I remember growing up as a kid in the 70‘s, listening to adults talk about people they worked with or had a bad experience with. They would talk about how incompetent that person is, or how mean they are, lots of labels, lots of determination about who and what the person was. And I always wondered…“How does that person’s spouse feel about them?”, “I wonder if they know they are married to a ________?”, “I wonder if their kids see them the same way?”. Behind everyone opinion about a person, is a family that loves them and there are kids that look up to them and see them as a hero.
Even now as an adult myself, I still wonder along those same lines. So, when I hear the criticism of President Obama’s healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, I wonder about the family behind the headlines. Sure, they must have had a talk about what they would experience and knew what they were signing up for. But still, I wonder…
From ideas about death panels to job loss, to socialism, to increased costs, everyone has a viewpoint on the Affordable Care Act. But whether you like, love or loath Obamacare, there is a wife, that knows of a man that is “everything” to her, that keeps her secrets and that loves her in private in ways the public will never grasp. There are also two kids that know of a dad who is their hero, a confidant and that spends quiet time listening to problems that never register on the world’s stage but that mean the world to a teenage girl.
It becomes a real point of reflection for our own marriage scenarios because, once we send our spouse out to work, or however they interact with other people, they become vulnerable to criticisms, attacks and label affixing. How we then love, honor and respect our husband or wife in the privacy of our home, relationship and bedroom becomes crucial to their overall stability and capacity to achieve. The whole strength of marriage is that even if and when the whispers at the job, around the family dinner table or in the media are true, we have, or we are that one person that can be counted on to “stick and stay”.
As a husband, I have found that the support system my wife needs can not be invented in the moment, but has to already be in place. Our support to our spouse in public moments is not a band-aid but a lifestyle that only we as husband or wife can provide.
So here are a few suggestions to implement into a marriage to help strengthen our spouse in the face of “external” criticism.
Don't Hide Your Love
Let them know they are your hero, you love them, you support them and you are there for them. A word of caution: It takes asking and learning how he/she needs to be loved, which will undoubtedly be different from how you need and receive love. Pay attention to what they need - then give it to them. Image: Courtesy of White House Flikr Photostream.
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