Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How Women Treat Their Husbands

Based on scientific observations of women at garage sales and on Facebook, I have concluded that far too many American women don't treat their husbands with respect.

Earlier this summer I stopped at a few garage sales in a local smallish town.  First I impulsively bought a lovely antique dresser for the princely sum of $25.  After all, I was driving the van, and the seats were out, and there was the dresser, and we needed it for our stuff upstairs while Dad stayed in our bedroom, so I figured God wanted me to have it.

Mr. and Mrs. Garage Sale were both friendly and engaging people.

Of course I couldn't lift a dresser into the van by myself.  So Mr. Garage Sale came to help.  Mrs. did too.

Mrs. took charge of the whole process.  "Lift that end up!" she snapped at Mr.  "No! Down below!"

"This way!" "Up!" "No! Be careful!"

She hopped into the van and maneuvered while he lifted the bottom end and pushed.  She hollered commands the entire time and informed him how he was doing it wrong.

He tucked something underneath the dresser to protect it.  She yanked it away and tucked it in right.

He brought the one broken drawer and set it in.  She grabbed it and set it in correctly with an annoyed sigh.

The process was excruciating to watch.

I checked: no rings, so maybe they weren't Mr. and Mrs. after all.  It was obvious that they both lived there, though.  I was tempted to suggest to him that he deserves better than this and maybe he should just, you know, LEAVE.

Because I have a hunch that when "Mrs." talked to the dog, the neighbors, the cashier, the kids, or anyone else, she didn't TELL them what to do, she ASKED.

"Wanna come here, Freckles?"
"Would you mind picking up our mail?"
"Can you feed the cat?"
"Could you ring that up separately?"

But with Mr., it was all imperatives.  And all combined with the most obvious signals that he was completely inept and incapable, in sharp contrast to her full capability in every situation.

From there I went to another sale a few blocks away.  This time Mrs. and the teenage daughters were running the sale.  While I was there, Mr. pulled up in a pickup truck.

Mrs. hollered from behind the table, "Where were you?  We've been waiting for an hour!"

He replied, from the pickup window, that he had gone to a few other sales.

Mrs. and the teenage girls all turned to him in annoyance.  "Really? All right, whadja buy this time?!"

He told them.  A grill, I think.

My word, the huffs and sighs and rolled eyes.  "Can you BELIEVE him?!  Having a garage sale and going out and buying more junk?!"

Mr. looked defeated and humiliated.

I felt very sad.

If you click any wifey-mommy videos online, whether it's commercials, monologues in the car, or anything else, Christian or secular, you're going to see this same attitude over and over.

This DUMB guy.
Can you BELIEVE this?
What on earth is he up to now?
World, neighborhood, universe, everybody: Do you SEE THIS STUPID THING MY HUSBAND JUST DID?

And I think: this is your husband.  He is a person.  He becomes who you believe him to be.

You wouldn't treat anyone else this way.  Not your friends, the mailman, the cat.

If a teacher did this to your child, you would have them fired.

You do not own the key to the One Universal Right Way To Do Things.

His way is probably just as good as yours.

And if he buys a grill you don't need, you discuss this IN PRIVATE.  Like ADULTS.  Admitting that you have a few tiny faults of your own, but you can work this out, because you made vows to honor each other, and stuff.

Is it easy to make your husband's bumbling the brunt of a joke before others? Yes.  Have I done it myself? Yes.

But I repented when I became aware of it, and I am on a mission to not ever be a publicly-shaming, eye-rolling, Garage Sale sort of wife.

Starting with ASKING instead of TELLING.

Quote of the Day:
"Are you weirded out by possibly sticking a few clothing items in with food?"
--Ben, to Jenny, while packing for a camping trip to the Wallowas


  1. My mom has been saying this for years, starting way back when with Tim Allen in Home Improvement. Again, you two with your twin stuff.... --Crystal

  2. That kind of behavior is portrayed many times on so-called TV comedies. The man, the dad/husband is shown to be a bumbling incompetent and the brunt of everyone's derision. It's sick and from what you describe, real life! I miss my darling husband every day, and never considered treating him with such poison!

  3. Women who do this should stop and think. He is probably the one who asked her to marry him and she said yes. If he's so stupid, how could she be so dumb?

  4. Thank you, Dorcas, for this word-in-season to wives. I've noticed this too and I've been guilty of disrespect to my own husband, to my shame. Thank God for forgiveness and the grace to start anew. This is a refreshing post!

  5. It is painful to observe, I agree. So many times I'm thinking to myself, "This is the best part of their life, for what they dreamed, and the other half of their very being." The belittling and unkindness is truly to the detriment of one's own self.

  6. Well said and THANK YOU! This is something that eats at me all the time. I just can't bear it but there is little one can do. I will never say that I have not been guilty myself but respect is what I strive for every day.

  7. Yes! Thank you. I don't like "stupid husband" jokes either. How would we feel if our husbands did that to us? I like your emphasis that the men in our lives are real people who are worthy of respect.

  8. This topic has been on my heart recently, too. I have such a good man in my life but can so easily slide into disrespect.

  9. This topic has been on my heart recently, too. I have such a good man in my life but can so easily slide into disrespect.

  10. Love you being willing to open this 'can of worms'! It's a real problem out there...and over here. I've been too guilty of it myself and I hate it and feel so badly when it's that way. The book 'Fascinating Womanhood' is a good one to read on this subject. Also, I have a beef against most of the children's Berenst**n Bear books for this very reason. Papa bear is belittled way too much....

    1. Exactly how I feel about Berenstain bear books.

  11. I've always heard that how we treat our husbands in public has a magnified effect compared to how we treat them in private (though they are both important, of course). If we praise them in public, it has a huge positive impact on them and on the relationship. If we tear them down in public, it tears up their inner man and humiliates them. My goal is to never say a bad word about my husband in public, whether he is present or not. I'd rather highlight the great things about him! He and I both have things to work on, but like you said, those things can be respectfully discussed (or sometimes better yet, ignored and instead prayed about) in private, as adults who are on the same team and not against each other.

  12. The Scriptures have harsh words for this sin. Here are a few examples: "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones." (Prov.12:4) "It is better to live in a corner of a roof Than in a house shared with a contentious woman." (Prov. 21:9) Then Proverbs 6:16-20 lists six things which the LORD hates, seven which are an abomination to Him. The very first one on that list is "haughty eyes". I once heard a Hebrew scholar describe the practice of rolling the eyes in disgust and flashes of impatient scorn as having "haughty eyes". God hates this, especially when directed from a wife towards her husband, as Eph 5:33b confirms "...and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband."

    Another unflattering description is found in the truth of James 3:8, "But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison." I have a hunch that the women you described in your story were not Christian women. Their shameful, belittling behaviors and poisonous words were simply a reflection of their old sinful natures. But the redeemed Christian woman has been graciously given a new nature in Christ as well as the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to "walk in newness of life". So while none of us who are Christians can tame our restless, evil, old-nature tongues either and have all missed the mark in this regard, the Holy Spirit will help us to change our attitudes and habits to become more and more Christlike as we are being changed into His image. (II Cor 3:18)

    I am thankful to God for the privilege and promise of I John 1:9 that "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I do not want to have to hang my head in shame at the Bema judgment because I was like rottenness in my husband's bones. Thank you, Dorcas, for writing this post.

  13. I often wonder if the women who do this think about how it makes them look. I mean who looks at a ranting or degrading woman and thinks "Man, what a catch!". Secondly, how wise does it make her look? She is telling him how dumb he is yet she is in a committed relationship with him. Come on ladies. Lets rise up and be the blessing God intended us to be!

  14. Is it amazing how relevant the Bible is! The husband is told to love his wife, while the woman is told to respect/honor your husband. The greatest gift besides Christ that I ever received is a wife who honors me, respects me, some of it I earned some of it I don't deserve but it sure makes it easy to serve her.

  15. ooooh, I needed to hear this! I can usually hold my tongue in public, but I just need to still work on my inner thoughts about my husband (because I'm sure my attitude comes out at times). My best friend says something about siblings that I think applies here too: that siblings/families have a unique power to hurt or build each other up because we live so closely together that we know each others' buttons and sore spots. We must not be cruel to our intimates.

  16. Playing the devil's advocate, I will say the men should not allow this to happen. My late husband would not have tolerated such behavior from me or the children. He just by his demeanor was the family leader. He was not abusive, but he expected and got respect. Once this type of attitude starts, it's hard to bring it under control. I suspect, if the wife earns more than the husband, she may think she is the leader.

  17. I don't get the Berenstain bears books either, though since they are Christian, the son, helps with the writing, they do have a different slant on papa.