I Was a Foolish Woman

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In the early days of parenting, I was a foolish woman. 

Primarily a stay-at-home mom, and then later a homeschooling mother, I spent a lot of time with my children. This was good, because it gave me the opportunity to teach and train them, imparting valuable life skills as we moved through our days together. I had the privilege of modeling the behavior I hoped they would incorporate into their lives. “Values are more often caught than taught,” I’d heard, and I believed it. 

I’d watch my eldest daughter reading to my toddler and think, she’s going to be such a great mom one day

I’d catch the youngest girl encouraging her stuffed animal in a voice that sounded very much like mine. Shaking her pint-sized finger, she’d say, “You need to eat all the squash on your plate, Lillie Bear, so you can be strong and healthy.” These lessons are sinking in, I’d think. 

And then came the day when I heard my daughter mumble as she tripped over her daddy’s shoes, “Men are so lazy. They never pick up after themselves.” It sent chills up my spine to hear my words coming out of my young daughter’s mouth. 

And she nailed the accompanying tone of disgust and disrespect perfectly. 

In a moment of Holy Spirit enlightenment, I realized that while my kind and gentle words were making an impression on my daughters, so also were the careless and destructive ones. “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1). 

Without intending to, I had been tearing down their father and undermining their respect for him. It was a frightening realization. 

We seldom obey those we disrespect. We discard their teaching, ignore their examples, and defy their authority. Their instruction is meaningless and impotent. Without intending to, I had begun to sow seeds of disrespect and rebellion in my daughters’ lives by tearing down their father within their hearing. 

That day marked a major turning point in our home.

From that day on, I made a concerted effort only to say those things that were edifying. I talked to them about how hard working and dedicated he was, and about how much he loved his family. I mentioned the choices he made that they wouldn’t have otherwise noticed—how he would rather be home with us than out on the golf course, or how he drove the old car without air conditioning so we could drive the comfortable, newer one. I expressed my thankfulness within their hearing that he cared more about his wife staying home to raise his daughters than work to have a bigger house and expensive vacations. 

That day years ago, I witnessed how my words had the power to build up and the power to tear down. With God’s help, I wanted to build my home on the foundation of the love and respect I have for my husband. 

How about you? Do you struggle with your words? Have you, intentionally or unintentionally, torn down your husband in the presence of your children? If you have, it’s never too late to change. 

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May I suggest the following steps? 

1.  Confess and repent. Agree with God that you have sinned against him by disrespecting your husband. Ask him to forgive and change you. God always answers this prayer (1 John 1:9).

2.  Confess to your husband first, and then to your children. Tell them how God has convicted your heart and that you desire to change. Ask them to forgive and hold you accountable. 

3.  Pray every day, inviting God to make the words of your mouth and the meditation of your heart acceptable in his sight (Psalm 19:14).

4. Replace critical thoughts with thankful ones. Instead of thinking, “He’s so sloppy; he always drops his shoes in the doorway when he gets home from work,” think instead, “I’m so thankful I have a husband who works hard every day. And I’m thankful he comes home to us each evening.” As we learn to think rightly, we’ll also learn to speak rightly.

5.  When you mess up, and you will, repeat steps 1-4. 

What are your thoughts? How have you learned to build up your husband? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you’re reading by email, click here to comment. 

If you enjoyed this post, you might like "How Much Would Someone Pay for Your Words?"  
or "You is Kind. You is Smart. You is Important."

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  1. This is the second post I've read today encouraging women to respect and hold up their husbands to their children. I couldn't agree more. Our children reflect us in every way!

  2. Isn't it awesome how both our posts are talking about the dad today? They complement each other.....awesome!

    I was driving once and some guy pulled out in front of me and I said "jerk" and behind me I heard my little son say "joik!" and I thought "Oh no!" Little hearts were listening!

    I loved what you said here: "As we learn to think rightly, we’ll also learn to speak rightly." Our minds will train our mouths! :)

    Thanks for linking up to "Making Your Home Sing Monday" today!

  3. It so scary to see out children imitate the "bad" things about ourselves. We have great intentions to teach them in the truth that when our slip-up come out of their mouths, it is mortifying! Thanks for the encouraging reminder and helpful tips for this!

  4. GailBP8:07 AM

    So good, Lori. I sometimes transmitted disrespect with a look or frown when my husband said something without realizing that my teen-aged children were reading my looks as well as hearing my words : {
    This is a great reminder and so true!

  5. Alison Wood9:29 AM

    Kids are true imitators and often convict me by their imitation.Thanks for reminding me of something I struggle with at times!
    Visiting from Pint-sized Treasures

  6. I've been there, done that, Lori. It's an easy trap to fall into, especially when young and unaware of those little eyes that watch our every move! I didn't have daughters watching, but my sons attitudes about women and marriage were formed and skewed in those early days as well. The funny thing is, as I changed the words I would say about my spouse, the more "I" began to believe them. It really helped my marriage just to focus on the positive and being respectful. Great thoughts here as always, my friend!

  7. Great reminder. Love your steps, Lori! And yes, I had more than one similar experience with my children. Praise God for His grace and second chances (and more!).

  8. Rachael DeBruin1:44 PM

    What a convicting message...thanks for the much needed reminder!

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  10. lorihatcher12:24 AM

    Ouch, ouch, ouch. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit doesn’t leave us on our own, but faithfully teaches, equips, and enables us to change. In this we have our hope! Blessings, Lori

  11. lorihatcher12:27 AM

    Amen, Vonda. He’s so faithful not to leave us in our foolishness, but to teach and train us. And it takes a LIFETIME! I think I’m going to have to live to 100 to get some of this right :o

  12. lorihatcher12:28 AM

    It is amazing, Beth, how we win or lose the battle in our minds long before we ever open our mouths. Lord, may the mediations of my heart be acceptable in your sight. . . . Thanks so much for stopping by J

  13. Kids do have a way to show us our sins, don't they.

  14. Mary Redo12:50 PM

    I did the same thing, to my shame. Thanks for this gentle reminder.

  15. Mary Letters9:46 PM

    Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. Been there. Done that. Such a good reminder.

  16. Wow - what an important lesson here. I found myself doing the same thing the other day. It's so easy to let our tongues go without thinking. Stopping by from Wholehearted Home. Blessings from Croatia: Rosilind from A Little R & R

  17. This is such a good reminder!! Thanks for linking this over at WholeHearted Home this week.

  18. Thank you for the reminder! I am so glad that I popped over to read this! I definitely needed to hear it!

  19. Thanks for adding this one to the Wedded Wed link up, Lori. I remember this one from earlier and thought it was a great post then and now.

  20. Wow - what an important lesson. There is nothing like children parroting our words to help us remember to watch what we say and our attitudes.

  21. This was such a great post - I read it a couple of weeks ago & I keep thinking about it. Great point! : )

  22. I think changing your heart and thoughts toward your spouse's actions is the key. My husband works hard at work all day and then comes home and works hard on fixing our TWO cars that have broken down. He's even catching a ride with a co-worker every day so we can have the only working vehicle to drive my son to school and run errands. I KNOW he is sacrificing a lot for us. But after months and months of a nasty grey film in the sink (from washing the oil and grease from the car off his hands in the evening), I find my self mumbling under my breath, "why can't he just clean this up when he's done? How hard is it really? Why do I have to keep coming in after him to clean it up? I already have enough things to clean in this house!" Yes, I realize how awful and selfish that sounds. But in the moment, it feels justified. I think we have to consciously change the way we view things so we feel joy instead of frustration at the people we love. If I say, "Bless his heart, he was working on the car again tonight." and use it as a reminder of all he does for us, it wont bother me near as bad.