A woman was telling me recently how much she wished her husband would lead their family; she was so tired of being the ‘spiritual leader’ of their home but he was resistant, so she often took the reins. We talked about ways to give up the need to lead and give him time to take on this responsibility. When I asked her about it a few weeks later, she said that he was showing more of an interest in being the spiritual leader. But there was a problem. She was struggling with the change. She complained about the way that he prayed over the family, and didn’t agree with a decision that he made after they had discussed the problem. She was getting exactly what she thought she wanted, but now wasn’t happy with it.
Another friend said she wanted to be financially responsible, and had chided her husband for years to get serious about living on a budget. When he made the decision that it was time to focus on their finances, she became very upset with the changes that she would have to make in spending. She was getting exactly what she thought she wanted, but now wasn’t happy with it.
Believe me, I am not exempt. For years I have said that I wished my guy would ‘let me in’ more, communicate his feelings better and share his heart with me. We went through a marriage small group and he was enthusiastic about the new information he was learning, and eager to implement the tools we had been given. Dream come true, right? I found myself pulling away and shutting down, creating all kinds of barriers to communication. I was getting exactly what I thought I wanted, but wasn’t happy with it.
Why is this? Are we really this crazy? I don’t know if this is true for all women, and I don’t know if it is only true for women, but I do know that many of us are exasperating our spouses. Some of this is because with growth comes discomfort. It is uncomfortable to have someone else take over a position you have held, and it is hard to allow my guy to have emotions when it was more convenient for him to not. The truth is that we all have responsibility in our relationships. I need to be sure that the thing that I am asking for is what I really want, and I am willing to work or even sacrifice to get it. If not, I need to let it go.
Imagine what it must feel like to make the decision to give your beloved what they have said they want, only to be shut down, ridiculed or sabotaged for the effort. Why even bother? I believe this is one of the biggest reasons that men are often confounded by women; we say we want one thing and often choose to be ungrateful when we get it.
It is time we held ourselves, and each other, to a higher standard. Let’s intentionally choose to be grateful and uncomfortable when our spouses try to deliver, but let’s also be very careful with what we are wishing for.