Several months ago, we discussed the idea of our spouses being competent – and how our belief in that competence should impact our actions, including publicly supporting our spouses rather than declaring their weaknesses. But recently, my thoughts pressed the public support concept a little further.
How often do we actively stand up for our spouses?
I want you to think about your spouse for a moment. In what ways do your personalities differ? Your interests? Your perspectives? When each of you view the world, what colors your lenses differently?
Next question: How do you respond publicly to those differences?
My husband and I differ in many ways. I need lots of sleep. My husband needs less. We’re both introverts, but I crave social interaction (as long as I get a recovery break later!) much more than he does. He is decisive, grasping what looks best right now and dealing with the consequences as they come. I want to ponder through every possible scenario before I make a decision. He is an idea person. I am an implementer. He is energized by constantly changing or updating the plan. I am energized by bringing a decided-upon plan to completion.
I could go on and on and on. And, in all honesty, there are times when I just don’t understand his way of thinking. It is foreign to me. My brain doesn’t work that way. My actions cannot be shaped that way. Although there are many ways our differences complement one another in the long run, we have to get through the immediate, contradictory implications long before we can get to the point of complementing one another. And in this in-between period of time, it would be easy for both of us to find great ways to “tease” one another about our differences.
That attitude of teasing is second-nature in this culture. We are entertained by it, and it flows naturally into our conversations. It’s much easier to tease than to praise. But, what if we were to break away from that natural response and actively stand up for our spouses instead? Not just reactively or occasionally, but proactively and boldly.
I’m married to an absolutely amazing man. He is brilliant in so many ways. He is funny. He is observant. He can problem-solve in ways that blow my mind. He has ideas that seem to come from nowhere. He often introduces and implements strategies in life and ministry years before “experts” make those strategies popular.
He also loves me fiercely. He encourages me. He pushes me to be better. And, amazingly, he is proud of even the parts of me he doesn’t “get.” He opens my eyes to things I never would have contemplated, much less pursued, without his perspective.
As I contemplate those praises of my husband, I realize how rarely I shout them in public. Oh, I have long striven to not criticize him publicly. And, when someone makes a comment like, “How do you survive living with him all the time?” I enjoy responding with, “Oh, I love it!”
But, to proactively praise him? That comes more rarely. And I want that to change.
My friends, it is so easy for us to demean others – intentionally or unintentionally – by “teasing” about differences. Let’s instead go out of our way to praise the God-given characteristics of others, especially those that differ from us the most.
And let’s start with our spouses. After all, they’re probably the most amazing people we know!