The Fly Swatter Incident

Posted on July 18, 2012 by


This is an email from another wife I have received recently.  She is having a VERY hard time understanding what she is doing to contribute to the conflict and pain in her marriage and doesn’t see her disrespect at all.

I was like that, too – for the first 15 years in our marriage.  And once I saw how disrespectful I had been – I was HORRIFIED!  But I was still so confused.  It felt like I was walking blindly through a mine field.  I didn’t know what was respectful and what was disrespectful.  I needed some kind of remedial class about respect.

This wife, I’ll call her, “Jane” (not her real name), has been asking me to teach her about respect.  Here is a situation she had lately with her husband that left her baffled.  See if you can spot the disrespect before you read my comments, ladies!

I know that the vast majority of you have never been married and probably don’t have children – but I think it is important to be thinking about some of these issues WAY before they come up so that you might have a smooth transition into dating, marriage and children if that is God’s plan for you.  And if you have married friends who are having a lot of conflict with their husbands, you may be able to help them see how their disrespect is creating a lot of problems for their husbands.

If you have a frustrating conversation with your boyfriend that you would like me to break down for you comment on this post.   I am not infallible.  My words are not scripture.  But it is my goal to point women toward Christ, toward obeying God’s Word and toward respecting their men.

Again, I want us to focus ONLY on the wife’s disrespect here, please – NOT whether or not the husband was “right.”  Her words are black, my comments are blue:

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I think I am blind to my own sin to and I am going to pray hard on that. I don’t like it because I don’t know or understand when he feels like I have been disrespectful, so it ticks me off. I feel so backwards like am I ever going to get this?  I told my husband I just don’t get why men feel like they need all this superiority it mind boggles me. I just never seen this displayed so I don’t get it. My mother was and is very dominating in her relationship with my father and I hate it but why can’t I see that in me?  Thank you for your advice and I am going to save this so I can practice…When I read your story I am like how did you ever ever get over this. Well I have to believe in the Power of Jesus Christ and I have to want this and want to be that Godly wife too

This wife was essentially “programmed” to be a controlling, disrespectful woman.  She witnessed this as she was growing up countless thousands of times.  So it is going to take a HUGE EFFORT on her part (and the power of God’s Spirit) to change the programming.  It won’t just magically happen on its own.

She will have to do what I did.  Ask God to convict her of ALL of her pride (“I’m always right!” “I know best!”  “I know better than God!  My husband doesn’t deserve respect.”  “I know better than my husband – so I’ll take over and run things around here!”), disrespect, resentment, unforgiveness, unhealthy controlling attitudes (refusal to cooperate with her husband’s leadership) and idolatry.  The idols I had were: my own control, thinking I was sovereign instead of God, my husband (I wanted HIM to make me happy and do everything MY way).

Then I had to shovel all that filth out of my soul with God’s help for WEEKS and rebuild on the pure, solid foundation of Christ and His Word.  I had to decide to throw out all of my understanding of marriage, godly femininity, my role as a wife, and how to relate to my husband and learn from scratch what God designed for all of these things – NOT what our culture said or weird messages I internalized as a child.

God designed marriage to be a living parable displaying the very great mystery of the relationship between Christ (represented by the husband) and His church (represented by the wife).  The church is to worship, reverence and follow Christ.  Our husbands are not deity, of course!  But our respect and cooperation with their leadership teaches our children and others how we are to properly relate to God and other God-given authority (Ephesians 5:22-33).  And the husband is to represent the self-sacrificing, servant-leader love of Christ that never fails.  The husband represents Christ to his family and his children learn to trust God and obey God by trusting and obeying their Daddy.  They will have the same level of respect and trust in God as their mom has in their dad many times!  That is how important a wife’s respect and biblical submission is for the children in the family!

When a wife is properly respecting her husband and honoring his leadership, the gospel of Christ is glorified!

Well one that I just dont understand is what took place yesterday. My husband was barbecuing so he asked me to sit outside with him. My son was outside with us so he asked my son to get the fly swatter to kill the flies outside.

I looked at him and laughed and said, “Ummm, seriously Babe?”  So then I turned to my son and said, “You don’t have to son. You will never finish killing them.” So my son went inside.  So then I noticed my husband was totally shut down.

Ladies,

ANYTIME your husband asks one of your children to do something – YOU SUPPORT HIS PARENTING and his decision.  Unless he is asking them to sin – you stand with his decision – even if it is not what you would have chosen yourself.  This shows respect to him AND it teaches your children to respect God-given authority and it teaches them to respect God, Himself.  THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!  If ANYONE undermines a parent’s authority – it is very disrespectful.  If an aunt or friend or teacher tells a child to do the exact opposite of what his mom or dad told him to do – THAT IS WRONG!  And if a dad told a child to disobey his mom – that would be extremely disrespectful, too. 

The issue here is NOT whether it is worth it or not to swat flies outside.  Different people will have different opinions on that.  Whether the husband is “right” about killing flies is completely irrelevant. 

I wrote to Jane:

Your husband shut down because you completely undermined his authority and told your son that he didn’t have to do what his dad said.  HUGE, HUGE, HUGE, WHOPPING DISRESPECT POINTS HERE!  Here are  the ways I see that you showed BIG disrespect to your man in this situation:

  1. Laughing at your husband when he was giving instructions to your son was disrespectful.
  2. Saying, “Ummm… Seriously, Babe?”  –  that was mocking his authority as a dad and his decision and was probably about a 7/10 on the disrespect scale in my estimation (if it had been in private) but the fact that it was IN FRONT of their son makes it MUCH more disrespectful.
  3. Telling your son he doesn’t have to do what his dad just told him to do is a 10/10 on the disrespect scale for men.  BIG, BIG, BIG, BIG mistake!  When you tell your children to do the exact opposite of what their dad told them to do you are directing them to disobey him.  You are making his authority null and void in their eyes.  You are emasculating your husband.  You are teaching your children not to respect their father or any God-given authority in life.  You are dividing yourself from your husband instead of standing firmly together and your children will begin to ignore him and his directions all together.  Eventually, he will either blow up or he will shut down and stop even trying to be a father to them.

You owe your man an ENORMOUS, HUMBLE, HEARTFELT apology for the way you damaged his credibility and authority in front of your son. 

You also owe your son a HUGE apology for undermining his dad’s authority in front of him and for not supporting your husband’s decision.

The issue isn’t if your husband was right about using the fly swatter. 

Any adult has the right to make his own decisions and if he’d like to have a few flies killed on the deck while he is barbecuing – that isn’t a sin.  It isn’t wrong.  Flies are annoying.  Why not kill some of them and be less troubled while he’s out there?  He had logic behind his decision.  Let him make his decision and don’t make fun of him, tease him, belittle him, put him down, or criticize him for making that decision.  Will he kill all the flies in town?  Nope.  Does it REALLY matter?  Nope! 

What is important here?  You made the issue about if he can kill all the flies in an acre or two area the most important thing.

What REALLY DOES MATTER is keeping the intimacy in your marriage intact, respecting your husband, supporting his parenting, standing as a teammate with him as a parent and wife and obeying God’s commands for you to honor your man’s leadership and respect him.

You paid a HUGE price in intimacy lost, trust lost and SERIOUS hurt and pain in your husband’s soul as well as damage to your son’s respect for all authority just to be “right” about the flies.  You also did MASSIVE damage to your husband’s love, affection and attraction to you.

THIS IS SOOOOOO NOT WORTH IT!!!!!!!

HERE WAS JANE’S RESPONSE LATER THAT DAY:

I just read your answers to this and WOW makes Total sense I have been doing this the whole 4 years we have been married. Geez what is wrong with me why can’t I see this as wrong?

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I pray that we might ALL look carefully at how we communicate a total lack of trust, lack of faith and/or lack of respect to our men.  I pray God might convict us and help us to repent and learn to do this marriage thing in a way that greatly honors God and  our men.

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