I mentioned when I introduced the 30-day Husband Encouragement Challenge that I felt like I was cheating because my husband is so easy for me to get along with. I know from the comments and from emails I’ve received since we started that that is not true for all of you who decided to dive into this month-long experiment in building our husbands up and enriching our marriages. (Which makes me all the more impressed that you were willing!)
Still, even though I have loads of things to praise and admire and respect about my husband, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy for me to maintain a completely positive attitude. I get tired (this week, all of my girls—including Della—having been taking turns waking up in the middle of the night from about 2 AM on; totally not normal for us, since they all usually sleep through the night like champs), and I start making excuses for why I don’t have to watch my tone (“He’ll understand; after all, he wasn’t up 3 times during the night”) or my facial expressions.
This week alone, I have met with figurative obstructions (a communication snafu that messed with “my day” a bit) and literal ones (a train that broke down on the railroad tracks that cross my path home, right when I really needed to get home just so I could leave again to get somewhere on time and while I was mondo hungry, which is a big deal for me; I take my food seriously and get a little crazy when my blood sugar drops out). Throw in a broken shower at one of our rent houses that our resident plumber (that would be Shaun) had to attend to rather than spending Friday night with me, and I definitely found myself fighting the urge to be what I like to call “snitty.”
Snitt.y – adj.: A special concoction of slightly short-tempered with a splash of passive aggression and irritation thrown in for good measure.
I’m sure y’all have no idea what I’m talking about.
ANYhoo, while I did not completely avoid getting frustrated at a few of those circumstances, doing this challenge forced me to remind myself that I wasn’t allowed to criticize or say anything negative to Shaun. So, I took a moment to pray, take deep breaths, acknowledge my irritation/hunger/exhaustion, and apologize and move on rather than dwelling on or blowing them out of proportion. (Hopefully, he would agree with that assessment).
Everything else has been fabulous! I’ve used the challenge as an excuse to make him special treats several times already (I plan to get a little more creative in the second half of the challenge as we approach our anniversary on June 2nd), and I get a lot of joy from feeding my husband’s belly and soul.
It’s also been fun to have a reason to stop and think about the different reasons I love my husband so much. And the look on his face each time I compliment him far outweighs any potential awkwardness that results from saying things like, “Can you pass the butter; oh, and by the way, have I told you lately how much I respect your work ethic?”
Speaking of respect, today’s challenge is all about that + submission—two areas that are very unpopular concepts in our society unless we’re sure that we’ll get equal play on both (“Sure, I’ll submit to you in this area, if you’ll submit to me in the area of picking up your dirty clothes and not messing with my pantry organization”).
I know this can be especially hard when you have a husband whose judgment you doubt and who doesn’t seem to have his family’s best interests at heart when he makes decisions. Still, there’s an amazing thing that happens when you choose to do something you know you should, even if it terrifies you. It’s called freedom. I definitely find this to be true when I just let him choose instead of trying to micromanage everything. Shaun still asks for my input (sometimes more than I even want to give!), and he values my opinion, but ultimately, the responsibility for big decisions rests with him. And, I don’t know about you, but I find that incredibly freeing.
I’ll add an update tonight, but here’s a collage so far of the pics I’ve uploaded to Instagram (and Facebook/Twitter) if you want to follow along with my day-to-day progress.
All in all, I am loving the challenge and the way God’s using it to soften my heart even more toward His perfect mate for me.
So…now I’d love to hear from you!
How’s it going? Triumphs? Failures?
Questions for me? (I’m no expert, but I’ll do my best to answer).
What a fantastic challenge! …and way to be bold Abbie! It’s not taken lightly in this society when mention “submission”. Yet, it really is important.
Abbie, Like you, I have been blessed with a godly husband and a wonderful marriage; we both really like each other! This challenge has made me be more intentional about looking for the specific things I appreciate about my husband and communicating those to him. I have not been without my slip-ups, but I’ve tried to remain positive when my natural tendency is to say exactly how I feel about everything even when it doesn’t need to be said. Thanks for the encouragement and the example of a godly marriage. -Anne H.
I posted this as a reply on the other blog but wasn’t sure it was seen so I will post it here….
I have to report that after 8 days now of doing this challenge things have changed DRAMATICALLY! The first day was a terrible disaster. But I prayed and started again the next day. And I am happy to say that now on day 8, there is so much love, peace, communication, support, and joy in our relationship. I truly never thought this could happen after everything we have been through. Neither of us are perfect but there is so much more effort being made by both of us that it feels like we’re a team for the first time in a long time. He even has a sweet date planned for this weekend. Thank you so much for posting this challenge. I am forever indebted to you. God is good.
And now on day 13 it just keeps getting better! He has been such a servant these past few weeks and has said things and done things that feel like they are literally mending my broken heart. We’ve struggled for a year with the issues in our relationship and for the past two weeks it feels like those things almost never happened. We don’t talk about them (probably because I’m not allowed to be be negative about the past) and a mutual sense of respect is felt between both of us. There have been a couple mistakes on my part but I have been quick to apologize and just keep trying. Thank you again for this post.
You just made my YEAR, woman! Seriously, you have no idea how excited reading this makes me. God. is GOOD.
I was praying for you very specifically from the beginning because I remember you had said that you couldn’t imagine how this was going to go because of all the hurt and struggles you’d had with your husband recently.
And it sounds like God has answered yes in a big way! HALLELUJAH!!!!
well, I think satan reads your blog too because the challenges have been enormous…obviously the hubster is not having a 30 day commitment to encourage his wife. sorry.
Oh, Brenda, I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles. I can’t even imagine how much harder this would be without a kind response from my husband. Praying for you!
Doing pretty well so far…though my “public” (via FB) kudos seemed to embarrass him a bit. Geez I just said he was awesome!
I did fall off the wagon when I got home from grocery shopping today. (I totally just deleted a huge rant about this…)
Climbing back into the rattletrap wagon now.
Climb, climb, climb! : )
I’ll be praying you stay on the wagon!
What?!? No comments? So sorry I missed the chat earlier! I haven’t been doing all that great on the encouragement activities, I have done some. But, I haven’t been negative. Hubby has been working long hours so we haven’t seen each other much, but I haven’t complained and have tried to have a good attitude when we do see each other. I am going to try to do better on the specific daily activities for the next half. Thx for the update!
Ha! Yes, I was afraid Saturday morning might be a challenge for all us busy mamas, but I’m so glad you were able to take the time to check in! Way to go on staying positive! It’s so hard when you don’t see much of each other. Proud of you!