Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Competing wives

Psalm1Wife refers to the post Women suck at being failures and comments:

I have been thinking over this post lately. Specifically this part:

"A husband and wife team came to audition together and compete with each other. Something I would highly advise a wife to NEVER do."

I am curious about what you would suggest if the roles were reversed in a marriage and the wife had any undeniable talent where it was clear that she is far better than her husband. I understand not competing at a national level against him in something like american idol but what about more everyday stuff? If a wife is noticeably far better than her husband at something, should she not do it if it is obvious that it might affect his ego or affect him negatively in any way?

There are a couple of things to address here but both are advised with the same wisdom. One is about a wife competing with a husband and the other is a wife doing something that she is good at that might negatively affect her husband.

On competing and specifically the example in the post: this wife was not at all emotionally mature enough to compete with her husband. She, sadly, was in denial of who is actually the better singer for the competition, and had not prepared herself to be gracious in the event of her losing and him being chosen. This should have been thought out and planned for before the audition.

Moments like that will reveal what's inside a woman's heart - in that sense it is good, there are times we all need to know if we harbor ugly things such as coveting, jealousy, haughtiness, arrogance, etc. Having it revealed on a national stage certainly failed the task we as wives have at hand: Respecting our husbands.

Wives represent their husbands everywhere they go and in everything they do. Within a spectator there is something innate that gauges a man based off his wife's behavior and composure. Anything off putting or ugly does reflect poorly on the husband and with or without his acknowledgement of it, is disrespectful.

The motivation to compete with one's husband needs to be carefully analyzed. If the activity she wants to compete with him in is in anyway emotional to her, then no, she should not compete with him. If she at all still defines herself by her success in X, Y, or Z and isn't yet fully defining herself as "helpmeet", then no, there is no benefit to come from competing in X, Y, or Z with her husband.

A wife can not be a completer at the same time as being a competitor.

I am not saying that friendly competitions and games shouldn't be played, of course they should. RLB and I compete all the time in playing cards, pool, darts, other games, fishing etc. But I am not emotionally vested in any of those things. We'll even keep a running tally on some of those things to see who is ahead in the long run (he is) but losing in these events does not create one iota of drama in our lives. If it did, that activity wouldn't be performed.

If a wife is noticeably far better than her husband at something, should she not do it if it is obvious that it might affect his ego or affect him negatively in any way? 

The answer to this is clear if a wife internalizes the commitment to not do anything that would negatively affect her husband. Men won't usually feel the emotions of inferiority when their wives do that which they are better at doing. As a helpmeet, it is very beneficial for wives to bring their talents to the table. But there are husbands who are still working through some things such as pride and for that we turn to heart of the message in 1 Peter 3 -  "...that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives..." In addition to the message in 1 Corinthians 13 - love ..."doesn't seek its own..." 

A wife who has the ability to recognize something her husband is still working through (immaturity, pride, anger, coveting, jealousy, inferiority) will do well to patiently endure it with a quiet spirit so that he "may be won". So often wives literally get in the way of the work of the Lord with her impatience and she prolongs the spiritual growth her husband could go through. 

Let's take an everyday example into consideration. The wife is better at managing the bills and the finances. Her husband has decided that he needs to be the one who does this task. He isn't as organized as she is and will, at times, be late in paying bills. She has suggested she could show him the methods she uses to keep everything organized but he's not interested. What should she do? 

She should spend her time learning what it means to not live in fear. She should keep quiet unless to ask if there is anything she can help with. If he says "no", then without judging him, criticizing him, complaining or fretting, she should continue on without concern. She should pray for God's help for her to learn how to maintain a "without a word" commitment and for Him to do His work in her husband. If the lights get turned off, she should light some candles. If the bank calls about the mortgage, she should take a message and without attitude, pass it on to her husband. 

The actions are all pretty simple. That which will challenge her and will allow for tremendous spiritual growth on her part is truly walking out a non-judgmental attitude and spirit.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for replying. My specific question was the exact reversal of the AI situation and singing. If she were chosen as the better singer and he were to throw a fit or something silimar after not being chosen. Should she have withdrew from the competiton at that moment or in a more realistic scenario, stop doing whatever it is that causes her husband to feel inferior. It seems as if the answer is clear in that the wife should: "not do anything to negatively affect her husband." I appreciate what you say in your post, it is very insightful. Your advice is rare but that makes it all the more valuable. Thank you again for your response.

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    1. Also this: "If she at all still defines herself by her success in X, Y, or Z and isn't yet fully defining herself as "helpmeet", then no, there is no benefit to come from competing in X, Y, or Z with her husband. " really gets to the heart of the matter. In the singing example, if the wife was always known for her singing ability and then grows up and marries a man she is a help-meet now. Just because others know her as a good singer who just got married, she is no longer that. She needs to be a help-meet who is a good singer. Or possibly just a help-meet if the singing somehow negatively impacts her husband's pride.

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    2. She should not withdraw if she is chosen. If the husband agreed to compete with her in the first place and she wins then he needs to man up and accept that his wife is the better singer. If he has an ego that is too great to handle it then he should repent.

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  2. If she were chosen as the better singer and he were to throw a fit or something silimar after not being chosen

    This is one of the many reasons why it is so important for young women to have reliable help when considering marrying a man. Observing how he deals with adversity/failure is pretty high on the "to do" list - before marriage.

    Most men would handle the scenario pretty well - with natural empathy and often long term viewpoints - I would assume most men would have thought out that possibility before entering the competition and would have already resolved how they'd respond. However, in the event that he throws a fit, I'd advise her to ask him if she should continue in the competition and then do whatever he decides she should do without complaint. If he decides she shouldn't, the reasons she gives to spectators should be very respectful with regards to her husband.

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