She and her husband have a solid relationship. Early in their marriage, she stayed home to raise kids while he worked on his career. Now they have grandkids and have been working together in a new business for the past 10 years.
And they do it amazingly well.
On the surface, my friend looks and sounds like a feminist. She has an edge to her on some issues, insisting that she is her husband’s equal in business and in life.
But she’s not. Let me explain.
I’ve known them for a couple of years now, and we enjoy hanging out over coffee or lunch, talking about anything and everything. We laugh a lot, but we also have deeply meaningful discussions.
In that time, I’ve noticed a few things about my friend’s husband that she has missed. She sometimes talks over him or, worse yet, for him. Without realizing it, she reduces him to the status of a child.
It’s happened more than once.
Every time she does it, he recoils slightly, almost as if he’d just got his hand slapped. I can’t blame her. Most women wouldn’t notice his subtle reaction either. But every man sees it and recoils with him. I’ve seen it happen when other friends are present.
I had my friend and her husband over to my house for coffee recently, and she did it again. She started talking for him, and his reaction was instantaneous.
So, I brought it to her attention, right there in front of him.
As I was telling her what I saw, her husband looked surprised. Probably because I noticed his reaction at all, but even more so because I said it to her straight out.
Then I asked him if I was right.
He confirmed his experience wholeheartedly.
You have to understand this about her:
- My friend is a self-proclaimed non-feminist.
She has a ton of respect for her husband.
She just didn’t know she was doing something
that was so painfully shaming to him.
- He would never tell her that, of course,
because exposing his shame would feel
even more shameful. (It’s a guy thing.)
The truth is she will never be equal to her husband.
- Because God created her from finer cloth than he.
- She was created to be adored and cherished as her mate’s “better half.” (You should note that those are not women’s words. Men say that about wives.)
- She was designed to inspire and influence her husband like no one else can and at a depth she doesn’t fully understand herself.
For that reason, God made my friend’s husband incredibly sensitive to her every move, mood, and word. Which makes her anything but his equal.
Equal in value? Yes!
Equal in essence? No way!
In many ways, she is superior to him, noticing things he misses and with an innate power to emasculate him, to render him powerless, with a word or a facial expression. Even when she doesn’t know she’s doing it!
She’s a brave woman and a good friend.
(a) Maybe you’re exactly like her.
You already have a great marriage and see no need for improvement. But like my friend, none of us is perfect. We all need to keep growing. Myself included!
(b) Maybe you feel the pull of wisdom.
You’re comfortable with your marriage, yet not the kind of woman who is willing to settle for “good enough.” That’s how you ended up on this page. Maybe you’re one of the women who has been following me for more than a decade. But you’re not sure if or how I might shed any light on your particular situation.
(c) Maybe you feel trapped in a bad marriage.
If so, please know there is still hope. There is always something you could do differently, even in an abusive situation. If you’re a victim of domestic violence, please reach out to a mental health professional who can help you determine the next step for you.
Are you most like a, b, or c?
No matter which of those descriptions fit you, my fervent desire is for you to grow to realize the beauty and power of your presence in your husband’s life.
God designed you to be your husband’s greatest positive influence.
Whether for good or bad, you already are influencing him every day.
You can’t not influence him.
The beauty of using your influence wisely is
that, in the process, you also inspire him and
invite him into a closer relationship with you
... just with your feminine presence.
I want that for you. I want that for you both.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace a professional evaluation or treatment for emotional and relational concerns. If you are experiencing severe distress or believe you may be a victim of domestic violence, please contact a licensed mental health professional for assistance. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.