February 5, 2015

I Am My Husband’s Cheerleader

“If you can’t say anything nice…”

Ugh. Sometimes I still need my mother to peek around the corner and yell at me.

“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Because honestly. Sometimes I can be the epitome of all those “quarrelsome wife” verses in Proverbs.

A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day. (Proverbs 27:15)

(Did you hear that, Self? King Solomon compares being around a quarrelsome, ill-tempered, critical, negative, nagging wife to Chinese Torture. Congratulations.)

Criticizing how he drives.

Criticizing how he takes care of Toddler.

Criticizing how he dresses.

Criticizing what time he gets home from work.

Criticizing what he didn’t do.

Criticizing what he did do because he didn’t do it exactly the way I wanted him to.

Criticizing how he says something.

Criticizing with a tone of voice that is not called “Talking” but “Snipping.”

Criticizing anything I can think of in front of family and friends.

Criticizing him for how he chews his food, or brushes his teeth, or how he decides to breathe during that one second I’m paying attention.
  
Drip. Drip. Drip. Yikes.

If I had criticism constantly dripping on me, I’d probably call “Chinese Torture” too.

This is a legit angry face.
Because who ever thinks it is a good idea to swim through caves of cold water?
Nobody who is my real friend, that's who.

It’s not that Husband is never at fault, or that he never makes mistakes. It’s not that I shouldn't be honest with him, or tell him how his actions make me feel. It’s not that I don’t wonder if he tries to pick the parking spot farthest away from our destination and park my door right next to an abundant amount of foliage on purpose. (I swear.

And it’s not that I’m above blaming an overly critical attitude on pregnancy hormones. (Because that’s totally a thing.)

But.

Trying to live and work and make a healthy marriage with someone who is too often negative (or critical or downright mean) is difficult.

(Did you hear that, Self? Your marriage isn’t better off with your snarky comments whose sole purpose is to make Husband feel dumb. Your marriage won’t stand if one of its team members keeps tearing the other one down.)

Because here is the truth:

My words as a wife have a lot of power, but it is up to me to choose what kind of power they will have: The power to heal, to build up, to encourage? Or the power to hurt, to tear down, to hinder?

"Let me take a nice picture of you two," she says.
"Act natural," she says.

Last year a few of my friends decided to do the Love Dare Challenge. We thought it would be a good idea to encourage each other to be wives who love and support their husbands.

Here was Day 1:

The first part of this dare is fairly simple. Although love is communicated in a number of ways, our words often reflect the condition of our heart. For the next day, resolve to demonstrate patience and to say nothing negative to your spouse at all. If the temptation arises, choose not to say anything. It’s better to hold your tongue than to say something you’ll regret.

“It’s only 24 hours, right? I can go that long without saying something negative, right?” (Probably wrong.)

And then Day 2 came:

In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.

“Umm…48 hours total of ‘no negatives?’ Um…I can try.” (This is hard.)

And then Day 3 came:

Whatever you put your time, energy, and money into will become more important to you. It’s hard to care for something you are not investing in. Along with restraining from negative comments, buy your spouse something that says, “I was thinking of you today.”

“72 whole hours without saying anything negative to Husband is SO easy!” (SAID NO WIFE EVER.)

How are we so gorgeously tan mid-winter?
We are actually really butt-white right now.

Thankfully, my friends were vulnerable enough to admit that they also struggled to make it three whole days without saying anything negative to their husbands.

But even though Husband probably has no idea I attempted this 40 day challenge because I was that awesome at it…I am my husband’s cheerleader.

And even though I may not be the stereotypical cheerleader personality (says the wife who wore sweatpants and no make-up every day last week except Sunday,) I am my husband’s cheerleader.

And I will cheer him on, in both his work and his life at home. I will focus on the positives that my teammate brings to my life and to our marriage.

And when I am not cheering on Husband (because he doesn’t always need sweet nothings whispered into his ear until the dawn’s early light,) I will do my best to refrain from making negative comments that tear him down: in our home, outside of our home, and especially in front of other people.

I will refrain from being a Chinese Torture Wife, and I will build him up instead.

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down…by wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. (Proverbs 14:1, 24:3)

(Okay, at least, I will try really hard.) Try to fill our house with the rare and beautiful treasures of wisdom and understanding, not tear our house down with constant quarreling and criticism.

That is my challenge. That is my resolution. (Am I late to the “Making New Year’s Resolutions” party?)

And if you would like to take the Love Dare Journey for yourself, either to get out of a funk or to simply freshen up the good thing you and Spouse got going on, click on this link here:


(I highly recommend asking friends to take the journey with you, as a way to encourage you and hold you accountable.)

And remember, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

Grace and Peace,
Kendra