Before you get your panties all up in a wad, hear me out first, ok? I have a few bones to pick with my gender and most of them have to do with insecurities. I know this because I AM a woman. I just wish that our issues didn't have so much control over our lives. Fear controls so many of us, and it shouldn't. i want to make a list of some suggestions we women can do to help ourselves out, our husband's out, and our friends.
1) Give things a try. Maybe you've never liked sushi before but your husband LOVES sushi. It's not going to kill you to try it - unless you have fish allergies. Maybe college football isn't your thing but your husband has his team and really gets into the game. Join him! Grab a beer, make a pot of chili and ask questions about plays or calls you don't understand. If you have a good attitude about watching the game with him, he will probably be impressed and happy to have his wife getting into something he likes.
2) Fight for your free time. I know that plenty of stay at home Mom's just don't go out anymore. Too tired, too much work, too whatever. Make it a priority! I'm sure you have at least ONE friend or family member who wouldn't mind babysitting for free at least once every week or so. You need the break; even if it's just going to a book store, getting a cup of coffee and reading a book by yourself for a few quiet hours. Or if you have some extra cash, go get a pedicure; pamper yourself every now and then. Mark and I arrange times where we can go out alone and have time with friends. i.e. A couple weeks ago there was a get together at a bar nearby that we both wanted to go to but we couldn't bring Noah to a bar -duh- so we just took turns. I went for an hour and a half, then came home and Mark went for an hour and a half. Also, plan ahead. Find a reliable sitter.
3) Just because you're a girl doesn't mean you have to be girly & delicate all the time. Watch some tough, action movies. Go play paintball. Get involved in whatever sport or video game your husband likes. He will be pretty turned on that you're showing interest. Trust me. Even if you're HORRIBLE at video games, ask him to show you how to play. At the very least you both may get some big laughs out of event. I recently heard that a friend's wife had surprisingly gotten into a World War II dvd series that he liked a lot. He was very impressed and proud that they could share that together. Watch Rambo. Ride a motorcycle. Smoke a cigar. One of my favorite bumper stickers says "Well-behaved women rarely make history".
4) Naturally I have to insert here that there are some women who think they are too tough or too independent to have chivalrous husbands. Ladies, don't be too proud for your man to open the door for you, or take your coat, or pull out the chair for you at a restaurant. If you're lucky enough to have some chivalry in your life, do NOT reject or belittle it. True story, a guy friend had a girl tell him "I can open my own door", and he decided if he gets told that one more time, he will never offer it again! Be careful, friends.....we DO want chivalry to stay alive.
5) Try not to be picky and high maintenance - especially in high stress situations. For instance, there's a bunch of you trying to make it to an event on time and you all need to eat. Your only options are gas station food or Burger King. Go with the flow and don't complain about it. Just eat the Burger King - I'm sure there's a salad or grilled chicken something you could eat! Be picky when you're on a nice date, not a road trip. Put other's before yourself - it's basic. If you're on a special diet, then come prepared with your own food or snacks.
6) Choose a good attitude. I feel like this one can be the kicker. Life is hard - duh- but it's how we respond to those hard things is what matters. So many people argue that one can't control how they respond to things, but I completely disagree! I believe we always have a CHOICE. You can choose to be cool and calm, or you can choose to get offended and pissy. Of course hormones play a roll in being a female, but it's not really fair to blame them all the time. I don't want to be off the hook because I have raging hormones. If I'm being an unrealistic, sassy b*tch and my husband calls me out, I stop and think about it before I respond. Usually he's right because he doesn't often tell me that. I apologize and choose to have a better attitude, because deep down I don't want to be an unrealistic, sassy b*tch. Do you? We can choose! We have the power!
7) Don't avoid vulnerability like the plague. In my 29 years of life I have learned the more vulnerable I get - sharing hard things, crying in front of people, asking for prayer, being transparent - the MORE love, encouragement, hope and support I receive, by the bucket-load! Seriously. My last blog I posted contains some of the rawest, hardest things I have ever been through and am still going through currently. But after I posted it, that very same day I received over 8 phone calls of comfort, encouragement & sympathy and I am still getting an influx of emails from people, who are not only saying they're praying for me and are in my corner, but also people telling me how much my transparency has convicted them to deal with hard things in their own hearts. I am so overwhelmed with these responses mostly because my honest intention for writing that blog was to just let people know where I'm at. So that if I seem unconnected or am lacking celebration over this new pregnancy, it's because there's a BIG messy story behind it all. Over the Rhine has a lyric in one of their songs that says "Pain is our Mother, she makes us recognize each other" and I always think of this line in moments like this. Paul in 2 Corinthians also confirms this, but he goes further to say that we are not only recognized in pain but also in comfort.
II Corinthians 1:3-7
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.
8) Get Help. If you just can't seem to get past your insecurities, or even find the courage to attempt any of these things I have listed, then you may need some extra help. There's absolutely NOTHING wrong with help. Maybe it's both you and your husband who need help, but he refuses to go, so you feel stuck. That's a lame excuse in my opinion. The only person you can change is yourself. Start somewhere - start with you. 9 times out of 10 your husband will begin to see changes in you and wonder what's going on. Those changes may prompt him to join you. I am seeing a counselor myself right now and carry no shame about it what-so-ever. I have broken places in my heart and in order to be the best woman, wife, friend, daughter and Mother I can possibly be, my heart needs to get healed. It's been one whole year that I know it's been shattered and it's not going to glue itself back together on it's own. So I am taking active steps in getting well. I have always loved the saying "Hurt people, hurt people. But people who get healed, become healers". I want to be a healer, and in order to be that I must be healed. The only thing I have to fear is fear itself. Time is merciless too. I really don't want to be 40 or 50 and still have never dealt with these hard things. Do yourself, your marriage & your kids a HUGE favor.....seek help, then be willing to receive whatever help is offered. I am willing to do whatever: read 100 books this year, read the Bible cover to cover or pray on my face for an hour each day - if that's what may help piece my heart back together. These kinds of things don't just go away and they don't just magically repair themselves. We must take action and choose. This also goes for unresolved conflict and unforgiveness. Both are arrows that painfully remain in our hearts, causing us to lose blood, to lose heart, until we are willing to pull them out and get sutured. Don't let anymore time pass. As I revel in the final year of my 20's I am beginning to see that we're not getting any younger.
I started writing this blog months ago and then just saved it and sat on it because I didn't want to seem too offensive; women can be touchy & sensitive you know? So I hope none of this comes across as so. These are just some rules of thumb that I have learned for myself over the past 6 years of marriage. Consider this a challenge of sorts. I think women are attacked by way of insecurity, and I for one do not want to be owned by it anymore. There's a freedom in letting go. Try it. Let your husband be who he is, don't be so ashamed and embarrassed when he does or says something stupid in public. Don't take life so seriously. Laugh more. No one else cares if your hair is a mess because of the humidity. No one else notices the zit or the hole in your stockings. We are not and will never be perfect. I appreciate the women in my life who are free and encourage me to be free. Sure there are people who size us up and judge & criticize every little thing we say, do and wear....but who cares about them? The truth is they only do it to others because they're completely insecure with themselves! Don't be that girl. No one really likes her.