Wednesday, August 25, 2010

On Insects and In-Laws...


The other day, Mrs. O. was telling me that Little E. has begun killing bugs for her.  So, I started thinking about insects and how I react to them when I'm around Mrs. O.  If I am in the outdoors with Mrs O. and we see a huge spider, or snake, or (insert creepy crawly thing here.)  What’s her response?  What’s my response?  What if the spider is on me?  What if it is on her?  Well, the reaction is quite different!  For example, I learned early on that I have a better chance of removing the offending party if I don't tell her about it ahead of time.  Should I alert her to the presence of the crawling companion, she is apt to jump wildly making it nearly impossible to remedy the situation.  She, on the other hand is likely to simply let me know that I am being accompanied by a small friend and not make much of an effort to remove it.


Now, I know.  I can pick out a few friends, couples, who don't follow in our footsteps.  I can think of one or two gals that are probably thinking, "I'm not afraid of bugs!"  AND, I can think of a few guys who are thinking, "I'm not killing her spiders."  That's not the point.  The point is that there are uncomfortable situations that we all face--dragons, if you will.  All the dragons must be slain, whatever they may be.  Why do I feel compelled to act on behalf of Mrs. O?  Why does she not feel that same obligation.  Why am I not hurt by that...at all?


Consider another situation: relational conflict.  What if your friend were involved in some sort of conflict with you?  What about the ongoing relational journey with your in-laws--think about both sets.  How does Mrs. O. respond to those types of situations?  How does she feel?  How do I respond and feel?  For us, it works much better if I take the lead on the more difficult conversations whether with friends, my family or hers.


It builds security for Mrs. O. when I take the lead in dealing with creepy crawlies and in-laws alike.  That is not to say that in-laws are creepy crawly...at least not in our case!  It is also not to say that Mrs. O. can’t handle it.  I've seen her in action.  She is perfectly able to handle difficult conversations with poise.  It's really an issue of security.  She feels secure if I am willing to engage and 'slay the dragon' on her behalf.  It will not rock my security to engage with another person on issues of my family.  It will not rock my security to be the one to engage when there is danger ahead, be it the not-so-itsy-bitsy spider, an intruder, or a relational afront.  Conversely, it will not build my security significantly if Mrs. O. were to kill the spider, though I would be much obliged.


Now, like I said before, I acknowledge that these are two simple manifestations of the security issue, so everyone will not be the same.  The issue of security is a big one for a lot of people, though.  There are a lot of husbands who could do a lot of good for the environment in their homes if they did a few simple things to build the security of their wives.  It could be as simple as turning out the lights and locking the doors before you go to bed.  Just being the one who takes care of it can make a big difference.


Moral of the story: She doesn’t need me to slay her dragons for her, but it makes her feel like a princess if I do.


Do you agree?

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