Sitting at the kitchen table, after all four Things had gone to bed, The Man began telling me how I had been making him feel the past two weeks. As he spoke I listened thoughtfully and said, women, wives, need to hear this. They need to know the impact of what we say or don’t say, do or don’t do. Will you put this down on paper for me. Can you write something for my blog that describes everything you are telling me. “Yes,” he said. “Please don’t forget!” I instructed. “I need it by Friday!” Here he is to explain the power a wife has over her husband.
“You are important to our family! We love you and are proud of you! You are a great father & husband! Have a great day!” As I sat in my office on a Tuesday afternoon with the weight of a busy work day on my shoulders, the email warmed my heart and I beamed with pride. My wife appreciates me! She thinks I’m doing a good job! Validation! (and apparently we both like exclamation points!)
Tara’s blog hits my email anytime a new post goes up and I enjoy reading her work and seeing how God is using her to impact the world. A few days prior to her post on the Marriage Challenge , she told me that she is running a “challenge” for wives on her site and asked me not to read her blog posts for a bit. I didn’t think much of it and obliged. A week or so later, she put a note in my lunchbox telling me that she loves and supports me. Then the email above. And a call for no other reason than to say how important I was to her and our family. Coffee ready to go as I walked out the door. Small gestures. Simple. No hollywood productions or lavish gifts. Just small thoughtful things that made me smile.
Tara is an amazing wife. She daily tells me she loves me. But a few days into the week, I felt slightly different toward her. I wanted to be a better husband. I wanted to make her a morning cup of coffee, and make the bed when she was in the shower, and get up with the baby so she could sleep 30 more minutes. I wanted to accomplish tasks on my honey-do list that I don’t have time or energy to finish at the end of a long day. I came home early and stayed up until 2am hanging 7 sets of blinds in our family room on a Wednesday night (frankly, a project that I had been procrastinating on for a while). I also felt stronger and more confident at work. I gave my kids an extra hug. I found energy and time that didn’t seem to exist previously. And I fell in love with my wife a little more each day.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
The power that a wife’s words have over her husband are immeasurable. I found myself wanting to live up to every word that Tara spoke to me or wrote about me. “The power of life or death is in the tongue,” I began to live exactly as Tara spoke. I thought about my feelings and tried to rationalize them away. As I mentioned, Tara always tells me she loves me. But, she often asks me to do X, Y, Z. Or asks when I’m going to get to X, Y, Z. And sometimes, out of understandable frustration, complains that I never get to X, Y, Z. I’m not proud to say this, but over time it became white noise (I understood her frustration, but life would happen and I wouldn’t get to it.) However, something supernatural happened when my wife consistently spoke positively into my life without asking for anything in return. I wanted to live up to it, and I began to do that.
If you wrote down a plus or minus for every interaction you had with your spouse today, what would your sum total be? Positives being every time you built him up, expressed how important he is to you and your children, acknowledged his accomplishments, encouraged him in his work. Negatives being every time you criticized him unconstructively, complained about the honey-do list, called him in the middle of his work day to tell him he left the toothpaste cap off and it caused a chain reaction of hell to rain down on your children’s’ behavior, endless list of tasks, and your related sanity. (All hypothetical, of course.) How many times do we say, “I love you and understand how tired you are . . . but I really need you to paint over that crayon spot on the wall tonight because I’ve been asking you for a month to take care of that.” (Again, hypothetical). What is your score at the end of one day? Expand to one week? A year? A lifetime? Now consider all the additional negatives your husband faces that day from the world. Proverbs 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
Ladies, God has designed you with an inexplicable power to speak into your husband’s life. Everything you say to him impacts every aspect of his life. He needs to hear he is doing a good job. He needs to hear you respect him. He needs to hear you need him. He needs to hear you love him. You are the one person in this world who he will truly listen to. You are the one person in this world who he truly seeks approval and validation from. If you tell him he is a good husband and a good father, he will be that man. If you tell him that he never helps out and gets anything done at home, he will be that man. Your husband will be exactly the man you tell him that he is. What man do you want to help him be?