How to disrespect your husband

No, I am not a man-hater and this article is not meant to be taken seriously.  Rather it is written tongue-in-cheek to demonstrate the obvious and not so obvious ways a wife can show disrespect to her husband.  Sometimes the best way of understanding something is to begin with what it isn’t.  While this can be a roundabout way of addressing a subject, it can also establish some necessary boundaries from which to form a better understanding.

With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for demonstrating disrespect the next time you are alone or out with your husband.  You can do this over dinner, in front of his friends, better yet your friends, and best yet in front of family.  Make sure you temper your comments with sarcasm, mockery or cynicism to add an extra dose of disrespect.

  • His work – Try making a joke about what he does for a living, where he works, or how much he earns.  This can be even more disrespecting if you add a comment or two about how great your career is going or how much more successful your dad was in his line of work.  After all, most men get some satisfaction from what they do as a profession even if they don’t enjoy it because they are providing for their family.  So attacking their work is one of the easiest targets for disrespect.
  • His dreams – Take one of his future aspirations or a desire to become something and then tell him how stupid it is and how he can never accomplish it.  Better yet, don’t even discuss it with him, just roll your eyes and talk behind his back especially to someone who is likely to tell him about your remarks.  It most likely took a lot of trust to tell you about his dreams in the first place so ridiculing even one dream drives the disrespect right to the heart.
  • His sexuality – It really does not matter how frequently he wants sex because if he wants it too much: harass him, too little: tell him he is inadequate.  While you are at it, joke about what he likes sexually and overexpose him to others around you.  No matter what he says about sex, most men fear that they are not performing well enough sexually for their spouse so attacking this area is very personal.
  • His worship – One of the easiest places to show disrespect to your husband is in how he worships in church.  Make sure you poke him when the pastor is preaching, compare him to other men in church or demonstrate how much more you know about spirituality than him.  If he goes to church, he has been told that he is the spiritual leader of the family so under minding him and taking over the leadership role becomes disrespectful.
  • His leisure activities – Whatever he likes to do for fun can be a target for ridicule, especially if it involves a sport of sorts and requires that money be spent for him to have fun.  If there are other men involved then this is an even better opportunity to not only make fun of him but his other teammates, especially if you can tag team with another spouse.  As any self-respecting spouse knows, the money he earns and extra time he has should go to the family and not towards doing something he enjoys.
  • His appearance – Insecurities regarding receding hairlines, pot-bellies, changing body, and outdated clothing should be exposed and highlighted just to make sure that he fully aware of his inadequacies.  Some men age quite well, so make sure that you compare your husband to other men who are aging better than him.  While he has been repeatedly told that you don’t like him to comment on your flaws, his are open game.
  • His moods – Since most men are raised to be strong and take things on the cheek, any sign of weakness, moodiness, depression, or anxiety should be the talk around the dinner table especially with a few of your not so close friends.  By highlighting any mood swings you can literally cut him off at the knees and cripple him for the rest of the evening.  It is a moment of disrespect that will be noticed by everyone in the room.
  • His morality – Another opportunity for disrespect is to exaggerate the number of times your husband has made immortal or embarrassing decisions.  Of particular interest are any past times of infidelity, hospitalization, use of pornography, drunkenness, or drug use just to name a few suggestions.  However, if there are few of these events in his past, making up a couple to add some interest to a conversation by putting him down can be very disrespectful.
  • His decisions – Most wives have this area down to a science as nearly every decision their husbands make can be questioned.  Eve taught us this well as just before she ate fruit from the tree she mistrusted her husband by not agreeing that God had told Adam not to eat the fruit.  Wives can do this in many little ways such as questioning his driving, asking and re-asking the same question, questioning the tie he picks or what he decides to eat.  All of this can be disrespectful.
  • His authority – If you are blessed to work with your spouse at work, on a project or part of a charity, then you have an excellent opportunity to attack his authority.  Just make sure that you do it in front of others adding some sort of intimate touch or glance to maximize the insult.  Minimizing his authority thereby increases yours and creates a natural disrespect with your viewing audience.  This is especially powerful if your husband is in an influential position.
  • His reputation – Gossiping about your spouse especially in a negative manner is highly effective form of disrespect.  Everyone loves gossip and it can spread like wild-fire to all kinds of people destroying a reputation that has taken years to develop in a matter of minutes.  The best people to receive your gossip are the ones who already gossiping about others, after all they are the pros at disrespect.
  • His children – When all is said and done, even if you fail to disrespect your husband in any of the above ways, the easiest and perhaps most sneaky way to be disrespectful is to talk bad about your husband in front of his children.  They could be your children or his by another woman, no matter which one, the impact can be destructive beyond comparison.  By disrespecting your husband, you are modeling behavior for his daughters to imitate and his sons to repeat.  If you can paint your husband in a bad light to his children, then you have truly passed on an inheritance that can last beyond your generation.  It is the gift of disrespect that can keep giving.

By the way, if you find that you have mastered just a few of these areas, just know that you are not alone.  Over half of all marriages end in divorce and yours is likely to be headed in that direction.  Many divorced women in my office have long mastered this list with their ex-husbands and some are working on marriage number two or three or even four.  If this scares you, good.  Now go over the list again, admit what you have done wrong, ask for forgiveness, and decide to be the model of respect instead of disrespect.

For more information, watch this YouTube video: 

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Dealing with the In-Laws-to-be

Preparing for a wedding is fun, after all this is a party, a celebration of two lives coming together.  Preparing for a marriage is entirely another event; it is not fun, rather it is work.  Any time you take two different view points, two different personalities, and two different backgrounds and merge them together, there is bound to be tension.  One of the often overlooked areas of preparing for a marriage is dealing with the in-laws to be.  They are likely to be involved in your lives going forward so setting the parameters now before marriage decreases the potential conflict.

The new “we”.  Before you walk down the aisle or go to the courthouse, you should begin the practice of changing your perspective from “me” to “we”.  More importantly, the “we” means you and your spouse to be, not “we” meaning you and your parents.  For some this a hard adjustment as even the most simple of decisions were discussed with your parents, for others this is a no-brainer.  Nevertheless, if you begin this process now, before the wedding, your parents are more likely to adjust to the new perspective as well.  This is not a perspective that you want your in-laws to adjust to after the wedding as it may cause frustration and resentment.  Rather, practice it now.  When you say “we”, it is only you and your spouse; no parents allowed.

Mine are mine, yours are yours.  As a rule of thumb, communication is best received from you to your parents.  Parents are more likely to receive good or bad information if given directly from you to them without any interference.  You talking to your in-laws can create a question of whether or not their child, your spouse, really agrees with the decision.  This question then lives in the minds of your in-laws for the duration of your marriage and will likely be brought up an inopportune time.  When the two of you finally agree on an issue, you tell your parents and your spouse tells his/her parents.

Mark your calendars.  One of the most common disagreements that an engaged couple find themselves addressing is where to spend the holidays.  This may not have been an issue while dating, but when engaged each set of parents are basically staking out their claim on a particular holiday.  They know that the plan you set the first year is going to be very close to the one you will follow every year including when you have their precious grandchildren.  So plan carefully.  Keep one holiday for yourselves, at your house, to begin your own tradition and then divide out the rest amongst everyone else.   You don’t have to communicate your plan ahead of time but if both of you agree now, there will be less tension later.

Keeping these tips in mind will reduce the in-law tension in your home.  Remember, future decisions should involve you and your spouse; not you, your spouse, your parents, and your in-laws.  The more people involved in a decision, the more difficult it is to come to an agreement, just look at congress.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

How not to Shutdown in an Argument with your Spouse

Have you ever experienced this?  You are in the middle of explaining a problem to your spouse and instead of listening to what you are saying, they are picking apart the most ridiculously details.  Frustrated, you try to answer and return back to the problem but they are so stuck on the wrong word you used or your tone of voice that you don’t even want to continue.  So instead of having another argument, you decide to shut down and keep your comments to yourself.

Now you have another problem on top of the original problem and so it builds until you just want to explode.  While there is nothing wrong with deciding not to argue about semantics, not voicing your opinion can breed resentment which turns into anger and eventually bitterness.  So what can you do?  Instead of replaying the argument over and over from your perspective, try to replay the argument as if you were a third-party looking from the outside.  Then evaluate the situation with these points in mind.

Recognize.  As you replay the argument, look for similar patterns of behavior from previous exchanges.  For instance, if the argument involved another person is there a tone in your voice that indicates aggression, depression, obsession, or oppression towards that person?  Could the way you say something trigger a response in your spouse because they are naturally inclined to defend that person? Recognize the non-verbal communication and see if there is a look, a lack of engagement, or a distraction that is also triggering a negative response.  Oftentimes it is not the obvious answers that are the most revealing.

Remember.  Replay the argument again and this time, take into consideration the timing of the argument.  Did you confront your spouse while they were in the middle of something else?  Did you confront them on the same day when a thousand other things went wrong?  Were they overly tired and would have benefited from some sleep first?  Remember the circumstances surrounding the argument and see if their response would have been similar no matter who was confronting them in that moment.

Restore.  One more time, replay the argument and look for ways you could have resolved the conflict without shutting down.  Sometimes it is as simple as telling your spouse that you will answer all of their questions at the end of your explanation or not entertaining their question at all until you are done speaking.  Instead of refusing to get your point across, look for shorter ways to explain your point or start with your point first and then share the story.  Restore your relationship rather than allowing an argument to tear it apart.

Having said all of this, there are some spouses who already have disengaged from their marriage and the distraction tactic is an effort to reinforce or justify their disengagement.  If this has happened, then when you try to bring up the argument again, they will reply in a similar manner.  If not, then review the three points and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Do You Need A Mistress?

Lovers under umbrella

Lovers under umbrella (Photo credit: Grey Rocker)

What?  How could you ask such a question?  Are you kidding me?  Don’t you know that mistresses are evil?  While this may be true in some circumstances, I rather prefer the title of “Mistress” and often use it in my communications.

The word originates from the French word “Maistresse” which is the feminine version of the word “Master”.  In addition, the “Mrs.” front of so many female names is actually short for “Mistress”.  The definition is of a woman who is in a position of authority, who in control over something or someone.  The term later came to mean a kept woman by a married man, but I rather prefer the original meaning and abbreviation.

So what does the original question have to do with the definition of the word “Mistress”?  Quite simply put everything.  I imagine that “Mistress” is exactly what God intended when He created Eve.  She was created to be a helpmate to Adam, to bear children, to work the land, and to rule over creation alongside her husband.  Proverbs 31 describes such a woman who helped her husband, worked outside of the home, raised kids, managed a household, and managed servants.  Talk about busy and confident!

In order to accomplish so much, a woman or shall I say mistress needs confidence with a strong sense of who she is and what she is able to do.  She knows her limitations and does not let them stop her from accomplishing her goals.  She is focused, directed, and strong.  Her actions give a hint as to her thoughts which would have to be truthful, positive, and encouraging in order to accomplish so much.

Do you want to be a mistress?  Too often however women place their value in what they look like instead of who they are.  But looks can be deceiving and unfortunately they can also change over time (even with plastic surgeries).  Negative self-talk about body image is pervasive in our culture at any age and while there is value in taking care of you physically, that should not be primary goal or focus of your time and energy.  In order to be a mistress, focus your attention instead on your character aspects rather than your physical aspects.

Do you want the mind of a mistress?  To develop the mind of a mistress, begin by listing all of the roles you play in life such as mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, Christian, and co-worker.  Then list your positive attributes for each role.  For instance, as a mother I am loving, generous, and kind.  Sort through all of the attributes and focus on three which really define your uniqueness.  Then write the three down and carry them with you as a reminder of who you are, replacing the negative self-talk with more positive self-talk.  However, all of the positive self-talk discussed will not help a mend a broken heart or relationship.  Rather than cover up these hurts with positive self-talk, it is far better to deal with them directly guided by a professional.

Do you want the security of a mistress?  There is no substitute for realizing who you are as a part of God’s creation, how your being is part of a larger plan and how you were created with a purpose.  A mistress is secure in her position of authority and in her role in life.  She does not waste time on being something that she was not designed to be rather she is focused on being the best she can be.  There is great security is striving to excel at what God created you to do.

So, I’ll ask again, do you need a mistress in your life?  Instead of looking for someone else to be the mistress, you can be that mistress.  You can adopt the mind of that mistress and you can claim the security of that mistress.  And the next time you add “Mrs.” to your name, you will be doing it with intention and not just out of tradition.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

What a Pain in the Back!

It was sometime during my 7th month of pregnancy with our third child that my husband found out he would be gone six weeks prior to our child’s expected birth and for six weeks following our child’s birth for a job.  Having the foresight of two prior pregnancies and knowing that my mother could not stay for an extended time, I asked for my mother to come stay with us after the birth.  But before the birth was another issue.  Our oldest child was three and he had more energy than the entire family combined multiplied by two.  He had two speeds, go fast and sleep; there was no in between.  Our second child did not have the high energy but was a bit colicky even after turning one.  She always knew what she wanted and most of the time it was mommy.  Both pregnancies were high risk due to the premature birth of our son and the early labor pains of our daughter, so by default, this pregnancy was high risk as well which meant additional doctor’s visits with the kids trailing along.

Now, I’m 5’2” on a good day with a very short-waisted so all of my babies stuck straight out making me look like I had a beach ball inside my shirt more than an unborn child.  My posture was forced to change, I could not sleep on a flat surface because I literally could not breathe, and I was often carrying around one of the other two children if not both from time to time.  On top of all that, I was exhausted trying to keep up with our son and managing our daughter’s crying bouts.  The only relief that I had been my husband coming home at night to help out with the kids and now he was going to be gone.

The back pain was the worst I ever had in my life even after having gone through two car accidents that damaged my back.  I could not take pain medication because of my high risk pregnancies, the chiropractor was nervous about continuing treatment so close to the expected date, and over the counter medications did not work with my history of ulcers.  So I had to learn how to manage the pain without the help of any medication, without the ability to lie flat (I slept in a La-Z-Boy), and in between caring for the kids.

Take a load off.  Just getting temporary relief from the pain was helpful and restored my energy levels back to my new normal.  While heating pads helped at home, the largest difference was going to our neighborhood pool for at least an hour a day and just standing in shoulder-high water.  The kids loved to play in the pool and armed with extra floatation devices to put my mind at ease, I was able to get the weight off my back.  The water took the pressure off my back and for an hour a day my back felt weightless.  On days that I could not go to the pool, the garden tub we had been helpful but did not provide the deep relief because my stomach stuck out of the water.  Taking a load off my back did help to relieve the pain and taught me the importance of caring for yourself so you can care better for others.

Ask for help. Ok, I admit it, I’m not the type to ask for help or admit that something is too much for me to handle.  When my husband first told me about the job I encouraged him to take it and never once asked him not to see the job through to the end.  I did not want to be the reason he did not do something that he really wanted to do, so I dealt with it.  My husband, concerned about me and knowing that I would not ask for help, had two friends of mine come over to help several nights a week.  They would come over, take care of dinner, watch the kids, and let me take a break in my bedroom.  I’m grateful for them and my husband and somewhere along the way I learned that asking for help is not a sign of weakness.  Allowing others to help literally carry your burden can ease the back pain.

Get some rest.  Sleeping on a La-Z-Boy night after night is not the most restful sleep but it was far better than not breathing or waking up to the circulation being cut-off in my arms and legs.  Having two young children taught me many things, one of which is to sleep when the kids sleep and the second of which is to value rest above sleep.  I honestly do not think I knew what rest meant, to me to rest was to sleep, but my kids taught me otherwise.  I learned that rest means relaxing, stopping what you are doing, letting the dishes pile up if necessary, watching a favorite kid’s TV show, or just observing them playing.  These simple things reminded me that rest does not have to be sleep and resting can alone ease the back pain.

Finding relief for back pain is not a fixed formula.  Sometimes the pain is because of a physical problem and sometimes the pain is because of an emotional problem.  In my case, it was both.  But learning to take a load off, asking for help, and getting some rest provided me with the relieve I needed.  Oh, and our third child, a girl, was born without any complications, hardly any labor, and with minimal medications while my husband was home for the weekend.  God is good.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.