“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” I Corinthians 13:12
How do you see yourself? You are probably a pretty decent person. Reasonably attractive, nice, moral, a good citizen, you probably even vote and recycle, and perhaps adopt your pets from the local animal shelter. You might volunteer at the school, take food to shut-ins, teach Sunday School, keep your house fairly clean, and don’t yell at your kids (very often). You don’t give that two-timing philanderer at work a second glance, and even though you can still turn heads, you don’t let yourself dwell on what-if. You don’t waste money, you don’t gamble or get drunk, . . . or smoke or chew, or go with guys who do!
So, why doesn’t your husband adore you?
Any guy should be lucky to have you. What’s his problem? How can he just roll over in bed and pretend he doesn’t hear you crying into your pillow?
Oh, that woman I described is not you? You say you’re overweight? You’ve put on a few pounds? You’ve let yourself go? You yell at the kids too often? Your house has gotten out of hand, and you can’t seem to keep the laundry baskets empty? You haven’t turned your oven on in how long? You gossip, whine, complain, and nag — at least three times a day. You can hardly stand to be around yourself. . . no wonder. . . STOP!
Which woman, (or combination thereof) are you? Well, it doesn’t matter which woman you are. Your husband is supposed to love you, cherish you, adore you. . . but perhaps he’s lost his way, too. It happens. There are seasons in life, and if you stay married long enough, you’ll go through a tough season. . . or two.
But, back to that first woman again. Sometimes we are doing everything right. . . and it’s just all wrong. You can even try (and manage) to do everything right, and he still just wants out. He can’t stand to be around you. He avoids you like the plague. What’s wrong? Your sister says it’s all his fault. Your mom agrees. Your dad hates it that you’re hurting. . . but he can’t help but still like the guy. . . a little. Your friends agree that he’s just a jerk. Who’s to blame?
Well . . it might be a problem with perception.
Perception is a funny thing. It relies on the senses to give you a feeling about a person. It’s how you relate to them, or react to them . . . at any given moment. Think of advertising. . . when you see a commercial, how does that make you feel about the product? It’s just a feeling, a perception, and different people react differently.
Well, your husband perceives you in a certain light. And, if what you say is true, if all those great things about you are true (and I believe you!), then why doesn’t he see you that way? What is coloring his perception? What message is he getting instead?
I’ve done some research over the years, and. . . well, I used to be Woman #1 (truth be told, I’ve been #2, a time or two, too!). I was doing everything right, and everyone in the world (including me) thought I was pretty okay except for my husband. And what message was he getting? I was distant, reproving, disrespectful (need I go on?).
He should know. He lived with me. Was I lying to myself? Or was he the liar? Fact is, we send out many signals, and sometimes they are interpreted wrong. . . and sometimes we don’t even know we are sending the signal. And if he told me how he felt, I would just argue and try to convince him how wrong he is. . . and I could probably prove him wrong in a court of law! But that’s not necessary. And what would it accomplish? — Other than saving time and an extra trip for the divorce decree! But let’s try something other than arguing a case that makes us both losers.
Today’s marriage tip: Just consider that how your husband perceives you is correct — from his point of view. It does no good to argue with him and try to convince him that he is wrong.
Seriously? Are we going to end on that note? The guy who leaves his dirty socks on the floor is right when he says I’m selfish?! Let him be right for today. Tomorrow we’ll readdress this issue! Meanwhile:
- Write down three things that your husband has said about you that are wrong.
- Write down three things that you think about your husband that could probably be wrong.
- Write down five things that you would like for your husband to perceive about you, i.e. kind, fun-loving, compassionate. . .