Monday, March 05, 2007

Husbands and sons and boys...Learning to Love and Respect the Man and Boy Inside of Them.

(Yes, that's a picture of a boy!)

In loving and respecting our husbands and our growing sons, we can love them by appreciating the boy inside of the man.

Sometimes -- but not always -- this is easier of a woman grew up in a family full of energetic boys. It's also easier if she had a mature, but fun-loving dad.

My daughter and her best friend both of had loving fathers and wonderful brothers. They seem to have had an easier transition to living with their young husbands than some young women do.

However, any woman can learn to appreciate her husband's boyish side. I was the only child of older parents. My father was almost old enough to be my grandfather, so, consequently, my mental picture of a husband and father was of someone who was very mature. I married into a family where the parents had their children at a younger age, and the family consisted of three lively boys and a girl.

Both my husband and myself came from happy, stable familes. But, these families were different from each other. For this reason, I had to learn how to relate to my husband and his family. And, during the early years of our marriage, that meant appreciating the boyish love of fun that my husband and his brothers had.

There are exceptions to every rule, of course. Generally, however, a man will retain something of his boyish side to him throughout life. We women each have a delightful little girl inside of us, too, but we are more prone to letting the cares of life stifle our girlish side.

When a man's boyish side is integrated into a mature and responsible personality, his boyishness is a blessing. After all, Jesus pointed to children, with their trusting and humble natures, as an example to imitate.

My husband is now in his early fifites. His parents instilled in him a responsible character, as well as integrity. So, he came into our marriage with an unusually good foundation for life.

All through our marriage, my husband has always taken a lot of responsibility on his shoulders -- in our family, at work, and through church. I've seen how he has matured through carrying these responsibilities, and his character is even stronger now than it was when we were newlyweds.

However, to this day, my dear hubby still has within him a wonderful boyish spark that I find endearing. He makes me laugh. He encourages me to take a little time out for rest and play when he sees me becoming overwhelmed with the items on my "to-do" list. He fills our empty-nest house with the sounds of life.

When my hubby and I show hospitality to other couples, he is able to make the men feel comfortable. He can talk about sports and cars and other things that men are often interested in. He also helps me understand how to be a wiser mother to our son.

I've watched young wives who struggle with respecting their husband's boyishness. A woman may look to her young husband to always make her feel secure and protected. Yet, he may do or say things that attack her sense of security.

Sometimes, this happens innocently. A man may actually have a great character and a desire to protect his wife, but his wife may mistake his boyish side as evidence of a poor character. She may become insecure when there is no need to be.

Sometimes, however, a man truly is immature or irresponsible. When this is so, a wife will find it even harder to learn how to appreciate his boyish side. However, a wife in this situation will find it helpful to distinguish her husband's boyish zest for life from his character weaknesses.

A wife who does not understand her husband's boyish nature may resent every moment her husband spends hanging out with the guys. She may think he wastes too much time and money on sports. She may look down on puruits that he thinks are interesting, but that she considers to be a waste of time. And, she may not understand why he's not fascinated by every one of her own interests.

A wife may see her husband do something she thinks is silly, and she may allow that to arouse disrespect within her heart. A Biblical example of this is Michal, who was married to David. She looked out a window and saw him leaping and dancing before the Lord. She thought he was violating his kingly dignity, and she despied him in her heart. In reality, David was doing nothing wrong; he was simply expressing his great passion for the Lord. Later on, in the privacy of their chambers, Michal chided David for having behaving publicly in an undignified manner. When David realized she did not respect him or his devotion to God, his great love for her died forever.


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