Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lifting Up Our Husbands

I was having a conversation the other day with my bestie and she made the comment that we as black women do not lift our men up. We don't speak to them in a way that shows that we appreciate them or that we hold them in high esteem. After our conversation concluded, I continued to ponder what she said and sadly, it is the truth. A lot of times my husband will say, "I don't need another mama!" At other times I know he has voiced to me that he didn't think I respected him, but I would be like, "What is he on?! I wouldn't be married to him if I didn't respect him." I was saying I respected him and was this submitted wife, but my actions and my words where saying something completely different! Not until now has it really hit home for me that I really got this thing wrong and I am ready to restructure my whole way of speaking, doing and thinking where he is concerned! I felt so convicted, so guilty. I then started to reach out to some of my other friends to see what they had to say on this issue. Through my investigation, these are some of the comments that were shared (I've highlighted words or phrases that really stood out to me):

"There is the element of having too much pride, for one. Most of us are taught to be "strong black women", but we misinterpret what is meant by that. Giving compliments, support etc., than giving yet some more of ourselves. And let's not forget about the independent woman craze..."

"My husband told me the other day that I basically make him feel emasculated at times. I was shocked and bothered. I come from a strong line of opinionated, take charge black women. None of whom have had what I think anyone would call a successful marriage so I was really sensitive to this. I really thought I was submitted (in the biblical sense) and showing/telling my husband that I loved, and more than that, respected him. Well, big fail on my part."

"Women are so into making their man feel like he is "THE ONE" that we tend to do what we have to to make them feel special! We aim for reciprocity but tend to not get it! So when it comes to "stroking their ego", it's not as pleasurable as it started out to be! Women do NOT need man to define them, but MEN need us to define them! Who's the HEAD and who's the tail?"

"...some lack it very much! A lot of women are so "modern day". They don't like to do anything but say they are married."

"I do because we're busy trying to prove our independence for lack of validation from them. I often find myself in that place. I'm working vigorously to correct that though! The problem is when I do give it, it's not reciprocated. So, then I stop and revert to those things (shopping, fun, movies, food, etc.) that'll build me back up.....that's until he does something that strokes my ego. Then the pattern repeats itself. Ugh!"

"I don't think you can group all black women like that. I think that all women have varying degress of ability when it comes to uplifting our mates but the same goes for men. One of my favorite sayings is "a relationship is only as successful as how well EACH persons needs are met". It cuts both ways..."

"Well the ladies here at the hair salon and I agree you should stroke your man's ego when necessary not as a means to grow him up as a man! Some stroking is a must, but be careful ladies...we must also remind our men we like them two stroke ours too."

Yes at times. Hard to make them feel like men when they act like boys! Especially when they REFUSE to be a man at all (being the head fully according to the scripture)."

" Wow! This is really an eye opener for me. I know that I do not lift my husband up. It is like I feel that he should be the only one doing the lifting and the thing is, he is always lifting me . It is like that's the way I was raised. That men are suppose to take care of you."

"...from personal experience, I will say that I am guilty of not always making my man feel like a man. He has often said that he has to fish for compliments and I do not make him feel appreciated. I was terrible at this in the beginning because I didn't know how to allow myself to fully submit to him and tell him from time to time "thank you", "you are a great husband", "you are great with the kids". It's because I thought I would be relinquishing some sort of power or I'd be "that woman" who was putting on a show for the public. It took me a looooong time to come to the realization that just as we as women want to hear the words, men want/need the same thing. I guess I felt like he was supposed to pay the bills and do stuff around the house and he didn't need to be validated to feel appreciated like I did...."

WOW! is all that I can say. I'm in the presence of some pretty intelligent women! WOO HOO! Seriously though, with such a variety of views, I feel that this is an issue that is very serious and needs attention because divorce rates are up around the country according to statistics and reports, but even more disturbing, blacks lead the pack in these failing marriages. Two out of every three black marriages end in divorce.That is a rate of 66% compared to the national average of around 50%. The black divorce rate has impacted the nature of the family. Not only are our marriages failing, but our children are being negatively impacted. They never stand a chance to have a successful marriage or be married at all with the examples that are being set for them. I know that a lot of my issues in my marriage stem from things that negatively effected me as a child from my parent's marriage. We have to stop the cycle. It is my goal to open eyes to this issue and ignite a fire in others to change and to want better. Nothing will change until we get sick and tired of ourselves and our wrong way of doing things. We must be open and honest and have a desire to get beyond where we are.

With that said, here are some questions that I have based upon some of your responses. Feel free to answer or share your input:

*When is it necessary to stroke their egos?

*What are some things that you do that make your husband feel emasculated?

*What does it mean to be a strong black woman?

*Are those varying degrees of ability to lift your mate up always carried out?

*Why do you think it is necessary to prove our independence?

*What does scripture say is the man's role?

*Do we play our roles fully as women?

Thank you all so much for your input. If you haven't already, create a google account and follow me! Please comment in the comment section so that we can have open dialogue on this issue. I look forward to other responses! Stay tuned later today to see what our guys have to say about this!

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