Monday, April 18, 2011
Scripture is full of comments about our speech - what we should not say, what we should say, being ready to give an answer, controlling our tongue - I could spend hours simply quoting the verses that apply. But I'd rather share a life lesson.
I have learned that someone very dear to me really thrives on praise. If you are familiar at all with The Five Love Languages writings, this person shows possible signs of Words of Affirmation being one of his "native tongues". It's not his primary language, but it could very likely be a secondary language. The person in question is my hubby!
I learned this truth in a very simple way: I paid him a compliment in a public fashion. There was something I appreciated about him and I expressed that appreciation in such a way that others knew how I felt. Boy did I strike a chord!! I like to get an "attagirl" every so often. But my man positively glowed after my statement! He repeatedly told me how much it meant to him that I said what I did. And by repeatedly I mean half a dozen times in the course of about three hours.
Now the hard part: I need to keep looking for ways to offer GENUINE praise. Empty flattery is one of those things spoken against in scripture and I would NEVER knowingly hurt my husband by offering empty, meaningless, words as a substitute for sincere appreciation. But when I can make him feel overwhelmingly respected and loved by offering genuine appreciation and praise, why would I miss any opportunity to do so?!
Friday, April 08, 2011
There are times when a lesson I've learned is difficult to express in words. Some - most? - of the intensity of the experience gets lost in translation from my head to the page. No matter how I try, no catchy phrase or carefully chosen adjective fully describes just how drastically my paradigm has shifted, how severely my perspective has altered.
Instinct tells me I may be embarking on one such experience but here I go anyway!!
I've made a concentrated effort lately to express respect to my husband. I don't mean merely focusing on feeling respectful. I've tried to find opportunities to tell what I respect about him in very specific detail. Since feeling respected doesn't push my buttons like it does his, I've had to be very deliberate and proactive in this self-imposed exercise.
This change in my behavior had the surprising effect of bringing about an altered perspective like I mentioned before. I went into it trying to fulfill the Biblical directive found in Ephesians 5:33 - "and the wife must respect her husband." I figure God made my husband so he probably knows what hubby needs most from me. Right? So I made a simple choice to be obedient and didn't even suspect how it would change me!
Like a significant majority of men, my hubby finds his sense of purpose and significance in his job. I, on the other hand, am a fairly typical female in that I find my joy and purpose in building relationships. Please note - I am NOT saying that one is better than the other. Neither approach is wrong, but the two different views of life can create misunderstanding at times. Oh, let's be honest - a marriage between someone who is energized by their work and someone who is energized by relationships has all the ingredients for good old-fashioned conflict! The work oriented person - who happens to LOVE his or her job - just doesn't understand the relationship oriented person who comes home from work fatigued. The relationship junky, on the other hand, cannot understand why anyone, including their more careere minded spouse, would want to leave a social gathering early! You get the idea.
In my effort to express respect for my husband on a consistent basis, I began to better understand how his job energized him and began to really appreciate the joy he finds in it. And I absolutely LOVE those moments when he's really jazzed by what is happening in his ministry as a Senior Pastor. It's one of the major benefits to being a Pastor's wife: you not only know what your husband does for a living and have a chance to build relationships with the people he "works" with, you actually get to watch him shine in his element on a regular basis!! I love it!!
The other night, I was mulling over my new perspective and deeper understanding. I've come to appreciate the deep, abiding passion my husband has for leading our church "family". I've stood by his side more than a little proudly when people thank him for a timely word or visit or when they tell him how much they enjoy his preaching. (All the while thinking things like "That's MY man!!") But I was stunned when I thought about his passion for his job and his commitment to excellence in light of a task he has entrusted me with.
Our church is sponsoring a Youth theater this summer - Take 2 Summer Youth theater - as a part of our desire to impact our community. This venture was birthed out of something called a Missional Church Learning Experience that a team from our church took part in. Without going into too much detail, we learned about the importance of chatting with our community to see what they saw as needs in the community and then seeking to meet those needs. Hubby's hope (and the hope of the team as well) is that this will be the first of many such ventures; that the people in our church can start to use their God-given S.H.A.P.E. to reach out in creative, practical ways to those around us.
Hubby asked me to take on the role of "Managing Director" for Take 2. I accepted the job and didn't think much of the fact that he pretty much handed over responsibility for getting the ball rolling regarding planning/promoting auditions as well as getting the contracts for royalties and rental and has trusted me to take care of the details and report back to him. Or should I say I didn't give it much thought until just recently. Now that I understand a little better how passionate he is about ministry - ESPECIALLY the missional approach to ministry - I realize what a gift he handed me!!
With this being our church's first encounter with a missional approach, I know it's important to him that it be a positive experience all the way around so that others in our congregation will be encouraged to step out into the community with their gifts and passions. Hubby is a great manager and it would be so easy for him to keep "checking in" on me to make sure I'm taking care of my responsibilities. But he hasn't. Not even once. When I bring up anything regarding royalties, auditions, costumes, sets, etc. he is more than willing to chat with me. But that's it. He has, in the very truest definition of the word, ENTRUSTED this task to me. Don't get me wrong - we have people in place to handle PR, set-building, etc. But he has, without hesitation or any outward sign of anxiety, placed the role of "Managing Director" in my hands and stepped away to let me do the job.
I am honored and humbled by that level of trust from my husband. He knows my passion for the performing arts and the joy I find working with teens. He knew before he asked me to take the job that I would say yes!! But the unquestioning trust he has displayed in my abilities since that moment has left me humbly grateful for the gift of such an amazing husband.