Mistakes To Avoid On Mother's Day
by David Sisler
Men, there is no way you could have missed it. If you were alive and/or awake for the last week or so, you have no excuse. All of the stores have had signs proclaiming it. Television and newspapers have been bombarding you with it. Restaurants have been urging you to make reservations. It is Mother's Day!
For retailers, this is the second most important shopping season of the year, only Christmas is bigger. And there is a subtlety about the ads--it's really not your mother they are urging you to shop for. If you forget the woman who gave you life, they figure, you are lower than a snake's belly in a rut in the road, and totally beyond redemption. No, they are speaking on behalf of the woman you helped to become a mother. She is, it seems, easier for men to neglect.
In case you are thinking about doing something really stupid, like really showing your wife how important she is to you, I have a few suggestions that will help you avoid the temptation. Just so you'll know.
First, and foremost, do not tell her, "I love you." If you do slip up and say it, do it in a nonchalant manner. Better yet, make it sound trite or meaningless. It is important that you keep her off balance. If she suspects that you really mean those three little words, you could be in real trouble. She might even start expecting consideration and compassion on a regular basis.
One of the essential ingredients of a good marriage is sacrifice. Husbands and wives need to serve each other with sacrificial love. That means giving up some of your personal desires and preferences on a day-to-day basis. One way to do that is to offer encouragement. If you reassure your wife that although she changes with the years, in your eyes she's still fundamentally the same exciting woman you married, well, just think of the trouble that will cause! Good grief! So demand that she serve you. But never show her that you appreciate it. And whatever you do, don't reciprocate.
If by some stretch of bad luck--she gets appendicitis or a double compound fracture of both legs and you have to pick up some of the slack around the house, let her know what a great guy you are. Complain all the time about the fact you are doing extra work. Better yet, belittle her accomplishments by telling her that you are working a full-time job and taking care of her responsibilities, too. This housewife thing isn't so tough. What is she complaining about, anyway?
The simple truth is, no one is excused from being a servant. Even Jesus, who is God the Son, the Creator of the Universe, had the humility to wash the disciples' dirty feet--and they should have been washing His! But then, Jesus was never married, so that excuses you from being a servant to your wife. Right?
Another tragic mistake you can make this Mother's Day is to show your wife that you respect her, that you respect her individuality, that her feelings are important to you, that her needs matter to you. Be careful that she never suspects that her opinions count for anything. And every time she makes a mistake, don't forget those three little words--"Told you so!"
One of the easiest ways to avoid the trap of demonstrating respect is to contradict her in front of your children. When she tells the little darlings, "No, you can't do that," immediately overrule her. "Sure. Go ahead. What does Mom know? And who does she think she is voicing her opinions without consulting me, the Lord and Master of this house?"
If you ever have the option of building her up in front of her friends or ridiculing her, which choice do you think you should make? Who knows what trouble you'll cause yourself if you actually help her to grow as a human being! Barefoot and belittled. That's the way!
Of course you want to throw her a few scraps every now and then. Just one little word of approval from you and she'll practically kill herself to make you happy. Don't take this too far, though. Once in a while a husband will actually make the mistake of letting his wife believe that she is a priority in his life. If you do that, the next thing you know, she'll be thinking that your marriage relationship should come before all other relationships. Make the mistake of encouraging that attitude and your wife will be expecting you to take a little time for her instead of your job or your buddies.
Well, there are a lot more ways you can mess up Mother's Day for the little woman, but those few hints are enough to get you started. So, if she hasn't read the paper yet, hide this. Let her believe you came to all of these great conclusions on your own. It's just one more way to keep her off balance. After all, Mother's Day is only one day out of the year. No sense in starting something. Get careless and she may expect a little TLC every day. What a mess that would be!
Published in the Augusta Chronicle 5/13/95
Copyright 1995 by David Sisler
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