Some suggestions to consider for honoring your husband at family get-togethers (you are welcome to share tips on these issues that work in your marriage!):
– Smile and look at your husband when he is talking and listen to him with interest.
– Don’t interrupt him.
– Don’t correct his story-telling.
– Don’t tell him how to drive unless he specifically asks for you to be the navigator. But even then, please don’t critique his driving skills.
– Let him decide what to eat and don’t lecture him or give him THE LOOK!
– Allow him the freedom to go talk with the men if he wants to or to watch the football game he is interested in. You can ask for what you want, “I’d love for you to sit with us in the other room for awhile, please” with a pleasant, friendly tone of voice. But then be gracious no matter what he chooses to do.
– If you feel that people are getting nosy and asking things you don’t want to answer and you feel stressed out, “When are you having a baby? Are you ever going to get pregnant?” or other personal questions – smile and look at your husband and let him field those questions (especially if it is his family that is asking, there is tension or if you are feeling pressured). If he’s not there, or you don’t mind answering, then smile and say something to deflect the question, “Children are a blessing, aren’t they?” ”We’ll be sure to let everyone know if we have any news.” And change the topic sweetly.
– Praise him genuinely in front of others (not constantly – but a few sentences during the day would be great).
– If there are people who verbally attack you in the extended family, stay in the same room as your husband. Most likely, these people will only attack you if they can get you alone so that there are no witnesses.
– Do not criticize him, speak negatively of him or use non-verbal disrespect (eye rolling, sighing, looking impatient, scowling, daggers in your eyes).
– Do not join in with other wives bashing their husbands!!!! Even if your husband never knows about it, putting your man down in front of other people is extremely disrespectful and it will taint your ability to respect your husband. And – it is sin in the eyes of God. If the women won’t change the topic off of husband bashing or gossip, go in and join the men! Or go play with all the children.
– If people want you to commit your family to something, check with your husband first, or if he is there, look at him, smile and let him answer.
– Uphold your husband’s parenting decisions (ESPECIALLY in front of others!).
– Smile and enjoy the blessing of being with your husband and family.
– Do not complain or argue – that ruins your witness for Christ and it can ruin the whole atmosphere for everyone (Philippians 2:14-16a This is a command from God for all of us as believers so that we may shine for Christ! Great passage to memorize.).
– If a particular family member refuses to allow your husband to come to his/her house – I believe it would be best if you don’t go either. No need to create a big fuss. Just simply say, “Ok, I understand. But if my husband isn’t welcome, then my children and I are not going to be able to come.” That is all you have to say. If they try to engage in an argument, refuse to engage. Just repeat, “You are free to make any decision you like. I love you and I really would like us all to be together. But none of us will be able to come if my husband is not welcome and treated with respect.” Family is important! I want you to be able to be with all of your family and to love and enjoy them. But, if you have to choose – you have a covenant with your husband that you do not have with your family. Honor your husband first. Honor your marriage covenant before God first. Your husband needs to know that he comes before your family – and your family needs to know that, too! If you do not properly “leave” your family and cleave to your husband, your family will almost always gladly overstep their bounds and become too involved in your life. They will expect you to put them first. That is not right. Your husband is to be your first human priority.
– If a family member of yours disrespects your husband, I would suggest gently but firmly saying, “Please do not disrespect my husband.” Or “Please do not speak to/about my husband like that.”
– If a family member of your husband’s disrespects him – I believe it may be best for him to handle that situation and for you to trust him to handle his own family dynamics.
– Do not be a martyr! Ask for help if you need it! If you can’t make a certain dish without feeling resentful – don’t make it!
– Don’t correct his manners.
– Don’t correct his pronunciation.
– Don’t insinuate he doesn’t make enough money.
– Be content with him and what you have.
– Find your strength, joy, identity and purpose in Christ!!
– Don’t try to force your husband (or anyone that is an adult) into doing something they don’t want to do.
– Make sure there will be some of your husband’s favorite dishes if possible.
– If possible, go where your husband wants to go when he wants to go there. Of course, say what your preferences and desires are – in a friendly, non-pressuring way. But, it would be awesome if he could have the final say if you can’t agree on the plans.
Remember, ladies, WE have the power to set the emotional temperature for our families. Let’s use that power constructively to make Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations pleasant, harmonious and peaceful! It is our choice to make.