For our first wedding anniversary in 2011, I wanted to do something special for my husband. If I remember correctly, we decided “no gifts” because we were going away for our last hoorah as married-people-without-children since I was about 4 months pregnant with our Lemonade. But I’m not really a “no gift” person, so I thought that if I did something that wasn’t really a gift, that it would count.
So I stumbled (literally, I think amazon suggested it to me but I certainly wasn’t searching for it specifically) upon a book which has truly changed my outlook on marriage. It’s called The Respect Dare. God had a huge hand in helping me to find a book on respect when I needed it – before I needed it.
Hubs and I had both read Love and Respect very early in our marriage – like RIGHT after we got married. And it soooo resonated with me that this is what I was missing – respecting my husband was not something I was good at. I was getting better, but that’s because God was being gracious and already working in my heart.
But I knew I needed to have a game plan. I needed to see other women doing it. I needed support from scripture. And that’s exactly what I found.
Ever since I read the book, did the 40 dares, and gave it to my husband as an anniversary gift (in case you are wondering, it still sits on his night stand – he was extremely moved at the gesture – but more moved by my new actions), I have felt an amazing desire to tell women about this – like “Hey, I have the THING, ya know the THING we don’t learn about much in our cultures and certainly not from the media…the THING that will change your marriage for the better forever.”
But I can’t just walk around saying this to people. Seriously, I’ve thought it through. I’m not even totally sure that if I were to lead a Bible Study that other wives would take me seriously since I haven’t been married that long.
So I’ve thought about writing a book, but then I think about the research papers I wrote all through school and citing sources and having my work out there for people to read, and I start to hyper ventilate a little bit and that can’t be good for the baby so I stop thinking about it. Plus, once people found out how young I am, I think they’d stop buying the book.
And that’s when it hit me that I have an interesting perspective : I took the time to do these studies on marriage at the beginning of my marriage. Before kids, moves, jobs, mortgages, and those big “hard times” that marriages books are written about. I decided that it was a priority before I spent 14 years struggling through marriage. I am different for doing this before the stories I read about in the Dare – some of which shook me down to my toes.
So I guess as I beat around writing this book or something, I keep thinking “What Credibility do I have with people?” and this whole rant has been a long way of getting to : How I Learned to Respect My Husband By Being His Business Partner.
Hubs and I run a business on the side. I say “on the side” because it does not produce full time income, but gives me something to do during nap times, Hubs something to do during any free time he can sift out, and it brings in a nice little bit of extra income so that I don’t feel like I send my husband off to work 50 hours a week while I sit with at home with my feet up eating bon-bons while Lemonade fends for herself on pop-tarts and Sesame Street (I am totally kidding – my kid doesn’t eat Pop-Tarts).
Anyways, this business used to be his and a partner’s. When we decided we were going to move, he told his partner and much to our surprise, she wanted to head in a different direction and offered to let us continue with the name and services. We thought it over, took it on as a partnership, and here we are.
So legally, Hubs and I each own 50% of the business. Which, I don’t like (never did) because I don’t know NEARLY as much about what we do as he does and it just didn’t seem right to “own half” even though we are one of those “my money is our money” families and I technically through the transitive property own it all anyways, as does he. But I never liked that because I thought “Well gosh, this business should be a continuation of the principles of our marriage. If in our marriage, I look to him as the head, the decision maker, then that should be the same in our business.” So I always tell him that the paperwork says 50/50 but my heart says 51/49.
Which leads me to how I learned to respect my husband more/better. Has your boss ever told your idea was stupid? Or something that you spent a lot of time on (I mean a LOT of time on – a couple days worth of naps) just wasn’t right and needed to be done completely differently? Or that you’re not thinking about this like a business but more like a teacher? –> So then what if you boss, was your husband?
Now I know that 80 million red flags probably just popped up for people who think “She let’s her husband speak to her like that? She is being a doormat!” And I would like to correct you: I let my boss speak to me like that. He happens to be my husband and as he graciously said this morning “Feelings aren’t for the business, they are for our marriage.”
How do I not let that carry over? Because I acknowledge that he knows more about our business than I do. He built this thing from nothing. I just do some of the less involved and less technical parts – things that he has taught me. So I’m not offended. He knows what he’s doing. Plus, I told him to be my boss in the business. Bosses are supposed to tell you when you are doing something wrong.
And finally, but most importantly, as my husband and my boss, I respect him, the best I possibly I can. I’m working towards that unconditional respect thing, but I’m not there yet. So I respect my husband. I know he has my best interests at heart as my husband. I know he loves me the best he possibly can. I know he is working on ways to love me better. As my boss, he’s not difficult or demanding. He’s very easy going, gives me a lot of feedback, but mostly trusts me to do my part without his immediate and constant supervision. As my boss, I respect his time at our business and the client base he has built. I respect his expertise and his skills.
All of this to say that we all have a crash course in respect at different times throughout our marriage. Some women rise to the challenge, and some do not, failing to see what their husbands desperately need from them.
I look at our business as a crash course.
And maybe someday, when I write my book that will be specifically geared towards young wives who are still in that “Honeymoon” or at least the “transitional” phase before big problems set in, I hope that this business experience will give me a little more street cred.
But most importantly, I hope my own journey with respect is a light on Jesus, who is the reason that I have the desire in my heart to do my marriage right.