Luke, I Am (Not) Your Father
By Janel Breitenstein
My husband was preparing to leave on a 10-day trip, and he wanted a memorable day before he took off.
So I crafted a big, sit-down dinner. Dishes overflowed from the sink, but I sank into my chair next to our kids.
I don’t think it was until later that my husband gently pointed out what should have been obvious. “Honey, I don’t know how to tell you this … but I’m not your dad.”
He carefully explained that while my father would have loved a big send-off meal, he would rather get pizza, pull me off dish duty, and spend time with all of us doing something other than eating.
Sometimes it’s still so easy to lapse into my default setting of the ways my parents did marriage.
Rather than seeking to love my husband in the individual ways meaningful to him, I opt for the “good wife” stereotype. Or assumptions I make about men. Or what I’d like my husband to do for me. Or my parents’ patterns.
But in seeking to honor him, it means more if I see him specifically, rather than my stereotypes.
Jesus did this remarkably. He loved each person according to their own needs, whether it was Zaccheus, blind Bartimaeus, or the woman at the well.
Jesus asked questions specific to their needs. And He may have known the response before asking (see Matthew 6:8), but He still thought it worthwhile to seek their interaction and response, to create a relationship and allow the person to communicate what was within.
Turns out my husband doesn’t actually desire me to wear makeup every day like my mom did (“I like your face,” he shrugs). He and I switch up or share a lot of what our parents deemed as gender-specific jobs. And over a spotless house, he prefers when I’m not worn down to nubbins by the end of the day.
What could we unearth when we seek to love our spouses like someone other than our stereotypes?
The good stuff: And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51)
Action points: Open the discussion for your spouse to articulate what is (and isn’t) meaningful from your “default” ways of showing affection.
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