19 May 2012

Responding to Authority Challenges

What is a husband to do when his wife repeatedly defies his authority? It's a tricky situation because the man is dealing with the one person he loves more than anyone else in the world. A kind and loving husband won't want to offend or hurt the feelings of his wife. He won't want to cause her embarassment or make her unnecessarily uncomfortable. He may feel awkward and petty for even mentioning her disrespect. But a loving husband will recognize that allowing his wife to disrespect him and his authority will certainly cause damage to their marriage in the long term. His marriage vows include being the protector and provider for his wife: he has the responsibility to protect her from a miserable or failed marriage, and to provide her with a safe and loving marriage environment in which she can grow and thrive. So what is he to do when she disrespects him and refuses to submit to his authority, knowing this behavior is damaging to their marriage?

If he has already made the effort to clearly communicate to his wife that he finds her behavior disrespectful and offensive, and she does not change her behavior, the husband may be feeling a little rattled. He cannot allow her to continue to damage their marriage, but what can he do to stop her? Perhaps he can learn a lesson from those who have authority over him?

If you speed and are pulled over by a police officer, you may be fortunate enough to only receive a warning for your reckless and dangerous behavior. By speeding, you are putting yourself and others at risk, and you are disrespecting the laws put in place to protect you. By giving you a warning, the officer is clearly communicating to you that your choice of behavior is unacceptable and will not be further tolerated. The warning usually adjusts your behavior, but how does a simple warning accomplish that change? You trade in your high speed driving for a healthier speed, because you know that if you don't, the consequence will be a lot worse than an embarassing warning and mini-lecture from a police officer. It is the threat of a more significant and less pleasant consequence that adjusts your behavior, isn't it?

For the husband to successfully deal with repeated challenges to his authority as leader of the home, he has to be prepared to offer a consequence less pleasant than the embarassment caused by him telling his wife that he finds her behavior disrespectful. If telling his wife that she is damaging their marriage through her disrespect does not adjust her behavior, it is time to deliver the less pleasant consequence that will be more likely to cause a positive change.

18 May 2012

What if the Wife Does Not Recognize the Husband's Authority

If you are a husband who has tried to exercise his authority in the home, the chances are that your authority has already been challenged. The challenge may not take the form of blatant defiance. Your wife may simply not recognize your authority. If she doesn't recognize you, the husband, as the leader of your marriage, then you cannot defend your authority before you have established it.

Go back to the basics and communicate with your wife. Follow the simple steps to take charge of your marriage. Make time to talk about it until you both agree that a traditional marriage, where the husband leads and the wife submits to him, is what is best for your marriage and your future together. Don't rush this process of agreement. You want a marriage that will last a lifetime so make the effort to invest the hours, days, weeks, or even months to talk through the details with your wife. You cannot have a successful, traditional marriage all by yourself - this is going to take both you and your wife committing to the ideals and the constraints of the marriage. Talk, talk, and talk some more until you both are ready to commit to being a traditionally married couple.

Exercising your authority as husband will be a lot easier if your wife accepts that you have authority over her. Exercising your authority may never be easy for you, but having a wife who wants to submit to you will help you grow in your authority. Rush to take charge without giving your wife the chance to CHOOSE to submit to you, and you will quickly become a sadistic tyrant in her eyes.

17 May 2012

Husbands as Heroes: Courageous

A hero is characterized by courage, but how is this courage evidenced in the heroic husband?

The most obvious call for courage occurs when the authority of the husband is challenged. As the leader in the marriage and the home, the husband has authority over his wife and his children. But possessing authority as the man of the home does not automatically mean every member of the family will respect that authority. Authority will be challenged from time to time, and when it is, the husband will need courage to deal with the situation.

What do these challenges to the husband's authority look like? The challenges take a variety of forms, from the sweet and subtle to the bad and blatant. A few examples include:

The wife may focus attention on the husband's weaknesses as the leader in order to rattle his confidence and distract him from defending his position.
The wife may tell her husband what to do, even though he is the one in charge.
The wife may critize her husband's ideas and instructions, and go as far as telling him that he is stupid or incapable of leading.
The wife may pretend she hasn't heard the instructions of her husband, so she can't be held accountable for following those instructions.
The wife may blatantly disobey the husband, and refuse to do what he asks in a face-to-face confrontation.

When the wife disregards the authority of her husband, he can do one of two things: He can walk away, bury his hurt, and pretend it didn't happen. Or, he can confront the assault on his authority. If the husband is to become the hero of his wife, he has no choice but the do the latter. A hero doesn't run and hide. A hero doesn't pretend there is no danger to his marriage when his authority is under attack. A hero recognizes the danger and STILL stands his ground. The heroic husband deals with challenges to his authority, even when it takes him well out of his comfort zone.

13 May 2012

Husbands as Heroes: Noble Character

If men are to be heroes to their wives, they must become noble and courageous. What exactly is a man of noble character? The Bible describes a noble woman as the woman of Proverbs 31. But where can we find a concise model for a noble man?

Dr Ryken, in his article "A Husband of Noble Character", finds three characteristics of a noble husband embedded in the same scriptures that describe the noble character of a woman. Proverbs 31 gives us insight into the husband who is a true hero to his wife. The picture painted by these scriptures is not one of an oversized superhero in spandex, but rather a man-next-door who stands out because of the simple, everyday things he consistently and diligently does:
  • The noble man trusts his wife to fulfil her responsibilities: "Her husband has full confidence in her" (Prov. 31:11a).
  • The noble man takes care of his own business, provides for his family, and assumes the responsibility of a leader: "Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land" (Prov. 31:23).
  • The noble man encourages his wife: "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her" (Prov. 31:28).
Noble men accept their responsibilities as husbands. Noble husbands serve their wives through their acceptance of the responsibilities of head of the home. Noble men stand firm - they are not moral jelly fish who rush to please people, but are rather rock-solid and predictable people you can depend on.

If you are to be a hero to your wife, your choices in life must be principle-driven. A hero isn't someone who is controlled by passion or acts irrationally, even if the "rush into a burning building" hero act seems to impress the wife from time to time. A hero is consistently noble, not just when it gets attention. A heroic husband is someone who knows what he believes and is clear about what he wants for his marriage. He acts on those beliefs without apology. A noble husband does what is right even when his wife or the general public don't agree with him. In short, a hero husband is a leader on the inside before he acts like a leader on the outside. The husband will never lead or become his wife's hero until he knows what he believes and chooses to stand on what he believes. 

"The world does not so much need men of great intellect as of noble character. It needs men in whom ability is controlled by steadfast principle."

12 May 2012

Real Men are Heroes

In an article entitled, "Can I still take charge if I am not a superhero?" the male author raises some important issues. He stresses that real men are not always confident and sometimes need a little cuddling and tender, loving care from their wives. Real men get frustrated and need to vent. Real men sometimes show their weakness. Real men are not always calm and collected. Real men are not always on top of everything. Real men don't always have the energy to be in charge. How can a real man with all this apparent "weakness" take charge and remain in charge of his marriage? How can his wife look to him as the leader if he seems so weak and needy?
As one respondant to the article pointed out: Real men are not fantasy super heroes. They are not the muscle-rippled giants in spandex who leap off buildings and soar through the air using only their nylon capes as wings. BUT, real men are heroes to the women in their lives. Real men MUST BE the heroes in the lives of the women they live to love, protect, and guide.

So what is a hero? Dictionary.com defines a hero as a man of distinguished courage or admired his brave deeds and noble qualities. In like manner, Merriam-Webster defines the hero as a courageous man admired for his achievements and noble qualities. The basic definitions of a hero fall far short of the Holleywood image of the "superhero" in tights. In fact, being a hero seems entirely achievable for the average man on the street. In essence, a hero is simply a noble, courageous man. Isn't that what every boy grows up wanting to be? Isn't that the heart's call of every man on this planet?

Does a real man who can cry real tears and feel real fatigue have to be a hero to his wife? YES, he does. It is the responsibility of every husband to be courageous and noble, and when the man owns this responsibility, he becomes a hero in the eyes of his wife.

04 May 2012

Which Marriages are Happiest?

According to Mother Teresa, "there is no key to happiness. The door is always open." While many folk are still out searching for the elusive key to a happy marriage, it is clear that some couples have already stepped through the doorway into a satisfying, fulfilled marriage. How did they do this? They simply chose a traditional or old fashioned marriage where the husband is the head of his home, and the wife willingly submits to his authority.

Below is a tiny sampling of many articles and blogs you will find online that report on how happy the couples are who have adopted a traditional marriage. Are these traditional marriages perfect? Certainly not, but they do provide access to the kind of happiness that many other marriage approaches dismally fail to deliver.

The Role of a Woman in the Marriage: "But then you listen to those people who actually seem content in their marriage and they portray marriage as an acting of roles. Both men and women of these contented marriages agree that the man and the woman have traditional roles in a marriage and that’s what makes it work." 

Traditional Marriage Roles Are Working: "This agreement of ours to embrace traditional roles works SO well. We each know what our own daily and long term tasks are, and we nearly never trip on one another when it comes to who is expected to do what."

What Kind of Marriage Makes Women Happiest: "Modernist assumptions about marriage continue to unravel. Last week a major research project came to some "surprising" findings, namely that women are happier in traditional, gender-based marriages rather than the "egalitarian" (non-gendered) partnerships which they have been encouraged to embrace."

The Happy Marriage is the Traditional Marriage: "A traditional conservative marriage has lasted for centuries, while "liberated" modern women with all their waves of feminism and copious helpings of Sex In The City has run out of steam after a mere three decades, leaving its supporters unfulfilled, empty, and angry."

Create a Perfect Marriage: "An intensely blissful marriage is one where both partners are firmly placed in their male and female roles. The HOH is a proper man; he exercises complete authority over his wife and always acts in her interest. The wife is totally feminine; she is sweet, quiet, girly and when appropriate very sexy. When there is absolute clarity of roles then a whole new world opens up. It is world where everything seems to both function and fit. It is world where great certainty and peace of mind exist."

03 May 2012

Four Places to Find Information on Traditional Marriage

What happens when your spouse agrees to consider the idea of traditional marriage? Yes, you know you want to try it, but your spouse may need to know more before plunging into an old fashioned marriage. Change is difficult at the best of times. If your marriage is under threat, the thought of major changes to marriage roles may be intimidating enough to deter a hesitant spouse.

Education is a key element in encouraging change in your marriage. You may feel that you know all there is to know already, but if that were the case you would already have faciliated the change in marriage roles a long time ago. You need the education as much as your hesitant spouse does. Imagine how much your marriage will be enriched if you take the education journey together as a couple. Explore new ideas together and you will grow together. Learn together and you will overcome obstacles together. Successfully adopting your new, traditional marriage roles is going to take some effort. Why reinvent the wheel if you can instead learn from others who have gone before? 

Where do I go to start learning more about traditional marriage roles?

Your local church: Ask your pastor or priest for reading material on traditional, Biblical models of marriage. Your church leader may even have Bible studies available for couples to work through at their own pace.

Your local public library: Use the library catalogue to source appropriate books on the topic, or ask a librarian to help you find the materials.

Your local or online bookstore: Traditional or old fashioned marriage is a hot topic. Word that it works is getting out and more people are keen to learn about it. With the growth in demand has followed an explosion of published materials on this topic. Purchase non-fiction materials to learn more about the fundamentals of this kind of marriage. To become comfortable with the topic in a less, formal way purchase short stories or novels that focus on old fashioned marriage. Reading non-fiction stories together is a great way for couples to encourage open discussion about the practices of traditional marriage.

The internet: While perhaps the most difficult source of information to navigate because it isn't always clear which websites are reputable and which are not, the internet can be a wealth of information. Using search terms like "traditional marriage", "Biblical model of marriage" or "old fashioned marriage" will help you explore a variety of different websites. From time to time, this blog will focus on websites we believe provide useful information. 

02 May 2012

How Does the Husband Take Control of His Marriage?

When you are ready to change, the first step is both the most difficult and the easiest to take. What is this first step? You have to start with the simple act of communication. Some folks can talk the hind leg off a donkey and don't struggle to share their thoughts and feeling. Unfortunately, many couples battle with making themselves vulnerable before their marriage partners. Whether you are talkative or shy, this change in your marriage has to start with communication.

Husbands, tell you wives about the kind of marriage you have dreamed of. Explain how you want to take a more pronounced lead in the marriage, but are afraid to make a mistake that might hurt your family. Share with your wife why you think a traditional marriage (where you lead and she follows) will be a better option for both of you. Explain why you want the change without blaming the need for it on your wife. Focus what you say on what you desire for your marriage and for your wife's happiness. This change has to be better for your wife and for your marriage or it will be selfish and doomed to die an ugly death that leaves you both frustrated and disappointed.

Wives, tell your husbands how you long for a marriage filled with peace, a marriage where he takes an active leadership role. Explain how you want to respect and submit to him, but are not sure how to do that. Ask him for his help in transforming you into a confident, submissive wife. Ask him what you can do to help him feel more comfortable as leader of your marriage. Avoid complaining about how he isn't very good at leading. Don't point out that you do a better job of running your home. This change is intended to produce more peace and fulfillment in your marriage, but that is an unlikely result if you belittle your husband from the start.

If you find that you get tongue-tied when it comes to sharing such deep and intimate thoughts, prepare for the discussion. Make notes like you did when you were at school. Write your ideas on paper, then make a date to have coffee with your spouse and take time to share what you wrote down. If the thought of a face-to-face chat makes you nervous, put your ideas in an email or make a date to have an instant messenger chat with your spouse. Find a way to communicate that doesn't give you stage fright and share your dreams and desires for your marriage. Do not share criticisms about your spouse. If your spouse realizes that a traditional marriage is important to you, you will have opened the door to further exploration of the topic.

01 May 2012

Who Takes the Lead in the Change of Marriage Leadership

The evidence presented in the previous post suggests that someone should be in charge of the marriage, if the couple wants that marriage to work. For Christians, there is no guessing who this "someone" is. The Bible provides that information: the leader must be the husband. What now? If you are Christian and want to obey God's Word, you might find yourself in a difficult situation. If you are the husband and not the clear leader in your marriage, how do you change this? If you are a Christian wife trespassing on your husband's territory, how do you relinquish control to your spouse without inviting chaos into your home? 

Imagine a couple that may have been married for weeks, years, or perhaps even decades before they realize that they want a better marriage and are ready to try the *traditional Christian model of marriage (*the husband is the head of the home and the wife submits to his authority). During their marriage, the strong-willed wife may have positioned herself as the head of the home. The husband, for a variety of reasons, may not have resisted this and accepted his wife as the head. However, as time passed, the husband AND wife find themselves becoming more dissatisfied with their marriage. The marriage doesn't seem as fulfilling as they once believed it could be. Each begins to resent his/her partner. She thinks thoughts like "why can't he be more decisive?", while he thinks, "why can't she show me respect?" The wife's longing for a husband that will take a stronger leadership role in the home and family grows. The husband's desire for a wife who will take less of a pronounced leadership role increases. If left unchecked, their disappointment in a partner who does not meet the standard they have in their minds may actually drive them so far apart that they begin to seek these qualities in potential partners outside of the marriage. But imagine that this couple realizes their marriage is in trouble and they decide to give a traditional marriage a try.

That returns us to the questions we started with. If you are the husband and not the clear leader in your marriage, how do you change this? If you are a wife trespassing on your husband's territory, how do you relinquish control to your spouse without total chaos threatening your home?

I believe that it falls on the shoulders of the husband to make the first move. After all, he is the emerging leader and needs to demonstrate his commitment to his new role. If the husband leads the change in the family, the change occurs more naturally than if the wife pushes it to happen. Yes, a wife can initiate the change, but she runs the risk of appearing to tell her husband what to do. If the husband accepts that he needs to initiate the change, is there a strategy he can adopt? What is his game plan? Surely he can't wake up one morning and announce to his wife that he's the boss and she better obey him. Or can he?

The uncertainty of how to change the marriage leadership keeps many couples from choosing a traditional marriage. Husbands may want to take the lead, but have little idea of how to accomplish this. The husband may try taking a strong lead once or twice, and it may not be met with a positive response from the wife. These husbands then find themselves driven back into a state of submission to their wives, with their confidence shaken and carrying a heavy sense of failure. Wives may try to take the journey into submission to their husbands, but be deterred by their husband's reluctance to step up as the person in charge. The wives, too, may eventually quit trying to submit as their husbands shy away from their own authority. Is there something practical the husband can do to lead the change in his marriage?