Disclaimer: Yes, I have a fine marriage & children. I do, however, LOVE to read books on those subjects. Maybe that's because I love to learn about things I have a valid interest in. I don't know altogether, but I love them! I always read something new to try that I probably never would have thought of on my own accord. Anyways...
I began reading Happy Wives Club, checked out their website, & joined in the great mission! Basically, I am one of those strange people that believe in enjoying a lasting marriage & having a close, loving relationship with my spouse & also with our children. Those dreams of mine began long before I met Nathan & continue today, & I plan to hang onto them forever!!!
In the book, Fawn quotes about one of her favorite books, "I can't completely explain the phenomenon, nor will I attempt to try, but something magical happens when women read the The Surrendered Wife. For starters, the author prescribes that a woman not tell her husband she's reading the book. And yet somehow, each woman to whom I've given the book testifies that after she read it she found her husband had changed for the better." I was immediately intrigued! How fun it would be to try something new on the sly! I ordered the ebook through my kindle app on our computer. That way, he wouldn't know I was reading it!
Thus, my experiment begins! Both books suggest respect right off the bat as being the #1 thing a husband desires & the lack of it most wives offer. I looked up some statistics on the subject in the famous book For Women Only that I keep on my desk. Men would rather feel alone & unloved than inadequate & disrespected. He'd rather be alone than disrespected...wow! Want to know the percent of men that feel disrespected? 81%! Ouch! That's terrible! No wonder most marriages end in divorce. The #1 thing they want, they are rarely getting. I'm sure we can all think of some of these marriages where this rings out loud & clear! Several definitely come to my mind as I often hear them talk so down to their husbands & treat them as if they are the children in need of scolding. I most certainly don't want to be included in that!
Now, if you asked me, I'd be glad to say that according to the authority of God, Nathan is the head of our household. However, all of this reading has me wondering is this the answer we are suppose to give or the actual truth? Am I trying to be "the neck that turns the head?" under the cover of the name "helper?" No, I don't run over him, but after reading the book's examples, I could definitely improve! I buy his clothes (even pick them out most of the time when we go somewhere), want things done a certain way (load the dishwasher, wash/fold/put away clothes, point out that he needs to clean HIS shop, just lots of small things), & make "helpful suggestions" about what he needs to do way too often. After all, he is a respectable adult & not an irresponsible child. I may teach my children the way I want something done because of their lack of knowledge on the subject. I should not treat him with the same attitude. I should be thankful for who is & what he does for us & appreciate that he is volunteering to help out enough that I respect his way of doing it (especially since he is the one who works to pay for all of these appliances, etc). It is NOT my job to teach, improve, or correct my husband. After all, I chose him as he was. I am not his mother, nor do I want him to view me as such!
Today is the day! I put my experiment into action. My plan was simple~listen a lot & keep my mouth shut more. At first the day seemed normal. He was quickly getting ready to make his way to his shop to work early as he always does. Only I was puzzled by this since last night we realized we had no hot water. I mean, can't a dead animal wait to be stuffed until you fix our hot water heater? I didn't say anything though, but I wanted to. I even tried to think of a nice way of suggesting that we see about fixing the hot water heater 1st but didn't. I could picture him finishing work in time to turn off our water, tear the thing apart, & need parts or even a new water heater just as the stores were closing when all of that seemed so avoidable. It was even a church night too. I still didn't say anything. Keeping my mouth shut was going to be harder than I thought. To me this seems like only sharing my opinion, but I didn't want to blow it 1st thing. The fact was that he knew we didn't have hot water. He prioritized working 1st. I am over here thinking you are your own boss, hello? I want to have running water tonight in time to get all of us ready! The day progressed right along without it having to be my way. He came in before lunch which was way earlier than expected. Maybe he really is going to be responsible about this. Next, you know what happened probably. A huge mess was made trying to drain the water heater. I didn't suggest anything. I just helped. He made a trip to town to buy a new element. I didn't even remind him it was almost lunch & I couldn't do much of anything in the kitchen with the water off. I kept my mouth shut right on. He is old enough to tell time. I even reasoned in my mind that we've never gone hungry. I will admit that while he was gone, I watched some youtube videos on the subject. I figure that wouldn't hurt since he wouldn't know. I did cave & call him about a suggestion I saw. In hind sight, I could have left that alone. We did, however, vacuum out the sediment in the bottom of our ancient tank. This should help our tank to last longer was what I justified my "helpful suggestion" with. In reality though, it probably came across like I was controlling the whole repair as if I had a clue. Soon Nathan became really irritated as things weren't going back together as easily as they came apart. I felt helpless. I was trying not to say anything as he snapped for the kids to get back. They were getting hungry and naturally curious as to what was going on. Soon they began acting wild. I tried to remain calm. I could feel things unraveling. He barked rather harshly for them to go outside. I spoke faster than my brain could stop me. I pointed out that this wasn't their fault & that they were getting hungry. I realized I shouldn't have said that, but it was too late. Quickly I saw how it would have been better on all of us had I bundled them up & let them go play. I had to constantly keep getting on to them as if they were a classroom of little kiddos whose teacher had stepped out of the room. They were playing way too loudly & rough. I had to call a time out for all of them! Maybe he saw that coming. I apologized. He kept working. I wondered how many times I have done that before. It seems so easy to just blurt out an opinion that I thought was best.
After 1:00, he had it all put back together & ready to turn on the water again. This was disastrous! Water was squirting everywhere. He was yelling for me to turn off the water to the house. I ran outside. I turned it off. I came inside to a frustrated husband. I turned on some uplifting music. He worked with it for a while longer. He found some pieces he didn't back put on. I got concerned. He tightened everything down again. The next time, he sent me outside with my cell phone on my ear to let me know if I needed to turn off the water again ASAP. I turned it on slowly. Honestly, I prayed silently that it would all just work. It did! Maybe God was rewarding my efforts, however bleak.
Since it was around 2, he suggested we hit the drive thru to McDonalds. No, I don't like feeding my household fast food, but we were all famished! He was also wanting to go set steel traps. We all enjoy trapping this time of year together. I really would have preferred to start this another day since there was a mess waiting for us to clean up, it was getting late, & it was still, in fact, a church night. I didn't say that. Instead I just grabbed the new book I bought to read aloud to our family. McDonalds here we come! Of course the kiddos would be thrilled with their happy meals at least!
You won't believe what happened next! Around 18 traps were set out, 2 long chapters of the new book read, & we were headed home with plenty of time to clean up the mess, fix supper, & get ready for church on time too. We had such a fun afternoon together. We even laughed so hard at the book that sometimes I would have to stop reading. What an enjoyable day this turned out to be when I let go of control & went with the flow.
Today just happens to be the national holiday where we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday. It was a blessing not to do our regular school lessons today although the children's book we began won lots of awards for celebrating black history. I began to do more thinking about how he had a dream that indeed came true. My dream is also attainable! I desire to be the best wife & mother that God will bless me to be. If that means keeping my mouth shut more often, so be it! We all had a great day!
Stay tuned for experiment updates!