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All in all, you probably think your husband is pretty great, right?
Sure he has his faults but nobody is perfect.
You think you do a pretty good job of letting him know he’s appreciated. And you probably do.
So you’d never do or say anything that would emasculate him.
Unfortunately, it seems that it is becoming more and more the norm to insult and emasculate our husbands. To the point where I don’t even think we really notice that we’re doing it anymore.
We make a joke at his expense and all of our friends laugh. We correct him when he is so obviously telling a story wrong and congratulate ourselves for doing him a favor. We fix something that we believe he did wrong and think, “Whew! Crisis averted!”
And, all the while, we’re hurting our husbands and damaging our marriages, likely without even realizing it.
So take a look at this list of ways you may be emasculating your hubby and give yourself an honest assessment of how you’re treating the man God gave you.
1. You tell him to call a repairman- when he’s in the middle of trying to fix something.
Now, lest you think I have a holier-than-thou approach to this list, as if I never do or say anything wrong, you should know that I actually did this one. That’s how I know it’s a bad idea.
When we were first married, our furnace stopped working. I had been single for years before we were married and, as such, when something would break I would do two things: Call my dad for assistance and then, if needed, call a repairman.
So while my hubby got out his flashlight and tools to start checking the furnace, I got out my phone and called- you guessed it- my dad and a repairman.
Nothing quite like your wife feeling the need to call not one but two other men to do something that she obviously doesn’t think you can do.
It sounds laughable now, but at the time it never occurred to me that it would upset my husband. I mean, he’s a computer genius not a furnace repairman. I never expected him to want to or know how to fix it. But he did. And my efforts to “help” made him feel like I didn’t think he was capable of doing it.
Well, this girl got her just desserts when her dad showed up and said, “Well, he has everything under control, nothing I can do.”
And then my husband had the problem diagnosed before the repair guy could even get to it (in fact, the repairman thought it was something else, ordered the wrong part, and it wasn’t fixed until they ordered the part my hubby said to).
Lesson learned. If he wants to try to fix it, let him (cheer him on, even). Then he can decide if or when he needs to call a repairman.
2. You insult and/or tell embarrassing stories about him in public.
This one may seem a bit obvious, but ever notice how many conversations between women, even when the men are present, seem to turn into competitions of “my husband is worse than yours”?
They’re seemingly innocuous stories of “I have to tell you about the ridiculous thing John did the other day..” And the wives laugh as the husbands cringe. It may be tempting to join in, especially if you’re going through a rough time, but the momentary release will not be worth the damage it does to your marriage.
If you have to tell an embarrassing story, how about telling one about yourself? A little self-deprecation never hurt anyone.
Or, even better, how about telling everyone about the awesome thing John did, rather than the ridiculous one. Talk about his good qualities and the things he does right.
Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that “the tongue has the power of life and death.” Which one do you want to sow with your words?
3. When he helps out around the house, you make sure to go behind him and redo everything the “right way.”
If you feel like your husband just can’t load the dishwasher correctly and he isn’t capable of holding the baby the right way and every time he does the laundry, he messes that up too, I have two suggestions for you:
Stop asking for his help and do everything yourself, or
Take a deep breath and realize that your way may not be the only right way to do something. Just because it’s how you do it or how your (insert random relative here) did it, doesn’t mean that it’s the only right way. The world will not end if the silverware is upside down rather than right side up in the dishwasher.
Give him some credit, it’s his dishwasher, his child, and his laundry, too. He’s got this.
Your marriage will benefit if you stop correcting him and start praising him. How about, “Thank you so much for loading the dishwasher!” or “You’re so good with our little Tommy; I don’t know how we’d manage without you!” He’s guaranteed to feel more relaxed, and so will you!
4. You compare him negatively to other men.
You might not outright say that another man is better than your husband but chances are you’ve done this and not even realized it.
Ever tried to motivate your husband to do something by telling him how great so-and-so is at that particular thing?
For example, you might want your husband to mow the lawn, but he hasn’t gotten to it in a couple of weeks. So you say something like: “Look at Joe’s lawn over there. He does such a great job keeping up with his yard work. I wish our lawn looked like that.”
When he hears that, his thoughts are probably along the lines of what our thoughts would be if our husbands were to say to us, “Wow, Joe’s wife is hot, I wish you looked like that.”
Not a very kind or thoughtful thing to say, right?
If someone else’s yard looks better or muscles are bigger or is funnier, stick with the old adage: If you don’t have anything nice to say (about your hubby), don’t say anything at all.
If you’re going to compare him to another man, make sure your husband is the one getting the compliment.
5. You compare him to your children (and treat him as such).
If you and your husband have two children and people ask you how many children you have, what’s your answer? Do you say something like, “Three.. including my husband!”?
I know, I know, you probably mean it as a joke. But your husband is not a child. He is a man, and he needs you to acknowledge that.
Stop saying he acts, eats, whines, etc. like one of the kids.
When you treat him like a child, you are working against his position of leadership in your home. This makes it harder for you and your children to respect him as the leader. You are, in essence, telling him that you trust him to lead your family about as much as you would trust one of your kids to do so.
Instead of emasculating your husband, be affirming to him. Compliment him (sincerely) whenever possible. Let him know you appreciate him.
Stop worrying that if you compliment him too much he’ll get a big head. It’s a tough world out there and other people and circumstances are doing more than enough to keep his ego in check.
Make sure that you’re his safe haven, a place where he knows he is respected and appreciated, even when he makes mistakes.
We are called to respect our husbands (1 Peter 3:1), not just on his best days but every single day. Let’s strive to do everything we can to make this a reality in our marriages!