To Honor and Respect means No Bullying

24 08 2013

This is the second of a series of posts about dealing with divorce prevention.  The first was about learning how NOT to fight.

Now let’s focus on what it means to honor and respect.

My parents lived a very passive/aggressive relationship.   As I posted, they fought a lot.  My dad also was able to do damage with out physical harm to my mom.   I’ve had discussions with my mom about what she was experiencing when he would insult her,  say that she wouldn’t be anything on her own,  and thought that he should be the one earning money.  When I would try to ask my dad about this, he would not talk about it.   He would say that my mom just was trying to make me choose sides and was manipulating me.   Well for many years this worked, but I chose my mom’s view and side because I saw my dad being a verbal bully.   Most of this part of the story will be told from what I’ve learned from my mom.   The only statement I can get from my dad is “Sometimes people just don’t see eye to eye.”  or ” People fall out of love”.

According to the website BullyingStatsitcs.org   Adult verbal bullies ” are more spontaneous and plan their bullying out less. Even if consequences are likely, this adult bully has a hard time restraining his or her behavior. In some cases, this type of bullying may be unintentional, resulting in periods of stress, or when the bully is actually upset or concerned about something unconnected with the victim.”  (From the website)

.    My mom recently talked to me about what went on that I didn’t realize that I heard and then imitated when I got married.   She told me that many times my dad would make her feel bad about herself.   Would push the ideal that she was there to serve him and and the family and that was all.  My dad told me that he felt that both my Grandma and Mom just wanted to have power over him.  He felt that they both acted like controller, not letting him do what was best for the family.  Seems to me that there was some very big egos at work in all of them.   Bullies are so full of themselves and selfishness is “normal” for this type of person.   How can you respect someone who thinks more of their self than for those around them?

My mom  told me about some of my dad’s putdowns.   He would say things like “You can’t make it on your own.   You want the kids to learn music, then YOU pay for it, I’ll have nothing to do with that.”    My dad has told me that mom just did what she wanted to do and wouldn’t listen to him.  You deny that you have done wrong to a person, keep acting as if you are in charge  and keep pushing YOUR point of view until  it’s YOU and only you standing.     This lead up to the fights, which I posted about perviously.     Each of my parents thought the other was trying to control them.   I understand that neither of them was willing to back down or make sacrifices for each other.   There is nothing wrong with taking a stand, but when you can’t get through to the other person,the best defense is to step away and cool off.  I have learned that you can’t communicate when a person is so self centered and wants things to go only YOUR way it’s best to get away.

Bullying  is not respectful and is an act of evil.  A performance that only makes the bully feel good about themselves. .  Telling  your mate that they can not survive without you is not honorable.   I don’t know where my dad learned this, but I have a feeling it was from his own dad, who I never met and he won’t talk about his dad.   Both of my parents think that they were naive and really not ready for marriage.   I still don’t have a very clear picture of what their lives were like as kids.   They don’t talk about this.  Which I find frustrating because I think I’d have a better grasp at why they really were NOT married and just living a co exsistence that happened to have children.

I do believe that the “happily ever after” of fairy tales and our romantic movies has done a great deal to damage what marriage should be.   I grew up with the vision that the man is the head of the household, that the woman is his helper and you have children that smile and behave themselves.   This is an unrealistic ideal to uphold.    We also hold to the idea that you keep your individualism when you get married.  That you should compliment each other.  But this is a too is not the full picture of a marriage made in heaven.     I find the “traditional” idea of the male being in charge of all things in the realationship is sexist and so full of bullshit that it stinks.   That is not what I’ve learned from God.  I’ve seen and been friends with couples that didn’t adhere to this ideal had a much fuller, richer experience.    I find that people who are willing to learn from each other, see the divine creation that God has made them to be, and are willing to drop ideas that are now proven to not be beneficial to the marriage to be how I wish my own marriage to be.

As most of us who grew up in a Christian background, we were told that we were to marry til death do us part.   I still hold to this value as a great truth, but it takes you to willing to be changed by living life together and work not just for the common good of the family.   Too many times I’ve seen other men make the mistake of trying to change their wife into something that they want them to be.   To fit the conservative LIE that women should be just homemakers.   My mother in law is a good example of the choice to be the stay at home parent.  My wife tells me she studied home economics and never wanted to do work outside the home.   My own mother didn’t want to do that.   She wanted to pursue music and outside interests.   She wanted her sons to learn music too. She saw that we had a gift and didn’t want to waste it.   My dad didn’t want that for us.   I never KNEW what my dad wanted for us.  Music wasn’t it.  He thought that we would go no where with it.  He always wanted us to have something else to fall back on.

I have come to understand that most couples who enter into a marriage at a  young age,  have no clue about how to live a life contented to be with each other, support each person’s ideas and dreams,  and understand that to really honor each one to let God run the marriage from the start.   When it’s done by human ego alone, it is bound to fail.   I have had to let go of most dreams that turned out to be unrealistic for me and accept that I honor God by being a  husband, father,  and school bus driver.   It’s not that my dreams couldn’t be obtained, it’s just that those dreams are not what I was designed to do.   Since I decided to sit at the feet of Jesus, learn HOW to commune with the Heavenly Father, and really listen to that small quiet voice to guide me, I find that my whole life has changed.    I find that there is no better way for me to live than to be the person that I am now.  Listening to the guiding voice from the Kingdom within,  seeing what Jesus did in situations that might be similar in the Gospel stories, learning to humble myself when I am wrong.  There was a time when I would not listen to HIm .

I don’t back down from bullies anymore.   Even the adult bullies that I see.  I’m not afraid to at least speak to them.  The greatest lesson that I have learned from having seeing adults being bullies is to recognize that they are NOT afraid of the person they are bulling.    I have Paul Coughlin, author of No More Christian Nice Guy and founder of The Protectors for helping me to understand how to stand up against bullying.   His book introduced me to what I never knew about Jesus and helped me to quit being a bystander and stop being a passive/aggressive  person.   I highly recommend reading his works.

I can tell you that if you continue to be a bully or try to always be correct and have YOUR way in your relationships, you will end up being so full of yourself that you will end up pushing those that you love away.  You have to understand that marriage is about honoring your wife or husband and children.  I do that by keeping my focus on Jesus and not what I REALLY would want to do.   It has taken me many years to be able to do things for my family.   To not force my kids to do things, but to show them what I would like them to be like.   I don’t tell my wife she can’t do something, but I do ask questions at times to see if she really is doing for selfish reasons or if it would be beneficial to her.   I find that she does this for me as well.

I find that though this process my old ways of trying to force her to do what I want her to do fail to manifest.  The great news is that I’m still growing in this love and respect.  I find more and more that if she really wants to go out with friends, that it does good for our relationship.  I don’t go out that much, I’m not much for a lot of friends.  The few that I have face to face relations with I know would be willing to do what it takes to have my back.  I find that this is a good thing too.   I find it honors my family and shows that you don’t have to have a HUGE social life to really live.  But that is just me.

I find that when you learn how to let go of your selfishness that it becomes natural to honor and respect.   Our culture here in the USA really likes to give lip service to honor and respect.  A good example is some of the kids in our apartment complex take to insulting each other,  and they think it’s all in fun.  But I see the younger kids not laughing at this.  Honor and respect start when you are young.   We can’t have a distorted ideal of this.   I say that we need to remind and teach kids that to be respectful means to treat everyone as you WANT to be treated.   It has to start at home.   Bullies like to think that they have respect because they make others fear them.  All this does is create a culture that doesn’t want to know one another and see each other as something wonderful.

Bullies have no honor and no respect.

Marriages that can’t find the way to honor and respect both God and themselves tend to end up in divorce.

May you find honor and respect.

This world is rough.  Honor and respect make it smoother.

 

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