In Defense of Honoring Your Husband

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Several years ago my younger two kids were part of an annual music recital at a local nursing home. One of the performances is always a little song called Down on the Farm for which each of the kids creates an instrumental sound to represent different farm animals. It’s always a cute performance, but this particular year there was an elderly resident in the back of the room who kept loudly calling out, “I don’t get it.”

That’s become a family joke for us. Even now, nearly ten years later, when something perplexing happens, one of us will invariably call out, “I don’t get it.”

Way back in 2013, something happened online that made me call out, “I don’t get it.”

Yes, this post has been sitting in draft for over two years. What can I say? I’m a procrastinator.

In Defense of Honoring Your Husband

Way back in 2013, I wrote a post about showing appreciation to homeschool dads. (Interesting side note: The visiting cat referenced in that post is Not Gus, who has been a permanent resident for over 2 years now.)

I’d already had one comment from a friend indicating that there were people out there who would find what I’d said offensive and subservient, so I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when that was exactly what happened when a blogger friend shared the post on her Facebook page. There were comments like, “Don’t even read it. It starts with dressing up and fixing your hair.”

One lady was so offended that she said she was unliking the Facebook page, which I thought was an awfully strong reaction, especially since the person who shared the post didn’t write it.

I’ve got to say, y’all, I don’t get it. I didn’t get it two years ago and I don’t get it now.

The suggestions I made were:

  • Dress attractively
  • Take care of my personal appearance
  • Fix his favorite foods
  • Build him up, rather than tear him down
  • Make our home a pleasant place to be
  • Spend time with him
  • Pray with him

The post wasn’t about things that my husband expects me to do. There is very little that he expects me to do other than the things involved in running our household, which is no different than me expecting that he’ll get up and go to work each day. That has nothing to do with subservience or what some would call archaic gender roles. It has everything to do with my desire to show my husband that I love him.

I can see where the my statements that I like to dress nicely and fix my hair might sound like something out of the ‘50’s at first glance, but I admitted that dressing nicely for me includes yoga pants and t-shirts. Yoga pants are just a step up from sweatpants, y’all. I wasn’t suggesting day dresses and pearls.

I’m not sure how wanting to look nice for your spouse is offensive. I bet no one would have found it offensive if I’d said I was dressing up for a date back before we were married. It wasn’t offensive when I wore a fancy white dress on our wedding day.

Now that we’re married, we’ve seen each other at our worst, which means we should accept each other, bad hair days and all – and we do. My husband didn’t stop loving me when I was nearly 100 pounds overweight and wore ratty t-shirts every day because that was all I had that fit.

He didn’t love me more when I was within 5 pounds of my goal weight and he hasn’t stopped loving me now when I’ve regained nearly half of that weight. He loves me and finds me attractive whether I’m wearing yoga pants or that pretty blue dress I bought for weddings.

However, loving each other regardless shouldn’t mean that we never want to put forth the effort to look attractive to each other again. I like for my husband to walk in the door and think, “Wow, my wife looks hot.” I want to be attractive to him physically.

He wants to be attractive to me, too. He knows that I really like the way he looks with a goatee. For years, he couldn’t wear one at work, but the company’s policy was changed recently and my husband immediately started growing out a goatee. Is that offensive? He looks hot, y’all.

In Defense of Honoring Your Husband

There also seemed to be something offensive about fixing his favorite meals. I pointed out in the original post that sometimes I fix things that I like because if I’m cooking it, sometimes I should get to have my favorites even if they’re not a favorite with everyone else.

I can’t imagine that if my list had been “ways to show your kids you love them,” fixing them their favorite meals would have been seen as archaic. The very day that folks on Facebook were being offended by my post, something interesting happened. I fixed a meal that is a favorite of everyone. I don’t especially like fixing it because it’s not the simplest meal, but Brianna had asked me to.

Does that decision make me subservient to my kids? I don’t think so. I think it makes me considerate of their feelings. When Josh walked into the kitchen that night and saw what I was fixing, a huge smile spread across his face and he said, “Oh, yum! You do love us!”

He perceived that my choice to make one of our family’s favorite meals was a sign of my love for them. It was – and it made me happy knowing that I had made him and Brianna happy.

Why shouldn’t I want to experience that with the man I love enough to be spending the rest of my life with? What is subservient about that? It just sounds like love and mutual respect to me.

Maybe the offense that post generated was a case of someone reading the subheadings and thinking it said something that it didn’t. If not, then, really, I don’t get it. I certainly wasn’t offended that Brian washed and vacuumed my car before he picked me up at the airport last week. I’m not offended when he mows the lawn, cleans the garage, or changes into a nice shirt before we go out to dinner together.

I wasn’t too worried Valentine’s Day this past weekend. I don’t need Hallmark to tell me what day to show my man I love him. However, ten days after Valentine’s Day marks the 25th anniversary of the day Brian asked me to marry him.

I want to put forth just as much effort to woo him now as I did back then – well, most days. When I don’t, he’ll still love me, but when I do, he’ll be reminded that I still find him worth my time, effort, and attention. I just don’t see anything offensive about that.

Do you think that dressing up for your husband or straightening the house before he comes home is old-fashioned?

images courtesy of deposit photos

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. My first thought when this hit my email was, “We have to defend that?!?” {Sigh} it seems that we do – and you do a great job of that, Kris. Dressing up & straightening up are not old-fashioned – they are timeless. I don’t get people being offended, either.

    You hit the nail on the head when you speak of love and mutual respect. Those who have ears, let them hear, and illegitimi non carborundum, my dear! 🙂

  2. Hear hear!

    In a culture so obsessed with being attractive, you would THINK that being attractive especially for your husband would be a no-brainer. Apparently you’re only allowed to attract people you’re not married to yet…?

    As a mom of three young kids, I definitely struggle to, oh, get dressed, or keep the house tidy. But being considerate of your husband and bringing pleasure to him is something to strive for, absolutely!

    You’re doing great. Haters gonna hate. 😉

    1. Some days, I just have to turn me some Taylor Swift up really loud and sing along. Haters are gonna hate, hate, hate. 😉

  3. I’m with you, Kris – I fail to see how treating my husband with courtesy and respect (which includes prioritizing the things I know are important to him like remembering to make supper) is subservient. He does the same for me, like setting up the coffee at night because I am an earlier riser than him.

    And I’m totally with you on goatees. 😉

    1. Exactly. My husband does so much for me. He often calls before he leaves work to see if I need him to stop and pick something up on his way home and he almost always runs the kids to the places they need to go in the afternoons. It’s give and take. To me, it just seems like common courtesy and working together to make the household run smoothly.

      1. You know, that may be the problem: common courtesy. I think our culture (and I struggle with it, too!) is caught up in pleasing ourselves, doing whatever you want to make you happy. Don’t go out of your way (or comfort zone) to try to do something that would please somebody else unless you are going to get something out of it. When I saw your title this verse popped into my head: ” Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:9-10 Maybe they don’t like the meaning of honor: it means to respect, esteem, hold in worth.

        1. That may be part of it. We do live in a very self-centered culture – and I’m not pointing fingers. I’ll be the first to admit that being self-centered is a huge area of struggle for me personally.

  4. I don’t know if it’s old fashioned or not but I definitely try to have the house picked up, dinner ready (or on the table) and at least look I might have combed my hair in the last week. I put on perfume I know he likes just to surprise him occasionally– I look at all these things as way to express my love. Just like I help my kids find their lost toys or do an occasional chore for them without my asking them to. Just like I love to find him cleaning the bathroom because I was complaining it was dirty and I hadn’t found time to clean it yet. Those little surprises make life nice for us all. So yeah… I don’t get it either however, I wasn’t surprised by the reaction you got.

    1. You know, I hadn’t even thought about it from that angle. It wouldn’t upset me at all if my husband did those things for me. Maybe that’s why I love him so much because, generally speaking, he does – he just doesn’t blog about it. 🙂

  5. … probably because of the articles of long ago that were written to say that the kids should be re-dressed with clean faces and hands waiting at the door and, you should be in perfect make-up and the house completely clean and dinner on the stove when your spouse gets home. That IS 1950’s mandate and I don’t blame people for not liking the idea of something that sets women so far back.

    Perhaps as you said it’s all in the way it is perceived. I have found myself doing straightening a bit toward the end of the day– but typically that’s only so he can walk through the house without tripping and falling. Heck it is so I don’t trip and fall, with 4 kids, including a toddler and a newborn and 2 homeschooled kids.. it’s not like I have any shortage of mess makers. And it’s less straightening and more ‘kick toys out of the way’…I don’t do it to please him, which is how it comes off the way you’ve written it, same with the getting dressed up. It’s written as he expects it and would perhaps be angry/cause relationship issues if not… it’s like a lifetime movie waiting to happen. She does everything to please him and he’s still not happy…. (everyone vomit in unison)… even if that’s not how it was meant, that is how it ‘reads’ on the screen…

    I’ll admit to a few times showering and putting pajamas back on–especially if I was ill… but I try and put on jeans if I can most days—when I get a shower. Since most ‘at home’ moms I know are perpetually in sweats or yoga type pants and go OUT like that– then I really don’t feel too bad about not putting on the ritz. not to mention, I have no good clothes that are A. not maternity and B. allow for nursing.. so jeans and a tee shirt is the best that it gets for me.

    But I’m in the mind that my husband should be coming in and taking his shift in kid wrangling and helping with the house as well- we both have our own jobs– and taking care of the house is a responsibility that both of us share. Even if my work is ‘at home’, taking care of the kids and teaching is a full time job. Any cleaning I manage to get done is a bonus, not his right. The most common comment I see in other forums is ‘how do you do it ALL when you stay at home’… because their spouse EXPECTS it and COMPLAINS and/or yells at them as to why the house isn’t perfect… they have absolutely no power in their relationship and they don’t see it. They’re in tears and scrubbing every inch of the house just in case it upsets their boyfriend- in case he should leave… I fear for them, and maybe that’s what sets people’s teeth on edge– the idea that they could be next or someone they know would end up in that situation.

    So I see what you mean, but I see how a simple title or list could easily lead people down the mental path of ‘abusive relationship’ if they don’t read it all the way through. Blech.

    1. I see what you mean, but I don’t think I wrote the original article that way – at least, it wasn’t in my mind. I’m not running around like crazy cleaning before my husband come in each day. However, I do try to make sure the house is reasonably clean because who wants to come in to chaos? My husband does the same for me. For years, he has made it a point to clean up the house before I get home when I’m out of town because he knows I don’t like coming home to a messy house. I never asked him to do that and I don’t expect him to. He does it because he loves me.

      As soon as I got in the car from my last trip, he started apologizing for the house not being cleaned up – because he’d been sick all weekend to the point of almost having to arrange for someone else to come pick me up. He must have apologized a half a dozen times on the way home, even though I assured him over and over that I didn’t care. It’s a mutual respect thing, as far as I’m concerned.

      1. That’s so great. I don’t think mine would think to clean up if I was gone, I mean not completely, he’d load the dishwasher, but the rest would be cluttered– i t doesn’t bother him, apparently, at least not unless it messes with something HE wants to do. o.0 maybe he needs another 10 years of experience under his belt to see things out of place that don’t affect him 😀

  6. I agree with you, Kris. I love looking nice for my man. That doesn’t mean a dress and heels everyday. He loves it when I wear jeans, a superhero shirt, and converse! He will love me no matter what:) I also love making his favorite things to eat. It shows him I love him. I do the same for my 4 kiddos, why not him? We put so much time and effort into our kids that sometimes our spouses get put on the back burner. I want a happy, exciting, loving, passionate relationship before, during, and after our kids. They will be out of the house one day. Why wait till then? I want to show him respect and love everyday. I want him to feel just as AMAZING as he makes me feel. If someone is offended by that, then I DON’T GET IT either!!

  7. I am not offended. 🙂 I have been married for 35 years- fortunately, my husband thinks a nice t-shirt (meaning clean) and yoga pants ARE dress clothes. 😉 I love it when he comes home and says “you look cute, are you going somewhere?” when I have shoes on. We all want someone to love us and show us appreciation. My husband showers right away when he gets home from his construction job and he almost always sets aside a 1/2 hour to just sit and talk with me if I am able when he gets home. THEN he gets up and starts dinner prep or helping me with dinner prep. I can’t imagine if he put those things in a blog post that he’d get slammed. AND he always makes sure that we have a date night once a week (with 7 children and 10 grandkids that is no easy feat sometimes). All this to say- I think you are spot one. Go that extra step to make your spouse feel loved.

    1. Okay, the line about “…are you going somewhere” because you have on shoes cracked me up. I’m surprised my husband doesn’t ask that on the rare occasions when he comes home and I have shoes on. 🙂 I love that you shared the things your husband does for you.

  8. Here’s the thing… I’ve paid off my college debt. I had my own place. I served in the military and been deployed overseas (too many times). I’m trained in weaponry. I think I’m a strong, independent female. In today’s society, a female is praised if she can earn her own money or own her own home or be her own trailblazer. And yet, that same female is treated poorly if, in her independence, she CHOOSES to not work or CHOOSES to stay with the children. I don’t understand how today’s society can see me as strong when I’m making my own decisions, then also consider me weak because I’m making decisions that “they” don’t agree with! Those replying to your blog say it’s OK if I choose to dress nicely for myself, but NOT OK if I choose to dress nicely for my husband? That must mean it’s only OK to make the dinner that I like because I like it, or for the children because they like it, but not OK to make the dinner that he likes…? How does this make sense?
    It seems to me that today’s society is perfectly OK with “self-gratification” but not OK to allow for the “gratification of others” (let alone “serving others” – I won’t even touch that one here!)
    How very sad.

  9. As someone who violently reacted to the patriarchal culture as a child (being homeschooled we were around it) I understand the offense. For too many people it was-and still is-a form of control, another way women are “put in their place”.

    Now that being said, I was not offended by your post. I feel no need to dress up ever, but occasionally I’ll pull out the items my husband has said he’s liked. And he does the same for me, and so on and so forth. It’s a willing thing. I was just trying to explain why many would take offense.

    1. That makes sense as a reason someone would act so strongly. Still, if anyone actually read the post instead of just subheadings, it was clear that those are things that I choose do for my husband, not something I think all women should do. What you said does make sense, though.

  10. I am sad that you felt like you had to defend this. Seems perfectly normal to me, as you very eloquently pointed out. You keep right on keeping on, girl!

  11. I love making our home a place my husband *wants* to come home to. I kiss him goodbye in the morning and I greet him at the door most nights, I frequently make his favorite dishes for dinner. I PACK HIM A LUNCH every morning, because I want him to have nutritious food, because I love him. When I started treating him with kindness, love and respect, our marriage improved greatly. Being the wife he likes me to be gave him the desire to be more of the husband I like him to be. How is that controversial? I feel sad for those women who think showing kindness to their spouse is demeaning.

  12. When my husband gets home from work, we (the kids and I) drop whatever we’re doing and go out to greet him. He’s usually carrying a lunchbox, a water jug and his various computer paraphernalia and we like to be there to say hi and give him a kiss to welcome him back. I agree with you. This should not be so hotly debated. What’s wrong with looking cute, for goodness’ sake?

  13. Most days when my hubby comes home from work we stop what we are doing and everyone yells, Yah dad’s home!. I try my best to have something cooked and the housed picked up. Who wants to come home and relax in a mess, and he works a very physically demanding job. I also like to try to look cute or at the very least decent when he comes home, there are a lot of pretty girls between work and home and I want to give him something to look forward too. It absolutely blessed my heart when I overheard him tell someone that the best part of his day was coming home and feeling so loved and appreciated. Gave me the motivation to keep it up. With so many divorces and unhappy marriages you would think people would put more effort into pleasing their spouse. We’ve been married 10 years and we are more in love than ever before. He is my best friend and I will always do what I can to make him happy and I don’t care about what the rest of the world has to say about it.

  14. We have an infant. I have a thyroid issue. These combined mean I often smell like I just completed a marathon. How does that tie into this post? Everyone would agree that showering and donning fresh clothes would be a plus if I was heading to co op, a Dr. Appt, the library, or out of the house in general. But if I suggest showering and freshening up, I am suddenly archaic and my husband must be an unreasonable jerk. We have things so backwards. Valentine’s and anniversaries are easy. Love, real, true, lasting love is in the details. It is dealing with a houseful of kids, knowing that you smell like a boys locker room, and finding 15 minutes to squeeze in a shower. It is knowing his favorite meal, expressing appreciation for his contributions and holding your tongue when he left the pile of unsorted mail out on the counter for the umpteenth time. Likewise it is him cutting up fruit and veggies so that the kids and I have healthy snack options even when the baby is fussy or cluster feeding. It is cleaning the sinks and tub because he knows it hurts my shoulder. It is shaving and getting a fresh hair cut because he knows I like it. It goes both ways. It is easy to plan a big night, make reservations, dress fancy, and pull off a date night. Hard love, the real test is whether or not we are willing to put the time and effort into doing something just to please our spouse day in, day out, especially when we don’t have to, they don’t deserve it, and we are tired, cranky, and otherwise not having a sunshine and roses day.m

    1. Love this. That’s it. It’s give and take and taking the time to treat your spouse at least as well as you’d treat friends and acquaintances.

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