The Mom in the Mirror
By Karen Ehman
“However, … the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians (NIV)
I’ll never forget the day I saw myself in that mirror. Even though over a decade of time has passed since I caught the glimpse, the image is still vivid. And I’m sorry to say that it wasn’t a pretty one. My then six-year-old daughter and her three-year-old brother were playing together in their room. I strolled down the hall to check on the baby who was due up from his nap soon. It was then that I saw it.
As I approached the room where my kids were playing, I heard Mackenzie’s voice pipe up as she expressed to Mitchell her immense displeasure. You see, he was not stacking the colorful, snap-together, plastic blocks in a manner that suited her. As I neared the door I heard her sharply declare “No, Mitchell. Not that way! Oh, just give it to me! Anybody with a brain knows they go like this, not like that. Can’t you ever do anything right?” Her words, though unkind, weren’t the real issue. What bothered me most was that they were spoken with a caustic, condescending tone. I was not going to let her get away with it.
I stepped into the room and with classic mom form - hand on hip, finger pointed, throwing the child’s middle name in for emphasis—I gave it to her. “Mackenzie Leith Ehman! Young lady, I don’t ever want to hear you talk like that to your brother again!” Without even looking up from her pile of blocks, she quickly and calmly retorted. “Why not, Mama? You talk like that to Daddy all the time.”
Ouch! My kids often serve as a painstakingly honest mirror when it comes to my attitudes and actions. The offense my daughter had committed that day paled in comparison to what I feared my kids were witnessing in our home as they saw their mom interact with their dad in a disrespectful manner. I cried and prayed and cried some more. I told my husband what had transpired. I then told my moms’ Bible study group. Turns out I wasn’t the only mom who had a little mirror in their house. Many of us had seen ourselves vividly reflected through the voices and actions of our offspring. We vowed together to keep our words and tones in check. Of course, we found out this is often easier said than done.
The word “respect” in today’s verse can be one we wives assume we are obeying because we have a limited view of its true meaning. A quick reading of this verse in the Amplified Version of the Bible sheds a deeper light. Its parenthetical description of the word “respect” reads, “that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.” Whew! No wonder God wants marriage to last a lifetime. It might take us women a lifetime to learn to exhibit all those qualities!
It’s been a long time since I spied my ugly self in that mirror that day. I still struggle at times with a sharp tongue, often saying things in jest that in reality are unkind. And my kids now reserve the right to call me on the carpet for such behavior. We moms need to remind ourselves that there are little and not so little eyes watching, and in many cases imitating what they see. What’s in your mirror?
Dear Lord, Forgive me for the times I have used my words, attitudes and actions as weapons of disrespect toward my husband. Empower and enable me to live a life that accurately reflects what a godly wife should be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood
Capture His Heart by Lysa TerKeurst
Do You Know Him?
Pay close attention to your words and tone this week as you interact with your husband. What would you see if you were videotaped and then had to watch a playback of how you speak to him? Would others be able to tell from your encounters that you respect your spouse?
For the brave at heart only: Ask your children to be honest with you. Question them about what they observe when you speak to your husband. Is there anything they think you should clean up? What grade would they give you when it comes to how you treat their father? Tell them that you are trying to obey the Bible by showing dad respect. You just need a little report card from them to know how you are doing and to enable you to make the necessary changes.
Name a wife who gets a good grade in this subject. What is different about her? What does she do, and not do, that makes her a good example?
Ask yourself, “Is there one person who would be a good fit to hold me accountable in this area?” Pick someone who will be honest with you and who cares enough about you and your marriage to tell you the truth and point you to God. Contact her to see if she’d be willing to check in with you periodically to inquire how you are doing.
Ephesians 4:29 , “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (NIV)
Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 04 April 2007.