This is an age where the rallying cry for those trying to save our society from tumbling into an endless morass of mindless television, pop-culture magazines and twaddle-y fiction is “READ!” And I agree. If we want to learn anything, if we want to expand our understanding of the world and its people, we must read. I’m an avid reader and have been from the time as a child when I used reading as my great escape. I love to study. I came into wife-hood and motherhood feeling ill-equipped for either job, and I realized they were definitely JOBS that were going to require a lot of knowledge that I didn’t have. Consequently, my shelves are full of books, and there are probably almost as many that have been borrowed and then returned to dear friends’ bookshelves or the library over the years.
There’s one genre, however, that I’ve discovered to be detrimental to my family rather than helpful. It’s surprising, but true. And that genre is the one dedicated to . . .
what Christian husbands *should* do.
While this makes for very interesting and challenging reading, especially for twenty-first century moms who are striving against the current to create great homes, for me they also inspired jealousy, frustration and a feeling of hopelessness over the areas where my husband was uninterested or uninspired by the featured topic. I’ve learned that a very important part of marriage is learning both who my husband is and who he is not, as well as who he wants to become and who he does not want to become.
My husband is a fabulous guy. He’s a great dad; the most fun one on the block and the one all the other kids want to hang around with. He’s incredibly patient with me, always brags about me when I’m not around, and makes the best omelettes on the planet without complaint. He’s even been known to let me–nay, even help me–sponge paint my living room a truly horrendous shade of rose. (Yes, I learned my lesson. No more sponge painting, and I stick to pale yellow now.)
He does NOT, however, want to . . .
eat a diet of all fruits and vegetables
teach the children algebra
become a pastor
throw out our television set
deliver all of our babies himself at home
listen to an eight hour parenting seminar on tape
learn all the great hymns so he can teach them to the kids
be the general contractor on our own house which we build ourselves
raise llamas in our backyard
work full-time from home
or take our boys bison hunting with bows and arrows they handmade in the forest.
And, while those things were a disappointment to me for varying seasons of time, I am now quite happy to admit that I’ve accepted all of them. I also want to give you this bit of advice from a (possibly) older, (maybe) more experienced, and (surely) more-often-failed mom . . .
Leave the reading of men’s self-help books to men.
If you don’t read it but he chooses to read it, *maybe* he’ll do it. But if you don’t read it and he doesn’t read it, or does but doesn’t do what’s suggested, you won’t know what he “should have” done, anyway. Which makes for a much happier household, in my book.
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.”
I Timothy 6:6
Happy reading to you. And, for the sake of your family, stay in the women’s section!