I’ve written before about my love of the television show “Parenthood.” While I watch it, it prompts me to think about all sorts of things. Sometimes it makes me think about the topics at hand; this week it was secondary infertility and lack of sponatneous sex with your spouse, throwing a birthday party for a special needs child, divorced parents figuring out how to partner parent, and what happens when your teenage son throws the first punch.
And while those things are all thought-worthy, there was something else entirely that kept coming to my mind. The patriarch of the family. Zeke (or Zeek, as the closed captioning spells it) tells his grown daughter’s ex-husband to never speak of his daughter in his presence. He then shoves the ex-husband (my ever-present crush on John Corbett a little wounded at this[why would you pick anyone over John Corbett, Carrie Bradshaw?]) onto the hood of his car. It made me think that I don’t think my father would ever act that way on my behalf.
My parents got divorced when I was three, and I lived with my mom. We visited my dad and step-mom on the weekends and sometimes for week-long adventures in the summer. I have a very good relationship with my dad and step-mom; in fact, I see them more now that I have a child than I ever had in the past.
But the effects of my parents’ divorce are far-reaching and seem to never end. While watching “Parenthood” this morning on DVR, I began to see yet another effect it is having on my life. I have thought about this before, but for some reason, it popped into the front of my mind today.
Because I was raised by my mother (almost solely) alone, I have trouble submitting to my husband. With all the talk this week about love, due to Valentine’s Day, I am struck again that men thrive on respect. If you never have, you should totally read the book “Love and Respect.” It will change your marriage, and only for the better! The Bible commands husbands to love their wives, but wives are commanded to respect their husbands. (Ephesians 5:22-33) In effect, respect is the language my husbands speaks. In order to truly communicate with him, in order to truly love him, I must respect him above all else. And that respect is not to be conditional; he does not have to earn it or keep it – I am commanded by my God to respect my husband, period.
Keith makes it very easy to repect him; he doesn’t do things that aren’t respectful. But my own attitude isn’t always respectful. I find myself nagging him to do things if he doesn’t do them when or how I want; that isn’t respectful. I find myself whining when his job hours are, in my mind, too long; that isn’t respectful. After all, he works those long hours precisely so I can stay home with Little Man. I find myself thinking negative thoughts about him, and although I may never express those thoughts out loud, they are disrespectful thoughts to be having, and it’s disrespectful to think them anyway.
My pride gets in my way of submitting to him, then. Submission to your husband is, biblically speaking, one of the highest forms of respect. Yes, I can discuss things with Keith, but ultimately, he is the husband and I need to submit to his decisions. But I don’t always seek his opinion, because somewhere deep down, I’m afraid he’ll divorce me or leave me to be a single parent. So I think in some ways, I subconsciously prepare for that without even realizing it.
And that, perhaps, is the most disrepsectful thing that I do in our marriage.
When we got married, we agreed that divorce would never be an option. We don’t talk about it, we don’t think about it – we don’t even joke about it. It is not on the table. Yet, because that is the childhood in which I was raised, I think I subconsciously leave it as an option. I don’t want to do that. I love my husband and I want to be with him forever. Heck, we only have a 13 month old and I already look forward to him going to college so I can have “my” time back with Keith!!
How do you keep your childhood experiences from coloring every moment of your life? Can you do that?
I know I have to make a conscious decisions every single day and sometimes every moment of every day to respect my husband with all of my thoughts and actions.
So that’s where “Parenthood” led me today. I need to respect my husband in my thoughts, my actions, my speech… and I probably ought to tell him more than I do that I respect him. But improving my actions would probably be a good start.
Mom – none of this is your fault, so stop crying 🙂