I saw this bumper sticker today:
“Men are idiots. And I married their king.”
NOT funny. SO not funny. My heart kind of sank when I saw that driving along in front of me today. You know what went through my head? “So, honey, why did you marry him if you think so little of your man? I doubt you were forced into this.”
You know, a huge part of respecting our husbands has to do with the kinds of thoughts we allow ourselves to think and ponder. And thinking things like that bumper sticker, even in jest, does not help to foster a respectful attitude. I do have a sense of humor. I know that sticker is meant to be funny. But, it just isn’t.
My husband and I determined early on in our marriage that we would not make jokes at each other’s expense, especially in public. We had seen a lot of couples we knew say mean things about each other in public settings and say them as jokes, but you could tell the words hurt anyway. We always kind of wondered if someone could joke like that and hurt their spouse in front of friends and acquaintances they didn’t know very well, if there might be deeper problems going on behind the laughs. I also am careful not to say things about my husband that would hurt him or what other people might think of him. Though I share a lot (sometimes too much) about myself on my blog or with friends, I try very hard not to share things about our relationship that should remain private. Like when discussing The Excellent Wife (which I’ve kind of slacked off on recently, I know) – I don’t think it appropriate to share a lot of specifics from our marriage, especially areas we may be working through (not that there are really all that many, but don’t we all have things we’re working on improving? There is no perfect wife or husband, after all, we're all sinners. Those of us who are in Christ are growing in sanctification, but none of us are perfected yet, so, if we're honest, we all have things we need to work on.) because that’s for him and me to work out between the two of us and the Lord, not to be aired on the blog or in a Sunday School class or any other public setting.
And here’s another thing. We live in a culture that increasingly insults men and acts like men are buffoons who either have to be rescued by the oh-so-sarcastically intelligent woman or just laughed at as idiots. Have you watched many sitcoms or commercials lately? If you ever watch TV, do this: start noticing how many of the male characters are portrayed as childish, foolish, idiotic, inept, stupid, sex-crazed, only interested in sports, etc. and then look to see how many examples of real, decent, wholesome, intelligent, capable, good fathers and good family men are portrayed in the TV shows you watch (especially those trying to be funny) or the commercials you see. A few years ago I read James Dobson’s book, Bringing Up Boys and attended a corresponding video study. It was pointed out during the course of that study what a warped picture is presented today for our boys of what it means to be a man. Ever since then I have become increasingly aware of how often the role models offered up for young men these days are boy-men who never grow up and the women are always rolling their eyes at them, lecturing them, showing the men no respect because they never seem to be mature, capable or worthy of respect. That’s what our boys are increasingly inundated with in our culture.
I, for one, am tired of it. I hate movies and TV shows that capitalize on idiotic male characters in order to garner a cheap laugh. As a mother of boys, I want them to learn how to be real men. I want them to learn that it is good that they are male, for one thing, not something to be somehow apologetic about, and to know that it is good that God created them to be leaders. I want them to learn to be biblical leaders, not wimpy, idiotic, effeminate, lazy, only interested in sports or beer or video games or TV or other empty and immature pursuits, or all the other false pictures our culture inundates boys and men with. I’m thankful for my husband who is a real man who our boys can look up to, and he is neither an idiot nor a boy-man, but he is a man I find it very easy to respect.