The Bible says, “Husbands… be considerate as you live with your wives…” (1 Peter 3:7).
Tom and I had been married eleven years before we gave our lives to Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, old habits and selfish ways take a long time to change, even with the Lord’s help. (That’s why we shouldn’t judge others. We’re all works in progress.)
Tom has given me permission to talk about an area in his life where he has made great progress: namely, being considerate of his wife. Tom is now so sensitive and considerate of my feelings, that I had nearly forgotten he wasn’t always this way. I’ll share one example.
I have never been a pet person. There have only been a few pets in my life that I actually wanted. The rest came into my life either out of submission to my husband or to please our children. It wasn’t until the children were grown that Tom finally realized he wasn’t a pet person, either.
Over the years, we had rats, mice, birds, fish, a snake, cats, dogs, guinea pigs and rabbits as pets. We had a very predictable pattern. Tom or one of the children would decide they wanted a pet. I knew I’d end up being the primary caregiver, and I also knew I’d be the one who’d have to find a good home for the pets when everyone tired of them. I tried to explain my feelings to Tom, but he didn’t understand. He didn’t bully me into it, he just kind of pouted until I gave in, feeling it was my role to make everyone happy. (Side note to parents: I recommend that before taking on a pet, you make a written list of responsibilities, assign people to those responsibilities, and establish what the consequences will be if people don’t follow through.)
These pets added a lot of stress to my life while trying to raise children, one having special needs. Not only was there the stress of taking care of the pets, but it was emotionally stressful to me when Tom decided it was time to give them away. I would pray and wonder if Tom would ever see the truth about himself. He finally did, once the children were grown.
Men, if you want your wife to respect you and follow your lead, then you need to listen carefully to what she has to say and take her feelings into consideration. Over time, Tom and I have found that we can usually find a compromise that’s satisfactory to both of us if we’ll commit to respectful discussions and prayerfully seek God’s guidance.
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