacted your relationship positively?
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