When Andrew and I were dating, I had this mentality that he needed to always be on his best behavior in front of my family. I remember many times giving him a “pep talk” in the car and reminding him of ways that he should and shouldn’t behave in front of them. Well let me tell you, he didn’t like being micromanaged one bit. Who would? (Have I mentioned how happy I am that he has stuck with me despite all of my control issues?) These “pep talks” would end in frustration every time and probably made it even worse for him to be around my family. He didn’t feel like he could be himself. But in my mind, I was doing the necessary thing. I had previous boyfriends that my family didn’t really like and I felt awful about those relationships, so I wanted this one to be different. In my mind, this was the only way my family could see the very best side of this man that I love so deeply. I wanted them so badly to approve of him and see all the good traits in him that I see.
But what I was slowly doing was tearing down this man that I was in love with and taking away opportunities for him to build a genuine relationship with my family, the way he has always encouraged me to be genuine with his family. I thought I knew better than he did.
I remember very clearly a conversation that the two of us had about trust. My husband told me that if a “take-sides” situation were to ever arise with my family, he didn’t trust that I would completely support him and back him up. Until that point, I had not proven to him that I would always support him. Instead, my actions were showing him that if he acted a certain way and said the right words, THEN I would support him. You know why I remember that conversation so clearly? Because those words hurt. It was a harsh reality check. And they were words I absolutely needed to hear! In that moment, I realized that even though I thought I was helping my husband, I was defeating him. I was failing at being his number one cheerleader. His supporter. His wife.
You see, deep down I was letting my fear control my thoughts and my actions. And in that fear, I tried to micromanage my husband’s behavior so that everyone would just get along. But I realize now that this really was just fear. The most important person in my life is my husband and my actions at the time were not supporting him. As wives, we need to go out of our way to encourage our husbands. And husbands to your wives! The world is full of people and situations that will tear you down, so we need to daily lift each other up. Tell him why you’re proud of him. Why you’re thankful for him. Let your husband know you support him, even if you think he made a bad decision. Let him know you support him even if he chooses his words poorly. God is working in your husband’s life at the same time He is working in yours, and your job as his wife is to encourage him to be that man God is calling him out to be! “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is far more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:10-12).
I want to always encourage him and always support him instead of quietly tearing him down. Thankfully, God’s grace allows me to move forward from my own brokenness and learn better each day how to support my husband in the ways he needs me to, not in the ways I stubbornly think are best. The Holy Spirit is softening my heart and teaching me to step back from my fears and see the big picture and if you ask, He will do the same for you! “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).