Of husbands and husbandry

Ornamental Cabbage
Yes, I am exactly like an ornamental cabbage!

I’m sure most people will have come across the idea that women are supposedly irrational or overly emotional. Personally speaking, I have always resisted this idea, not least on this blog. By the grace of God, I am quite confident that I think in a very logical and rational way.  I like to think that I approach my life with common-sense.  I like to think through things and build systematic foundations for myself.  In this way I hope that my behaviour in any one situation would not just be about what makes sense right there and then, but would be built on carefully developed principles.

And yet! 

Just yesterday I was thinking through the things I have expressed on this blog.  Just as a very rough estimation, I would say that posts on this blog roughly fall into three groups.
The first group is posts that are written from a sense of need right there and then, for instance  “I so wish you were here so that you could hug me right now!” – posts written from the heart.
The second group is of posts that are a little bit more measured and thought through, written from rational thought.
And the third group are posts which are simply inspired by the Spirit of God and wisdom, when I know that this is the Spirit of God speaking.

Reading back, even years later, I can tell which of my posts were written under true inspiration of God, and which ones resulted from my own thinking or emotions.
My focus today is going to be on those uninspired thoughts groups one and two. 

Even though these thoughts are not necessarily inspired by the Spirit of God, they are still legitimate expressions of who I am and what I think about marriage and what I want in marriage. However, I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to express wildly contradictory thoughts on the same subject on different posts!  So for instance, yesterday I was thinking about how lovely to be (too much information alert) sitting curled up in my husband’s arms, while he dutifully hugs me.  (As part of that, I thought, as I have thought before on this idea:  that I bet he will have better things to do with his time than to sit around hugging me all day!)  But the real point about that is that in a way it is so different from other things I have also said about marriage right here on this same blog.  In other things I have said about marriage I have said that I want to be out there, achieving things, pressing through to different expressions of excellence.. etc, etc!  And then there will be other times when I proudly describe myself as a lioness.  Well gently curling up in your husband’s lap is clearly not the most lion-like behaviour!  That is more like being a kitten, really!  That expresses such different characteristics to what you would associate with being a lioness!  And yet all of these things are legitimately me!  Each of these posts is completely sincere and candid when I write it.
As a woman, even someone who aspires to be logical and rational and straightforward, I do not demonstrate just a single character trait, or related family of traits.  Rather within myself I exhibit a wide range of character traits, some of which completely contradict one another.  For instance I can literally be as bold as a lioness, but in other ways, in other situations I can almost be paralysed by shyness, even with the same people!  I know that some of this is definitely hormonal and who I am will change according to my monthly cycle.

Anyway, it occurred to me that all this might be what men mean when they say that women are “irrational” in that a woman might say one thing one day, then say the complete opposite thing the next day, and expect her husbands to just keep up or automatically understand. After all, men do not have monthly cycles! I’m sure that any individual man can also demonstrate completely contradictory character traits.  However, I suspect that a typical man’s range of character traits will be a lot smaller or less complex than a typical woman’s.

Because of all this, it might be extremely confusing for a man to know what his wife wants from him.  “Tosin, I just don’t know what you want from me!!! One day you say that you don’t want me to hold you back, and then the next day you tell me that you just want me to hold you!!!!”
If this is all true, as I’m sure it is, then to me it is extremely important for men to understand a few things about the woman they will marry:
1.  Her range of character traits: 
I consider myself so fortunate to be able to write this blog!  As well as making myself laugh constantly, thinking through these things has helped me to discover many things about myself.
I hope that any potential husband would also be able to appreciate the full range of sometimes contradictory traits that I am capable of displaying, to get a fuller sense of who I am, really

2.  What she might want or need from him as her husband depending on where she is currently at.

This made me think of the analogy of tending a crop:  that is, the husband as being the “husbandman” or gardener, or farmer.  In some ways, dealing with a wife might be a bit like nurturing a plant. What your wife needs from you might not be constant from day to day, just like a plant. For the sake of allowing your wife to flourish, you need to know what it is she might be needing that day:  is it sunlight?  Is it tender words of encouragement?  Is it that she needs you to come closer, or is it that she needs you to keep a little distance?  Or perhaps she just needs to be held?!  Ideally a grown woman should be able to identify and express her needs.  All the same I think it is good for a husband to be aware of how vastly different these needs might be from day to day. Unfortunately too some people apparently expect their spouses to automatically know what they need; apparently this is what “proves” that they are truly soulmates; having to spell out their needs breaks the wonder and the mystery!
And then sometimes too there will be times when either party is too shy to come out and say anything; like for instance if they have just had a raging argument. It might be hard at that moment for either spouse to express any needs; however, it might have been precisely that tension from the unmet need that caused the argument in the first place.  (Just reflecting on this now, it seems wise for a spouse to immediately evaluate any kind of marital tension or disagreement to work out what unmet, perhaps unexpressed need, might truly be behind it

At this point I will finally acknowledge that it does of course work both ways, and that the husband will undoubtedly have needs that the wife needs to cater to, and his own needs too will vary from day to day as hers do. However, if men are indeed less complex than women from day to day, then it might be a lot easier for a wife to know or work out what her husband wants and needs.  Also, from listening to people, it would be easy to think that all men want essentially the same things from their wives; for instance lots of praise, adulation, adoration, honour, support and respect!  I always want to pipe up that actually, I would quite like all those things myself: endless praise, adoration, honour, support and respect etc.  However I guess that if as a woman I am going to insist on having such a long list of variable needs, then I should consider myself fortunate to get those needs met first and foremost, without also laying claim to his own needs too!

And then I guess it also makes sense for a woman to know herself too, and what she is likely to want from her marriage or her husband. I guess this is where a completely honest diary would come in useful, where a wife practises telling herself the truth. Perhaps as a woman she could keep a note:  today, this is what I would have loved from my husband!  Then before actually asking him for that, she might ask herself:  is it fair to ask this of him?  Is it useful?  Is it realistic?

And then of course she could also ask herself ways that she too could serve her husband:  what would my husband have loved from me today?  What did he actually ask from me?  What did I deduce from what he did not say?  What made him break out into a smile today?!  And so on and so forth!  😉

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