Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Helpmate Who Helps Too Much

One of the fabulous things about being a homemaker is that I have the opportunity to read good books and research important topics.    The down side is, it turns me into an "expert", and I can and sometimes do give too much advice to my husband.  This dilemma grabbed my attention in an article by Ed Willock called "The Father in the Home".  It's from the book, Fatherhood and Family, which is Volume Three of the Integrity Series.  Mr. Willock says, "The father must be the head of the house, and that means if and when he becomes a better man it will be in accordance with his own idea of perfection and not his wife's.  To say other than this is to imply that mother knows best.  If she knows best, then God would have made her the head of the house.  He didn't."

Later in the article, Mr. Willock says, "In order for the man to be the proper head of the family, his wife must continually consent to it.  He cannot effectively force her to consent.  On the other hand, the man must consent to her being his helper or else she cannot truly be helpful.  If he seeks advice for living from some other sources, looking down upon her suggestions, then he is cutting himself off from the most likely source of wisdom."  

These two quotes illuminate why marriage is indeed a dance! 

One of the wonderful things I observed while watching waltzing lessons is that it is the woman's job to make the man look good while recovering from any leadership mistakes.  She must do this without ever leaving her role as follower.  How is this done in a marriage?  Well, I think in the same way that the wife corrects mistakes that she makes in "helping" too much: encouraging and supporting him.  I found this helpful list  today on Betty Beguiles: 15 Ways to Encourage Your Husband.

  • Compliment him on his strengths and achievements and acknowledge his victories. 
  • Create a peaceful atmosphere within our home. Make it a place that he can lay down his burdens and rest easy.
  • Pray for him. Reread The Power of a Praying Wife.
  • Write him love letters. Make sure he knows how absolutely swoon-worthy I find him to be.
  • Speak well of him to friends and family. It wouldn't hurt if he accidentally overheard from time to time, either.
  • When he stumbles, respond with mercy, compassion and encouragement.
  • Encourage him to dream big and find ways to support those dreams.
  • Try not to give feedback on every single decision he makes.
  • Ask him for his opinion and guidance. Make sure he knows how much I value his opinion.
  • Be affectionate. Don't be shy about communicating how much I desire him.
  • Make sure he has the time to do the things he loves and to pursue his passions.
  • Apologize for things I’ve done in the past that have hurt him.
  • Thank him for all his hard work and many sacrifices.
  • Don’t bring up past failures or hurts or rehash old fights. Truly forgive and forget.
  • Have faith in him and let him lead.


angela said...

Where did you get the book by Ed Willock? It sounds excellent, and somthing that I need to read. Any other books you recommend along these lines?

Wendy Haught said...

Hi Angela,

I bought the book from Angelus Press. There are articles by Ed Willock as well as other Catholic writers. I would also recommend The Three Marks of Manhood: How to be Priest, Prophet, and King of Your Family. It has helped me to read books addressed to men. Fascinating Womanhood is essential, though not written by a Catholic. Good luck!