Sunday, March 1, 2009

My husband the Waffle

Have you heard the saying that women are like Spaghetti and men are like Waffles? John and I agree with this statement so much and see it play out in our lives daily. The whole idea behind this saying is that for a women all of her life flows together. You can't really tell the beginning from the end. This is not true for men. Most of their life has a clear beginning and end and most men have a hard time thinking or dealing with any other compartment except the one they are in. (This is not true for all men and for some men the degree of it's truthfulness may be more extreme.) For example, when the boys were smaller and John was working outside the home we had an at least weekly discussion about him calling me during the day just to see how I was doing. I would sit down with him and lovingly explain to him (weekly for a while) that being at home with 2 small children who don't talk back can get lonely and that it really spoke tons of love to me that he would take the time in his day just to call and check on me and chat for a minute or two. For a long time the cycle would go like this...we have the talk, he calls the next day and maybe the next but not the next or the next and then soon we have the talk again and it starts over. Finally, we heard the above saying and had a long conversation about the implications of it in our lives and this topic of the phone calls came up. What he and I both realized was that when he was at work he was at work and that's where his mind was. He had always assured me that he thought of me throughout the day but usually not at a time in which he could call and then by the time he could call he didn't think about it. For a long time I felt unloved and could not understand how he could say I love you and I missed you today but not even pick up the phone and call?
But I know that John loves me and is very committed to our marriage and so we talked about a way to help him remember - per his idea. He set an alarm on his computer to go off to remind him to call me. When he told me this my pride swelled up and it did not make me feel loved at all. But as we talked, I saw that this was his way of trying to merge his compartments. I also agreed just to call him if I was feeling lonely and really needed to talk for a minute. It was prideful of me to expect him to know how I was feeling. Since this issue several years ago, we have seen this play out in so many areas of our lives. For example, I have to battle holding a grudge or letting a situation of conflict with others go, he doesn't really struggle with that - he has moved on and mine is all intermingled. I could talk all day about how this plays out with men and women but I think you get the point.
I started this post and titled it parenting a waffle but I will save that for another post. It took longer to get my point across about men being waffles. We are called by God to be our husbands help mate. For me, I have seen this play out in lots of ways that include humility and dying to my wants and needs in order to help him reach his fullest potential. I have had to tell John how to best love me and what would help me in a situation. I have had to stop expecting him to read my mind because he can't - God never made him that way. Since this conversation about Spaghetti and Waffles happened I must admit that I have swallowed lots of pride and decided to be helpful to my husband in understanding me when all of my life is running together and I am overwhelmed - or whatever emotion I feel. The benefits of this enormous amounts of pride swallowing has been exponential. I have seen what he is really made of. When I stopped making him guess my needs and lovingly explained them to him he took it and ran with it.
As i said, the whole point of this post was to talk about parenting a little boy waffle but as I wrote it became about our first priority as moms - dealing with our waffle husband. More on the boys later.

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