As I think back over the past 6 weeks and try to summarize what I’ve gleaned from the For Women Only study I attended, I’m trying to get a handle on my overall thoughts. Certain chapters, such as the one on respect and another on man’s desire to provide, were very enlightening for me. I already wrote a post on my thoughts about respect, and could (or should) probably do a whole post on a man’s role as provider. Even though I’ve always heard that men feel a need to be the provider, reading this chapter shed a little more depth into the subject and helped me to understand some of the thoughts going through my husband’s head. I realize that providing is about more than just money and covering expenses, but a higher-level of caring for our family now and in the future. He thrives on the successes of his business because it positively impacts our family’s future. Sometimes, success means longer hours and less time with family, but ultimately, he’s doing it all for our family.
Other chapters fell a little flatter, and not that the book didn’t provide insightful information, but it’s based on the habits and thought patterns of the average man, and in certain areas, my husband just doesn’t fit that mold (and quite honestly, I don’t always fit the mold for the wife either).
For example, there was a chapter on romance and how it looks different to men than women. Most men consider quality time romantic, and prefer it over the big ta-da of roses, nice dinner, champagne, etc. James and I have had an active-based relationship from the beginning, which has rarely included the typical romantic nights out. For our 5 year wedding anniversary, which I planned, we went to Callaway Gardens (me at 25 weeks pregnant) and rode bikes, hiked through gardens, completed a zip lining course, etc. So for me, if I’m going to get rare one-on-one time with my husband, I’d rather do something active instead of a nice night out.
Even though every chapter didn’t hit home, the book overall was full of great scripture references, in case I do need to reference them in the future for arising issues. If I would have read this book as a newlywed or even newly engaged, I think it would have been a real eye opener. But reading it now, 6.5 years into this thing called marriage, I’ve had to learn many of these concepts (through trial and error) on my own over the years. That doesn’t mean my relationship with my husband is perfect. He’s not perfect; I’m not perfect; we’re not perfect.
As I’ve taken the time to reflect on our relationship during this study, I’ve become more aware of his actions as well as my own. I’ve tried to be more mindful of what he says, and with what I say, too. Every relationship has it’s own quirks and nuances, and I think that knowledge and awareness are precursors to becoming more intentional–with my words, actions, thoughts, expectations.
I’ve realized that what initially attracted me to my husband, and subsequently led to falling in love with him, has nothing to do with the way he loves me, but instead, the way he loves himself. And as atypical of a reason as that may be, it’s true. One of his greatest strengths is his confidence, or ego, as some may call it. My husband is the magnetic type, having both north and south poles. People are either super drawn to him or they are immediately put off by him–his teeming confidence, his outspoken opinions, his viewpoint on the world.
I think back to my first encounter with him at 20 years old, a few years before we started dating. My college roommate and I, who played softball in highschool together, were looking to join a UGA intramural softball team as ‘free agents’ since we knew no one playing. Coach James (it’s funny how he’s always been a coach in some capacity) was looking to add a couple females to his tight-knit team, and randomly gave us a call before the season started to see if we were interested in joining his team. Instead of the pleasantries and niceties typical of first introductions, he got right down to business, asking (and I’m not kidding here), “Are y’all any good?” I think I muttered some response about us playing in highschool, and I guess it was enough to convince him to let us attend ‘tryouts’ (not kidding, again).
Thankfully, we passed the tryouts and made it onto the team, but that first encounter is something I’ll never forget. It set the stage for how I will always view James: the confident (at times cocky) guy, who commands respect (even at age 21), never hesitates to take initiative, can charm the socks off people, can articulate clear, consise, high-level concepts in a split second (he would’ve been great at debate) and is a natural-born leader (even as the middle child).
Yes, James was a bit of a whirlwind for me, but lucky for him (if I may be so bold to say) I was one of those people who wanted more, not less, of that magnetic personality. And 12 years after that first impression, though life has progressed well for us (dating, marriage, small business, kids,), he’s still that same guy I met in college. I have no intentions of changing him (not that it’s possible anyway), but I’m trying my best to be the kind of wife that God intended me to be–his helpmate.