I write this at the risk of offending a number of friends and acquaintances, but that is not my intention. This topic is just one I've been giving a lot of thought to over the last several months, and since this is my blog and therefore my space to write about whatever topic I choose, here I go. My hope is that others who are reading this and who have opinions of their own, either supporting or contradicting mine, will weigh in on the conversation.
Thane was at a swim team board meeting recently when the opinion was advanced that women should honor their husbands when they come home from work or are spending time at home. He, of course, suggested that I need help on that front, but I assume he didn't mean it since he told me about the conversation later with humor. The idea that wives need to work at honoring their husbands has come up before in my circle of acquaintances. No one has ever defined exactly what this means, and so I am left to devise my own interpretations.
Dictionary.com defines honor (noun), in the way I understand my friends to be using it, as “high respect, as for worth, merit or rank.” As a verb, it goes on to say that honor means “to confer honor or distinction upon;” “to worship;” and “to show a courteous regard for.” Given these definitions, I would assume that if I were to honor my husband, I should treat him with respect and courtesy because he has merit or has earned my honor. (I draw the line at worship!)
No problem. While I am by no means perfect, I would like to think I treat everyone courteously and respectfully, including Thane. I frequently express my appreciation for him and what he does for our family, both monetarily and other less defined ways. While he does so less overtly, I know that he honors me, as well, and gives me the same courtesy and respect. (I also acknowledge that he’s not perfect on this front either!)
So far, so good. What bothers me in this whole extended conversation, such as it is, is that the emphasis is always placed on the wife honoring the husband. The wife needs to work on honoring her husband more, even to the point of taking classes on learning how to do so. I have yet to hear anyone express that both halves of a couple need to be equally aware of honoring the other half. I am quite confident that I am as deserving of honor as Thane. We both work hard to earn a living, maintain our home, and sustain a happy family. He may earn more money than I do, but that is only a small part of what each of us does in our life together.
As the mother of a daughter, I hope that Thane and I are modeling a relationship that shows honor, respect and courtesy flowing equally in both directions. I want Rowan to grow up knowing that she deserves to find a partner who will honor her as much as she does him. She deserves to find someone who will support her dreams as much as she supports his, and who will help her fulfill her wants and needs as well as his own. She deserves, as do I, an equal partner in life.