The Unbroken Woman blog is hosting The Respect Dare. Starting July 10, participants will be using Nina Roesner’s The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband as a guide, posting about their journey. And I will be doing it with you!
This Dare says to praise your husband and compliment him in front of others. My husband won’t be there to see it, but I have my work cut out for me this coming weekend.
My husband and I came from very different families. My parents are socially and politically liberal and think of themselves as tolerant of difference. Yet I’ve watched them be intolerant and judge people for their views. My father grew up in a church but has never been much of a church-goer as an adult. My mom has been very active in church and took us to Sunday School when we were little. She considers herself Christian, but I honestly don’t know what she means by that.
My husband’s parents are socially and politically conservative and live in a very homogenous community, yet I have never seen them judge anyone. When they face an opinion they don’t understand, they ask questions, genuinely wanting to understand—even though they disagree. They have a strong Christian faith. Most of what I know about living a Christian life I learned from them.
My parents opposed my marriage. In fact, when my husband asked my dad for his blessing before marrying me, my dad wouldn’t give it.
So just imagine how much fun family gatherings are.
When we are with my family, as much as everyone tries to get along, inevitably we come to a time when one of my parents just can’t help but ask my husband about why he believes a certain way—and then when he answers, they proceed to debate and try to explain why he’s wrong. He comes away feeling attacked, and I feel stressed because my husband and parents don’t get along. My siblings and their spouses do just fine with him, but my parents just won’t leave him alone.
My husband has had so many ups and downs with employment over the past few years. I have been frightened and stressed. Only a few times have I shared my despair about money with my mother. At no point in our marriage have I ever complained to my family about my husband—even when he was struggling to land a long-term job.
A few months ago, my husband was offered a job. I dutifully called my parents to share the news. My dad’s response was, “Well, tell him congratulations—and I hope he keeps it this time.” I said I would pass along the congratulations and ended the call. I was surprised that I wasn’t angry at my father, just sad. A while later, my husband asked me how the phone call went. I told him. And I raked my father over the coals in absentia for his comment. I could see how much it mattered to him to see me choose his side over my parents’ side. It was a moment when I could actually see how respect affected my husband.
When I head north for vacation with my kids later this week, I will miss my husband. He hasn’t gone to this campout for several years. He’s had legitimate work conflicts; he and I are both relieved by that. But I will miss him often. I want to wander into the forest and have him ravish me. I want to swim in the lake with him and let him look down my swimsuit. I want to go on walks with him and just be with him. But as much as he and I will miss each other, it will be easier for all of us this way.
He won’t be there, but there will be moments when I am challenged on his behalf. I’ll be asked why he holds a particular view. I’ll be asked why he posts about certain political topics on Facebook. I’ll be asked how his job is going. I will be called on to demonstrate respect for my husband in the face of disrespect from others I love.
I know that it matters to my husband to be praised in front of others, and I will make a point of doing that this week. But he knows that even when I am with my family, I am his wife more than anything else.
I am his wife.
Read these other bloggers to learn about their experiences with the Respect Dare:
The Respect Dare Blog (author Nina Roesner)