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Knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement from a Christian perspective is my goal. I post a weekly commentary, which could be about world events or the events of my week. Other days I might share stories, recipes, homemaking tips, book reviews, political talk, biblical truth, or other blogs and websites I like. This blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A LITTLE RESPECT WHEN YOU GET HOME

If there's one place where we deserve a pleasant greeting, it's at home.  My husband hates walking in the door and being bombarded with requests.  Both my daughter and I have learned not to approach him when he first gets home from work.  We let him alone to unwind, because home should be a place of retreat, not demands the minute you walk in the door.

Today, however the roles were reversed.  I had spent most of my day cleaning and organizing a room and a closet and then I had to pick up my daughter from an after-school activity.  When I walked in the door, my husband was already home from work, and the first thing he said was, "Where's my dinner?" He did to me exactly what he hates when walking in the door.  Not even a hello.  Not a smile.  Not a pleasant tone of voice...nothing but a demand.

What woman would react well to that?  Needless to say I didn't either.  The thing about demanding is that it makes someone  feel like a slave, as if all that person is good for is fulfilling the needs of the master.  It makes a person feel lower than pond scum, and it's hardly the way a husband should treat his wife.  That comment put me in a mood and anything he said after that wasn't going to be met with a kind response.  I'm well aware of all the "turn the other cheek" scripture in the bible, but when I'm treated like pond scum I have a hard time making nice.

I often wonder how couples with no knowledge of God's word can possibly get along.  If couples like us, knowing how God expects us to treat one another, can have moments like this... is there hope for any marriage?  We all expect our spouse to meet our needs.  I have needs too.  And like my husband's empty stomach, my needs can also go unmet.  But I can imagine the reaction I would get if I demanded a hug as soon as he got home.  If I demanded a compliment or any kind of favor from him.  He would pull away exactly as I did when he demanded dinner.  Demanding anything is not how God expects us to relate to one another.  Demands cannot coexist with love.  In fact nothing kills that loving feeling faster than constant demands.

I was very demanding when I was younger.  My demands never got me what I wanted.  All demanding did was push people away and make them dislike me.  I've since learned to express disappointment differently.  Now I'm more likely to write a heartfelt letter when someone hurts me.  But being at the other end of someone's demands still gets to me.  I have a hard time controlling my emotions when someone rudely snaps at me in a demanding tone.

The difference between a demand and a request is the way it's presented.  If my husband had asked, "Did you have time to cook today?" he would have received a more loving response than the one I gave him...something about Ethiopia and appreciating leftovers.  God wants us to do things for one another out of love, not a sense of duty.  Most days I have time to cook and I do it out of love.  When he acts as though I owe him a meal every night, then it becomes a duty not an act of love. Where's the joy in slave cooking?

The point I'm trying to make is that we all have expectations.  And when those expectations go unmet, we have two choices:  We can demand a change or we can ask for one.  Demanding shows no respect.  Treat others as you want to be treated.  If you want a little respect when you come home, then be willing to give a little too.

If I didn't admit my own faults many times in this blog, I would hesitate to publish this.  It doesn't put my hubby in a very good light.  But it's a classic example of how we get off track and mistreat the ones we're supposed to love most.  Following Jesus isn't about being perfect, and I'm not afraid to admit my life is far from perfect.  But if we keep trying to adjust to that narrow path, that's the best we can do.  We are all flawed, we all make mistakes, and we all fall short of the glory of God.