My last few posts have discussed why it is difficult for us to know if our standard for marriage is valid and good. With that in mind, I’d like to create a sort of check-list of what a husband should and should not be and do. I don’t mean I am going to do that, as I can’t possibly do so. I am going to toss out some thoughts as a starting place, and I hope to see additions and discussion in the comments that will help round the list out.
Given the premise that we may be doing things we should not, without knowing that we should not, I am going to focus more on what we should not do.
These are never acceptable:
- Hitting or otherwise physically harming her. This could include tickling her if she does not enjoy it.
- Physically restraining, or blocking her from going where she wants. This includes forcing her to talk to you or listen to you when she wants to walk away.
- Doing anything to restrict or control her movements beyond the house.
- Interfering with her friendships.
- Yelling – other than to communicate over distance.
- Calling her names, be it swear words or things like stupid, ugly, or clumsy.”
- Assigning motives to her actions (“You did that because …”)
- Telling her what she thinks or believes (“I know you think …” or “Don’t lie, you believe …”)
- Belittling, shaming, or otherwise trying to make her look bad in front of anyone – including your kids or extended family.
- Attacking her ideas or beliefs.
- Forcing her to agree with you, say you’re right, or repeat what you say. This includes arguing until she gives in.
- Treating her like a child.
- Demanding/expecting her to do something, get something, or drop what she is doing to do what you want.
- Countermanding what she has said to the children.
- Discussing how she deals with the children in front of the children.
- Asking her to be dishonest (lie, mislead, or hold back the truth).
- Asking her to cover for you.
- Leaving her a task you know she cannot do or is not comfortable doing.
- Bringing up personal or embarrassing issues in front of others.
- Teasing her beyond what she is comfortable with – privately or in front of others. Same with joking.
- Pushing her sexually – asking her to compromise her beliefs, do something she finds gross, or try to force/coerce/shame her in any way.
- Compare her unfavourably to other women.
- Make sexual comments about her, or your sex life, in front of others – with or without her being present. Anything that makes her uncomfortable is unacceptable, no matter how silly you think she is being.
And a few things that every husband should do:
- Put her needs as a very high priority.
- Accept and respect that her mind works differently.
- Accept that she will sometimes not feel comfortable with, or willing to do things you can do easily.
- Back and support her with the kids.
- Speak well of her to others and in front of others.
Now the disclaimers:
- I know there are wives who do all kinds of things they should not.
- I have tried to cover the truly bad here. There are plenty of rude and unloving things that fall short of doing the harm caused by the things I have listed.
- My audience is primarily men, so I am focusing on them.
- As she read this, and made a few additions, my bride said she was thinking of doing a similar list for men.
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