Monday, November 14, 2016
"...and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."
Have you ever seen the movie Misery? If you have, then when you hear that it is one of my favorite movies ever, you know how twisted I am. If you haven't, then you might want to rent it, but it's not for the faint of heart. If you grew up a close friend of my children, odds are I've watched this with you. I guess I should just say, "Sorry about that..." and get it over with.
In the movie, Annie Wilkes finds author Paul Sheldon severely injured from a car accident and nurses him back to health in her home. The drama intensifies when Paul finds out that Annie is his number one fan. She is such a big fan that when she reads his recently finished manuscript for the final installment of his Misery Chastain series in which Misery dies, she burns it and insists he write a different story. Now this was pre-computer days, so the burned manuscript was quite blow to Paul. Speaking of blows, there is a sledge hammer in the movie as well, but I don't want to spoil the story.
In her role as number one fan, Annie manipulates, threatens and abuses the one she deeply loves. She honestly believes it is for his own good, but in the end, Paul is a damaged man.
This post is for my married female readers. The rest of you can glean some wisdom from it, but you are off the hook today. Wives, I want you to take a moment and assess how you "fan" your husband. If you have been around me any length of time, you know that I teach that God's word instructs wives to follow their husbands through submission, to complete or finish in the role of helper and be their biggest fan by respecting them. Follow, finish and fan.
Are you your husband's biggest fan? How does that play out in your family? Dave and I taught a marriage conference this weekend and when it was done, some of the participants gave a testimony of what they learned. One gal who has 17 children (all hers and all single births - whoa!) said that she spends the day cheering on her children over the tiniest of things but when her husband gets home, she doesn't delight in his stories or accomplishments. It made me think about what fanning is all about and how important it is that we, as wives, really work on this.
Respecting our husbands is more than just telling him he's handsome, though that's a start. It's more than being kind, listening when he talks, not rolling our eyes at him or how we talk about him to our friends. True respect encompasses all those things - how we talk about him, how we talk to him, how we touch him and care for him, but it starts in our minds, how we think about him.
If we want our actions and words to be respectful, we have to think properly about our husbands. In counseling, Dave and I often say, "Do the things that love does and you'll feel the things that love feels." Well, when it comes to respect, "Think the things that are respectful and you'll do and say the things that are respectful." It starts in our heads.
What do you think about all day? When your husband comes to mind, what image do you form? Are you thinking kind, grateful, lovely thoughts about your husband or are you critical in your mind? Are you like Annie from our movie, wanting to shape and mold your husband into the person you want him to be? If that's what you are thinking, then when he gets home, the criticism and manipulation will begin to flow from your mouth. It's a heavy weight to live under, unmet expectations, and trust me, your husband knows when you are sugar-coating criticism.
So, ladies, we need to be our husband's biggest fan. He needs to know that you are on his team, supporting him, cheering him on - that you want him to be successful in all he does, that you're proud of him and that you love him above all others. But you will not be convincing unless you truly believe these things. What flows from your mouth begins in your mind. Do you believe that God is working in your husband's life? Then start there. Trust that God is shaping him into the man He wants him to be and you are simply along for the ride. In a world that beats on our husbands each day, we have the privilege to be the ones God has chosen to build up, cheer on and love these men. Let's not take this call lightly. Let's think kindly about our husbands and see how it changes our words and actions towards them.
Two final questions - if you are not your husband's biggest fan, then who is? And how do you like that answer? Let's get on this, ladies...