23 September 2012
Overcoming Avoidance Behavior
The exploration of "Why Husbands Hesitate" revealed that it is not uncommon for husbands to decide their response based on what they are feeling at the time. Husbands may respond in the one extreme by losing their temper or in the other extreme by giving their wife the silent-treatment, but few actually do anything about the behavior that is so offensive and damaging to their relationship. Why the classic avoidance behavior on the part of the husbands? Many husbands simply don't feel "good enough" to correct their wives. They pass the offensive situation (e.g. their wife speaking disrespectfully to them; their wife disobeying house rules, etc.) through the filter of fairness and come to the conclusion that they are not "better" than their wives, and so cannot justify correcting their wives.
How is a husband who feels like he would be a hypocrite for correcting his wife going to exercise his authority or handle threats to his authority within his home?
As old-school as this sounds in a time when men and women are equally free to "be emotional" whenever it suits them, men have to stop being so emotional when it comes to leadership. To act when you don't feel qualified or justified in doing so, you must remove or at least distance yourself from the "feeling" aspect of the situation. Does this mean you cannot acknowledge what you feel? Do you have to pretend to feel nothing? Absolutely not. Suppressed emotion can lead to frustration or stress-related health problems. Certainly acknowledge and express your emotions, but do not be controlled by them. Feeling inadequate or "not good enough" to correct or discipline your wife is something you might as well get used to. It goes hand-in-hand with being an earthling. If you are human, you will make judgment errors, you will do stupid things (hopefully not often) you regret, and you will feel like a fraud for spanking your wife when she doesn't measure up.
It is all well and good to say "take the emotion out of it", but how does a husband actually accomplish this emotional castration when his confidence has been rattled and he doesn't feel up to the task? His wife may be yelling at him, telling him he is an idiot, speaking to him as if he is a child, or blatantly doing the opposite of what he has asked of her. How can he bypass all he feels in that moment and act in a way that helps his wife stop her destructive behavior?
Quite simply, the husband must pre-determine his response. He must decide long before his wife crosses the line what he will do when the line is crossed. The consequence must be set before it is ever needed. A husband and wife should discuss what is good or bad for their marriage, and agree on suitable consequences for damaging behavior. Ultimately, the husband bears the responsibility for setting the boundaries.
Once the husband has decided where the lines are and what the consequences will be, he needs to share this specific information with his wife so she knows what to expect and what is expected of her. These lines (or boundaries created by rules) should not be arbitrarily chosen based on emotion, but should be boundaries that protect the harmony in the marriage. Boundaries are not about stroking the ego of the husband, but rather function to create a healthy environment for growth in the marriage.
In the heat of the moment, when the husband's authority is being threatened, his confidence is crushed, and he is loath to do anything about it, he cannot afford to act based on what he feels. He has to carry out the plan created by the very boundaries he put in place.
Husbands who set boundaries for their homes create a safe environment in which the couple can grow. A husband who reacts to challenges as a guardian of his marriage doesn't have to fear that his emotions will keep him from doing his duty. He will correct his wife irrespective of how flawed he judges himself to be, because it won't have anything to do with feelings or his own sense of worth. If a punishment spanking was the consequence decided upon before the line was crossed, then a punishment spanking is what must follow the crossing of the line. The husband will deliver that punishment spanking because that is what the pre-determined consequence is for the particular offense, and not because his wife is worthy of his judgement. Old fashioned husbands are not cold and emotionless. They feel it all, but they do what needs to be done anyway.