Monday, September 14, 2009

THE Cheerleader.

All the best stuff I've read on marriage (and when I say "best" I mean the stuff that's hit me the hardest and felt the most right in my heart), has deemed the wife as the family "cheerleader".  Thank goodness that doesn't mean I have to go around with pom-poms stuck to my hands, shouting things like "GEW...TEAM...GEW!" ( in "go", only for some reason cheerleaders say it like "gew") and jumping around the house (though I'm sure my husband wouldn't mind the short skirt). 

Over the years, I've learned more and more what that means and what a difference it makes to cheer on the people around me, especially and most importantly my husband.  The absolute best advice I've ever, and I mean EVER heard came from a dear friend of mine.  She got it from her mom.  And let me tell you about her mom...she is the most incredible, wise, soft, beautifully feminine person I have ever known, and I've loved her since the second I met her (or I'm pretty sure I have.  I can't remember the first time I met her, but I'm sure I loved her).  You'd love her too. 

Anyway, my dear sweet friend (we'll call her Kate) and her husband (we'll call him Jack).  {So I've been catching up on Lost...those are the first names that came to mind - haha!}  So Kate and Jack were really struggling financially.  Jack's company had shut down and he'd been out of a job for a couple of months.  Luckily they had some savings, but it was starting to dry up.  Anyone who's ever been in a situation close to that knows that things can get more than a little tense.

So one day, Kate was driving around and just lost it.  I don't know that she ever got around to telling me exactly what she was feeling, but I'm sure she was feeling scared and frustrated and helpless at the situation.  Oh - I forgot to mention they have a little boy that she stayed home to take care of.  I guess the baby better be called Aaron. ;)  Back to driving around - Kate called her wonderful and wise mom, and her first words went something like this, {bawling} "Mom, I don't know what we're going to do.  We were doing okay, but now we're running out of money and Jack still doesn't have a job and ....."  Now you'll find out why I think Kate's mom is so amazing.  HER first words to her sweet daughter were, "Kate, stop crying.  Is Jack there?  You better not have cried in front of Jack because if you think this is hard for you, then you better believe it's hard for him."

Talk about a reality check.  Kate got a hold of herself and listened to the rest of her mom's advice.  For the sake of making things as easy to understand as possible, I will put her advice in a list:

1.  Smile.  Smile at him every chance you get.  First thing when he walks into the house or into the room.  Make sure he knows you're happy that he's around.  If you're not, smile anyway.

2.  Trust him.  He is a smart and loving man.  Don't you go out and get a job, that will make him think you don't trust him and you'll end up an over-worked woman who is bitter that she's supporting her family.  He's a smart guy - let him figure this out and he will.  Do your job the best you can - make your home comfortable, be happy and make him a sandwich when he's at home during lunch time.

3. Don't nag.  Ever.  If you feel like nagging or getting upset, go to him and give him a backrub and a kiss instead.

4.  Don't give him advice unless he asks for it.  Bite. your. tongue.  No "you shoulds" or "have you trieds".  He's got it.  Don't make him feel accoutable to you.  Let him figure it out.

5. Don't cry.  If you can't help it, cry in the shower.  Take a walk if you have to.  Call me or your best friend or your sister and vent and cry all you want.  But don't cry or pout to him.  Show him that you have faith and trust in him by loving him, not by crying and making him feel worse.  Just because he doesn't talk about it doesn't mean he doesn't feel like a failure for not being able to give you everything you want.

6. Hug him.  Go home and apologize.  Put your arms around his neck and tell him you're sorry and that you were wrong.  That you trust him to be able to take care of you.

7. You need to be the one person he can go to for unconditional love, support and kindness.  The world is a harsh place and if he hasn't found a job yet, that means he's getting rejected all day long.  Don't be one more person he feels rejected by.

Kate did what her mom told her to do.  The first thing she did when she got home was put her arms around Jack's neck, kiss him, and apologize for nagging and not trusting him.  His attitude changed over night.  Things didn't get better financially, Jack took a couple more months to find a job, but they were happy and their marriage is stronger because of it.  Kate felt good about doing the best she could at her job of taking care of Jack and Aaron and making them feel loved.

I'm not a man, but I think that in the end, all a man wants is the wife he married.  Weren't we all unconditionally supportive, smiley, lovey women when we were dating our husbands?  I think we could all be a little more that way and a little less...well....not that way. :)

My husband's only comment when I told him what Kate's mom said was, "I think she's right on." I think so too.  So good luck to you in your cheerleading.  Don't beat yourself up when you don't feel like you're doing it right.  I think it's an art that Kate's mom has obviously spent years perfecting (though I'm sure she would disagree if she knew I called it or her perfect).

Here's to you and your marriage and cheering your hubby to great things!  {Back hand-spring, stick the cheer pose, hold it aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand..........jump up, spirit hands, woooo!  gew team!}


Chelsea said...

Love it. Kate is lucky to have such a wise mama. I kove every single post you have done....I am so proud of you!

the 7 goddesses

These 7 goddesses share their wisdom with the rest of us. Click on their tabs above to learn their lessons and read their tips:

APHRODITE - goddess of love & beauty - this is you

NYX - goddess of night - lessons on wifery (is that a word?) and all things night time

LETO - goddess of motherhood - all things related to motherhood

DEMETER - goddess of food & harvest - and for that reason, my favorite. Find tried and true recipes here

HESTIA - goddess of hearth & home - on making your house a home

ATHENA - goddess of wisdom - making learning a lifelong journey (plus a killer book list)

ELPHIS - goddess of hope - cause we could all use a little more!

Good for a laugh

"My dad hates brownies when they're gone." -Hudson age 2


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