NOTE: this was written on April 13.
BACKGROUND: It's been another brain-frazzling week. I think I've managed a couple of posts at the Greek site, one at Pyro, and one here. Something like that.
Last night at Karate I re-injured my knee. I've been limping around since March 19, when I injured it dealing with four "assailants." It's taking me forever to get into the doctor's office. Meanwhile, I've re-injured it three times now, just doing normal things. (What did it last night wasn't actually any Karate move; it was just the reckless, wildeyed, irresponsible act of turning around. Yeah; getting older is great!)
So I'm hobbling around in my house with a cane. My wife very sweetly went out to get me a leg brace. So I go to my pc to check a couple of things, one of them being the Pyro blog. On that blog, I see this sweet post from Phil, wishing Darlene a happy birthday.
I was glad to see it. Usually, Thursday is one of "my" days at Pyro, but I really didn't have anything in my brain worth giving, so I was happy to see Phil posting a couple of times. And I think it's about Frank's turn, perhaps to go on with his promised series on apologetics. So I was a bit relieved — because, as I said, I didn't have anything. Besides, it was about bedtime, and there wouldn't be any time to do anything, anyway. Bedtime for me is a firm time, since I have to get up at 3:30am.
But then I see this:
Ay yi yi.
Oh boy, so what do I do? I had nothing. My brain is an empty coffee can, without the nice aroma.
I looked where I keep my under-development posts. Is anything ready to go, or close to it? Ohh, wonderful. Nope. Nothing.
So what do I do?
Well, I think very highly of Phil. His confidence in me means a lot to me; it matters to me. He's depending on me to come up with something. He's trusting in me to deliver.
So I take a breath, I pray, and I start thinking hard. Then I come up with something, off the cuff, on the spur of the moment. I typed fast and furious last night, then woke up at my usual time, and finished it this morning.
Why? Because Phil expressed confidence in me. That it was so public honestly didn't matter at all. It would have been the same in an email, a phone conversation. He was trusting me to come through for him. He honored me. I had to deliver. (Whether what I came up with is any good is for God and you to decide.)
"And this is 'for the ladies,' how, exactly?" Every woman will have some sort of tension with her man. She'll have some desire to dominate him in some way (Genesis 3:16), to disrespect him. He won't live up to every one of her expectations. He won't conform to her will in every regard.
So, what to do?
I'll put this positively, for whatever degree I'm representative of my species.
What gets the most out of me? Respect. Trust. Confidence. When someone expresses confidence in me, shows trust, shows respect, that is when I feel the most driven to give 110% or more. Both of my bosses at work have done so recently, and it really made me want to justify that confidence. And that's just my bosses. The more a person means to me on a personal level, the greater the effect. It unerringly has that effect when my dear wife gives me a "You'll do great"-type pep-talk, for instance, before a challenging situation. Her confidence and trust mean more to me than any other mortal's.
I think all at-least-half-decent men are basically the same. Trust spurs them to do more. By contrast, expressions of mistrust, disrespect, evil-eyed suspicion are likelier to tear down, dishearten, and crush men. Or if they're absolutely convicted that they're on the right course, they have to dig in their heels and grimly trudge on (to mix metaphors). But they're less likely to be hearing a critic who has already so severely misjudged them.
Isn't this along the lines of what Peter says in 1 Peter 3:1ff.? Remember, he's talking about a situation of actual sin. And in such a situation, he doesn't encourage the wife to tear her husband apart with her sharp tongue, nor to berate him, disrespect him, unman him, rip him to shreds. No, he urges her to shush, and show him quiet, devoted respect. (Read a lot more about that here.)
And that is in cases of sin — which, if we're honest, isn't where most marital friction arises.
For a half-decent man, do what Peter says. Express respect, trust, confidence. As far as you honestly can, cheer, don't boo. Build (Proverbs 14:1), make him feel like a king (Proverbs 12:4). The Proverbs 31 lady's husband didn't end up in the gates with the Big Dogs, by his wife telling him what a loser he was. It was because he could trust her goodwill towards him completely (31:11-12).
Be your husband's cheering section. A half-decent man will knock himself out living up to it.