Ladies of the Round Table

July 30, 2008

Wife…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Carissa @ 11:48 pm

(Ok I have been editing this for what seems like weeks and no matter what I do it sounds like a sermon – Sorry!) I have been thinking about my role as wife for this whole adoption process, especially since I will be adding the new role of mother before I know it. The role of wife can be interpreted so many different ways, I personally have always seen my role as wife as part of a complete set that works well together and do not hinder each other. I also believe that no relationship shall come before that of mine and Aaron’s – not even that with our children because as Dr. Phil says a good relationship with your husband is the best gift you can give your children. Therefore I feel my role is very important to my marriage. Husbands and wives should be a great help to each other and not a hindrance. I hate to see marriages where the wife’s (or the husband’s) contribution, wisdom, insight and understanding have been underestimated or even ignored. In that case I am saddened to see that the wife who can and should add to the relationship is not “allowed” to do so nor is she trying to in most cases. The wife not only believes she has nothing to add she has no desire to speak up and add it when she has not been allowed to in the past. Aaron will tell you I will never be one of those women – I am way too outspoken! Good thing he likes that about me!

DISCLAIMER: Aaron will tell you that I have not perfected any of this but that I try daily to do these things and if I fail I will get up the next day and try again! So this is what I strive for and not where I am! There are many roles that a woman can play in marriage (more than I could write about here), I think that there are three important roles – companion, supporter and admirer and that a wife should communicate love, warmth, trust and loyalty.

I have noticed as I age that some – not all men (and therefore our husbands) can be very much alone in the world. Many men do not have friends with whom they have developed a deep relationship, someone who they can share with and confide in (and this makes the least amount of sense to me as a woman but I have seen it time and time again). Many husbands would love to have a companion at home (or so I have been told) – someone with whom they can find peace and solitude. I want to be for my husband someone with whom he can share, a confidante, someone he can be transparent with and share his struggles/his inner world and not be being criticized, judged and condemned but be understood. But this is VERY hard for me as Aaron is VERY quiet and says almost NOTHING. Over the years, I just continue to ask and not demand and looking back over the last five years I can see how far I have come in this area, and so has Aaron. I love that we talk about many things and he has become so much more confident sharing his inner thinking with me!

(Cover the kids eyes here – I am about to go somewhere they don’t need to go J ) One other important aspect of companionship, which only a wife is supposed to fulfill, is in the area of sexual intimacy. Be his lover, develop creativity, add an element of surprise for excitement, and learn to demonstrate tenderness by touching your husband in ways that pleases him. Make an effort to plan creative settings to enhance this part of your relationship. Ok so I am not suggesting that you go and try it in the movie theater here – but I know for me when I try a few of these things, well let’s just say I have a lot more fun! I will stop here – (Ok you can uncover the kids eyes it is safe now!)

Many young people today fear the loss of their freedom and control and therefore decide not to marry – I know as I was one of them as were many of my friends. I didn’t realize that in marriage, a couple works towards interdependence, not independence. Interdependence is when we are in the same boat heading towards the same direction versus independence where we are in the same boat but rowing towards different directions. When I saw marriages where interdependence (not codependence or independence) was practiced in the marriage, I reevaluated my view toward marriage. Interdependence is not easy and I have learned that it is a delicate balance or it can quickly change to codependence or independence. I am not suggesting that your role as wife is to always agree with your husband but more to work together to move in the same direction instead of going completely opposite directions because you want to be independent or even agreeing to go with him well just because he wants to do x – even though you want to do y. I have found that interdependence takes compromise and working together.

As a wife, I have the power to build up and support my husband. I also have the power to shame and belittle him. My support means much more to my husband than I sometimes realize. To me, a healthy relationship is when a wife gives her husband support, even if sometimes she is not 100% in agreement with what he is now doing (and that is where I am right now – I have to support Aaron even though I do not agree with his decision but I tried it the other way and it was not pretty NOT at all). This wife can bring out the best in her husband, she believes in him, she encourages him, and she is quick to praise him and give him the moral and emotional support he needs. Like I said earlier – this is one area I work on daily and some days I just have to go to bed get up and try again tomorrow – so not perfect in this area, not even close. Although men generally are more cognitive and deal more with facts and logic rather than emotions, it does not mean men are any less emotional or have no need for emotional support. In times of difficulty, when a wife reaches out to her husband, it can help the relationship. If a man can’t find emotional support from his wife, he may find it elsewhere. Trust me I have seen this more than I can count, not in my own marriage but in those I am walking through divorce. I have one man who is divorcing his wife of 38 years for this very reason – and he has moved on to someone who is supporting him emotionally.

A man wants and needs admiration too; not for his appearance or sex appeal, but for his performance or his success. Generally, people are attracted to those who advise them and are repelled by those who belittle them. Admiration is one of man’s deepest & most important needs. The view a man has of himself, his self-worth, is usually from 2 sources, his work and his woman.

Your husband is not just another person. He is the man you have chosen to commit in marriage for better or for worse. For a husband to feel successful as a man, his wife must respect him. He must be championed. Never correct him in public or in front of the children (and I also believe this should apply to husband’s about wives). Be sensitive and advise him privately. Respecting your husband involves understanding and appreciation. Understand and appreciate his responsibilities and pressures. Understand and appreciate his strength as well as his weakness. Understand and appreciate his difference as a man.

Finally, encouragement demonstrates respect that gives confidence to your husband. Encouragement means specific acts of building him up. Tell him he is wonderful, that will inspire him to achieve more. He sees himself as capable of handling new responsibilities and perfecting skills far above those of his present level.

(So after this I am wondering is I should not do a post titled “Fighting the good fight!”)

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4 Comments »

  1. I like the idea of interdependence; it will be a good conversation point for us!

    Comment by Jen — July 31, 2008 @ 2:45 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks for sharing your insight. I especially appreciate the part of not belittling one another in public and mutual respect. Right on!

    Comment by Angelique — July 31, 2008 @ 6:28 pm | Reply

  3. Interesting…
    I was very young when I got married at age 22. And to an older man (17yrs older) I know what your all are thinking WOW… I thought so to at first. How did we meet? We met at a wedding reception I was 18. He ask me to dance I said NO.. Then I turned around and on the last dance I asked him. He offer his ph# if I was ever interested in buying a phone. And I said or I can call you to go to the movies… God I was brave! ( he was never married, once engaged but was mutually ended, no kids)But we talk for hours on the phone for months(4months) before we actually met & went out. When we did meet after all our talks I knew he was the one despite the age. We just clicked…
    Anyway I get some back lash about our age differnce & people think he will be different than me or be set in his ways…etc
    But we built a friendship first. I can tell him anything and he can tell me anything. We both believe we should have the ability to still live a independent life and go out with friends or do our hobbies (golf,shop, etc)But we actually enjoy our time more together than with the other people.
    He still has his day he golfs & me the day I share with my family or friends. But most of my friends who are married are to busy to do anything cause of kids, sports, work & all that stuff. Now my firends who are not married are not in hurry to be TIED DOWN as the call it. I hear alot of …to be with one person the rest of your life! Life is about more than just SEX ( cover your eyes). I know I like going to bed every night knowing my husband LOVES ME… & only ME.
    I am very proud of my husband he works hard. And he is proud of me. We both give credit where credit is due. Now I would be a liar if I said we never dispute something. But I am very strong in my opionions and sometimes need to step back and realize I am being difficult.

    I guess what I am saying is that being a wife can be great if you find that right person.
    I have…

    Comment by ann — July 31, 2008 @ 7:44 pm | Reply

  4. I found this post when I searched “interdependence marriage” as that is a favorite topic of mine. As a man, married for 18 years now, I must say that you covered the topic of marriage and what a woman can contribute to the marriage very well. Your description of interdependence may be the best that I have read, and I do read a lot about marriage.

    Tell your Aaron that someone else, a complete stranger, says that he’s a lucky, lucky man to have a wife that is as devoted to him and your marriage as you are.

    Best wishes for many happy years of marriage and parenthood.

    Comment by Jim — July 8, 2009 @ 9:17 pm | Reply


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