The 1950’s article I mentioned in the intro to this series goes on to say that meals should be planned ahead, maybe even the day before, so that the meal is on time and ready when he enters the house. This is one way to let your husband know that you have been thinking of him and are concerned about his needs. A good meal is a welcoming thing.
I married a planner. He likes lists and goals and things you can measure. It’s part of his nature, but it’s also a product of his occupation. He manages a lot of people and equipment and systems in 7 cities in our region. That’s a big job with big responsibilities. He lives in planning mode. So, when he gets home, he doesn’t want to have to plan supper or make a choice about what to eat. He’s made decisions all day long, and he’s usually trying his best to get out of what we call “work mode” and focus on me and the kids for the evening.
So, at 5:30 when he walks in and I haven’t even begun supper, or I have no clue what we’re gonna eat, it’s a major letdown for him. It’s not because he expects a hot meal every single night. It’s because he’s tired, he’s hungry and he’s ready to relax.
The really cool thing about that is this: he knows that when he gets home, I’m tired, I’m probably hungry, too, and I want to just breathe a minute now that I have reinforcements. It’s probably why he gets so frustrated when I don’t have a plan for the evening or when there’s very little consistency in how the school nights go in our house. In his mind, a planned day is a good day.
But, see…my brain doesn’t work that way. I’m not a planner by nature. I’m a “let’s see what happens today” kinda girl. He knew this about me before he married me. We’ve known each other a while, and I’ve even worked for him in the past. He knows my tendencies. He knows that I can be extremely lazy in a lot of areas. He knows that if Emily doesn’t want to do it, it probably ain’t gonna get done today. (Sad, but true.)
But, the important thing is that he sees the potential in me. He sees the ability to put my focus into something and do a great job. He sees how diligently I take care of and love on the babies, sometimes to the detriment of the house or other needs. He knows that I can do it all, but he knows that I don’t try as hard as I should sometimes. He loves me as I am, but he desires for me to be better.
I get frustrated because I don’t want to plan things down to the teeth. I could care less what order we do things in, as long as they get done. But, if I’m honest, I know that if I don’t plan, things normally don’t get done. I love his planning nature, but it drives me crazy some days.
That’s the thing about submission – Biblical submission. It’s a two-way street.
Wives, submit to your husbands…
Husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church…
I fix my husband’s plate 99% of the time, I get up from my plate to get him whatever he needs from the counter or the fridge during meals, I go back into the kitchen from the living room during the evening and get him a drink or a snack so that he doesn’t have to get up…all these things are me submitting to my husband. Not because he requires these things of me, but because he loves me enough to work a hard job that allows me to be there every day to pick up the 7-year-old with special needs. It allows me to watch the 19-month-old grow up instead of paying someone else to get that joy.
So, what do I do in return? I have dinner ready, or at least in the process when he walks in. I make a decision about what we’re going to eat so he doesn’t have to, and I try my best not to ask if that’s okay with him. (Because, one: it’s one less decision for him, and two: I’m trying to take authority over my domain.) Do I get it right every day? No. I’m not perfect. But, I’m pressing towards the goal of “better”. Not because I need to be good enough to make him happy. Not because it’s a requirement. Because submission is about love, not domination. About knowing the other person’s needs and wants and doing everything you can to meet them.
I love you, Michal Ferber. “Looking after you” is a joy.