Looking for the Good in Your Man
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:6-7 (NIV)
When Roger and I were first married, he would leave for work every day and yell upstairs, "Shut the door!"
At first, I was so confused. Shut the door? Why? He was the one at the door. Why did he want me to shut it?
This went on for weeks (OK, maybe it only felt like weeks). As a new bride, I didn't want to rock to boat, but boy, did it bug me. I felt like every single morning he said, "Be sure the door is locked because you are not an adult and I have to remind you every. Single. Day."
Plus he was leaving the house without even saying "I love you" …? That made me even more upset.
Once again, he left the house one morning, yelled upstairs, "Shut the door!" and then walked to his car.
Finally — after being angry for way too long — I confronted him.
"I hate it when you yell ‘Shut the door!’ every morning. It makes me feel judged and just a little stupid."
Roger looked dumbfounded. "I've never said 'Shut the door' to you in my life." And after he thought about it, a look of understanding came over his face.
"Wait, do you mean when I yell 'Je t'adore'? That means ‘I adore you’ in French.”
Um … Whoops!
All this time, I heard criticism when all my husband intended was love.
How often do we do this in our relationships? Our spouse rearranges the dishwasher to fit more dishes while helping in the kitchen, and we take it as criticism of our abilities.
Or he picks up a skinny vanilla latte for us, and our first thought is: He must think I look fat. When in reality, he just knows our standard order.
Why is it so easy to hear criticism when love is intended?
Sometimes we gird ourselves for the hurt we think is coming, so when roses are headed our direction, we only see thorns. It’s as if we can’t see the truth of what’s being said.
1 Corinthians 13:6-7 says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
We want to see the truth about our relationship with our husband, and at the same time work on being someone who protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres on behalf of our relationship. We want to live out love every single day.
So how do we become purposeful in looking for the love our husbands intend?
1. Receive well. I love what Luci Swindoll said, "Take everything as a compliment. You'll live longer."
2. Look for the good. Several years ago, when I was looking for a new van, I had a friend recommend a certain brand, saying “It’s the most popular minivan on the road.” Which I highly doubted, since I didn’t remember ever seeing one.
But when I got to the dealership, I was talked into that make and model. On the way home, I didn’t see one. Instead, I saw six. That’s because, for the first time, I was looking for it.
It’s the same with looking for the good in our husbands. When we look for love, we start to see acts of love we’ve missed in the past. We start to hear the love we’ve been missing in casual conversation.
3. Create a husband-friendly environment. Maybe things have been tense. Maybe the language of love hasn’t been spoken in a while. Make it safe for your husband to show love. For instance, compliment him on his BBQ skills. Thank him for entertaining the kids while you finish up work. (Sure, that’s his job. He’s their dad. But say Thank You anyway.) Be a noticer of good things and call them out in your husband. A husband who feels respected and appreciated, just for being who he is, walks differently in the world.
So now, when my husband and I want to express our deep love to each other, we write "Shut the door!" on a Post-it. We both know all the history (and love) that is behind those three little words.
Don’t just wish for love. Keep looking for it.
Father, I pray that I will hear everything my husband says through Your truth and Your love. Let me receive his words and actions in the way they are intended, each and every time. Build up a reservoir of grace within me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
1 John 3:18, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (NLT)
2 Thessalonians 3:5, “May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What’s one thing you can do today to create a “husband-friendly” environment? What’s one great thing about your husband you can remind him of today?