Wifey Wednesday: What Lens Do You See Your Husband Through?

Christian Marriage Advice
It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time for a marriage post and link-up party! I’ll write a post about marriage, and then you all can link up one of your own below! I’ve been a little busy speaking lately, so I’m going to post an older Wifey Wednesday from 2009 that I think most of you missed.

Quite often we don’t see people how they really are. We look at them with our own biases.

For instance, before we get married we tend to see our husbands (then our fiances) through rose-coloured glasses. We may notice that they do annoying things, but we think of these as “cute quirks” that they will likely grow out of.

'pink kids sunglasses' photo (c) 2008, Lily - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Then, once we’re married, those glasses often fall off and we start noticing all the things that are wrong with our husbands.

But we have other lenses, too, and we need to be aware of them so that we can make sure we’re not being unfair to our husbands.

1. The Father Lens.

Did you have a close, loving, supportive father? If you didn’t, that likely left a hole in you. My father, for instance, left me when I was two, and I’ve always had rejection issues. For the first few years we were married, whenever we were feeling particularly close and snuggling, I would find “you’re not going to leave me, are you?” coming out of my mouth instead of “I love you.” I was programmed to assume that this relationship wasn’t going to last.

And that can lead to a lack of trust in your relationship, which makes transparency hard, intimacy tricky, and happiness difficult. What we tend to do is to push our husbands away before they push us away. We get defensive, and believe that everything that they bring up that is negative means they’re going to leave us–as opposed to the fact that they just want to work on something.

So we assume the worst. We think that when he’s being insensitive it means he genuinely doesn’t care, as opposed to maybe he’s just being lazy or preoccupied. And so we start attacking him and accusing him of things that he has no intention of doing and aren’t even on his radar screen. And yet what’s happened is not that he’s doing anything in particular; it’s that we have read too much into things because of our own prejudices.

2. The Bad Relationship Lens.

Often our lack of trust is magnified if we’ve had really bad romantic relationships or marriages in the past. I have a friend who was abused in her first marriage, and is now married to someone who loves her dearly. But she has a hard time believing it. He says that he often has a nightmare where he’s lying in his coffin, about to be lowered into the ground, and she’s standing above it, saying, “See! I told you you’d leave me!”. That’s the only way that argument can end, because he can never prove to her that he is going to stay.

3. The Pathetic Man Lens.

In our culture men are thought of as incompetent when it comes to relationship stuff, housework stuff, and parenting stuff. We are the wise ones; they are the dolts that we put up with for some reason. And it becomes in vogue to make fun of men for how they can’t share their feelings, or can’t do laundry, or can’t play with a baby.

The problem is that many men CAN share their feelings, CAN do laundry, and CAN play with babies. They just may do it differently than we do. But because our lens tells us that he is pathetic, we assume that when he launches into his version of it that it’s wrong, and we berate him for it. Not a good way to build intimacy!

4. The He’s Always Right Lens.

This one perhaps is not as common as it used to be, but it’s still out there, and it goes something like this. God has called me to submit to this man, and He has made this man head over our marriage. Therefore, what my husband says I must obey, because my husband is right. Nope. God is your final authority; not your husband. We must submit, yes. But God never asks us to do that without thinking for ourselves. And if your husband isn’t close to God, and isn’t leading your family close to God, then you need to pick up the slack and do those things on your own.

If your husband asks you to do something in the bedroom that you feel is wrong, you don’t have to do it. If your husband is addicted to pornography, it’s okay to confront him on it. Submitting does not mean letting go of our wisdom or our discernment.

5. My Kids Are My Main Concern Right Now.

The other lens we often use is to see everything in terms of the kids. If our husbands want a night away with us, we wonder how that will affect the kids, and why doesn’t he love the kids as much as I do? Our children are our main priority, and we give them the majority of our time and attention, and we wonder why our husbands don’t seem to do the same thing. We assume that we must love the children more. Actually, our husbands might have the right idea. What children need is to feel that their parents have a stable relationship; if you put the children first, you’re sacrificing their stability.

6. The “Men are Evil” University Lens.

For several years after I was released from my indoctrination program at university, I believed that all men were evil to a certain extent, and women were superior. This isn’t the same as believing all men are buffoons; it’s actually more harmful. We learned that “all sex is rape”, for instance, and that makes it very hard to figure out how to handle intimacy in a marriage.

So those are the different lenses that we can see our husband through, and assume things about him that he hasn’t done at all. So here’s my assignment for you this week: figure out what lens, or lenses, you have. If we can see what our biases are, it’s easier to identify them. And then, next time you find yourself getting upset with your husband, or ticked off about something, ask yourself this question:

“Is he really doing something very wrong? Or am I assuming something about the situation?”

That’s a good practice to get into in marriage: start with yourself when there’s a conflict. And you just might find that those conflicts magically disappear!

Now, do you have any advice for us today? Or what do you think about how we can encourage each others’ marriages? Just link up a marriage post in the linky tools below! And be sure to link back here so others can read some great marriage advice, too!



Comments

  1. Sheila,
    I love the wisdom and practicality of this post. Thinking of our husbands through these various lenses is a great way to pay attention to using the correct filter! (This proves that an old post can still be a goodie).
    Blessings,
    Ann
    Dr. Ann recently posted…I Do, Therefore I Am. Aren’t I?My Profile

  2. So, I like you Shelia, have father issues which were worked through after a few years of marriage to late husband and now with new husband I’m finding that they’re rearing their ugly head again! I’m finding that it’s about learning to trust a new man’s heart for me, again, so frustrating that the worked out aspect of it all couldn’t have just carried over to the new marriage. Maybe that will be a blog in the future. Thanks for bringing this to my attention
    Jessica Ronne recently posted…BirdsMy Profile

  3. Megan G. says:

    What a great post. Most of the time, I see my husband through just regular glasses where I’m crazy about him, he’s awesome, he does quirky things that bug me sometimes, but I get over it, etc. Every once in a while, I pull my ‘father lens’ glasses out of my pocket, though, and believe that all men want to cheat like my dad did and that no matter what I do, someday my husband is going to get bored with me and want to trade me in for a younger, thinner model. Man, when that does happen, it’s hard to get it out of my head! (I’ve shared about this a little on your facebook page before.)

    I’m prayerful about it, and we work hard to keep our marriage where it needs to be, but there are times that I’m not able to see him for the wonderful man that he is. Which is really sad and unfair!

  4. Nicolle Olores says:

    Entering in the marriage life is not easy. Adjustments, implementations, patience and whatsoever are always there to have a long-lasting relationship with your husband. My husband is in a good lens I love him so much and he loves me too. Thanks for this wonderful discussion I learn a lot of things in Marriage.
    Nicolle Olores recently posted…Tonie Tunza Carroll – Keeping Allkind in ShapeMy Profile

  5. I think you forgot a lens. What about the “God made this man, and he is worthy of respect and love from me as his wife”? That’s how I see my husband. Granted, it wasn’t always this way, but I am SO glad to say that God has done some miraculous things in my life.

    • Excellent point, Shirley! And isn’t it wonderful how God can take our tainted glasses and replace them with His own?

  6. I am so fortunate as to have great inlaws who showed me in many ways what a great marriage is all about. I had major father issues… Great post… thank you for sharing!
    Kathleen recently posted…Contentment: What a comparison!My Profile

  7. Dear Sheila,

    Thank you so very much for this post. I am struggling with the ” The Father lens”. My father didn’t leave us, but he rejected me at very young age. I am 35 now, having two kids, wonderful husband and yet, just now, after 13 years of marriage I am asking myself: is it going to last? Is he going to love me for who I am? We are getting older. I never had fear of aging, contrary. I love myself the way God created me, but after recent pregnancy that I spent in bed, being isolated for so long made me insecure.
    Reading your blog post shows me that I am not alone in this area. I need to keep focus on positive and Godly things, rather than being fearful of future. God bless you for this honest and informative post.

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