Monday, 23 August 2010

You Want Me to Do What?

I have a number of quirks. Many years ago I came to the realization that I psychologically resisted doing something my wife would ask me to do, such as clean the garage, even though she was asking me, not telling me. I was aware that while I was doing the chore, I would do it begrudgingly. I also realized that if it was my idea to do the same chore, I did it willingly and cheerfully. What’s that all about? pride, ego, or a need to control?

I suspect that most of us don’t like to feel as though we are being told to do something, even if it is for our own good. Maybe it is the rebellious child that seems to reside in most of us.

Being asked to clean the garage seems rather innocuous. Just think of my reaction if the stakes were raised and my wife would ask me to change something about myself – perfect though I may be. The same psychological block that causes me to resist doing a chore is elevated to a new level - it is personal. Now let’s add the coup de grace – the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Assume that my wife and I are not on the best of terms. How well do you think her “suggestions” of how I might improve would be received? Exactly!

Here in at least from a male perspective, which is all I can offer, is the problem. Clearly God must think that above all else the husband needs to feel the respect of his wife. Because of all the instructions God could have given wives, Ephesians 5:33 says, “Wives respect your husband.” So is it possible that when a wife conveys in some way that she is unhappy with her husband that he in turn feels disrespected? Put aside whether or not the criticism is valid.

Is there a way out of this dilemma?-perhaps. Remember if it was my idea to clean the garage I would do it cheerfully. If I come to the realization that I am falling short as a husband I would be willing to change. My wife can therefore become the catalyst by changing what she can change, i.e. herself. Conventional wisdom suggests that if she were to demonstrate greater respect I would respond by showing her more love.

What if the shoe were on the other foot? What if the husband would begin to love his wife as much as he loves himself (yes, Ephesians 5:33) would she not begin to respect him more?

The fact is we can only change ourselves and most often our attempts at changing the other person are met with resistance.

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