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I did a post on How to Destroy Your Husband's Manhood in 10 Easy Steps.
I think it's only fair to give equal commentary to...
How to Destroy Your Wife's Womanhood in 10 Easy Steps:
1. Compare her body to other women, whether they be on the screen, in advertising, on billboards or in your neighborhood.
I'm guessing that if you are doing this, you aren't doing it out loud. But even if you are doing it only in your head and heart, you are chipping away at something sacred.
Nearly every woman you see in advertising has been photoshopped in some way to make her an effective tool in hawking beer, lingerie, cars and even siding for your house.
Your wife is not an airbrushed actress or model.
She is a real life woman whose body likely carries the real life realities of age, stress, exhaustion, child birth, breastfeeding and hormone fluctuation.
And whether she voices it or not, she possibly struggles with her body image more than you even realize. Don't add to her insecurities.
2. Minimize what she contributes to the life you share.
Whether your wife works outside the home, in it or both, she's bringing unfathomable benefits to the arena.
My grandmother once said "women just see more that needs to be done." We do. It's true.
Yes, there are exceptions to every rule, but study after study shows that women carry the majority of the load in keeping a household moving along.
They are the tamers of the calendar.
The keepers of the details.
The signers of permission slips.
The shelf stockers. The ringleaders. The judge and jury of sibling fights. The baseball uniform washers.
If your mother received a birthday card or your brother received a Christmas gift, I'd be willing to bet you have your wife to thank.
No, this dynamic is not true in every household, but it's true in a lot of them. Your wife fills a vital role in the life the two of you navigate together.
3. Ignore her sexual pleasure.
I know you guys are in a bit of quandary here, because sadly many wives don't even care about their own sexual pleasure.
The truth is that God designed orgasm for both a wife and a husband, and it will strengthen your marriage in untold ways if you both take that to heart.
If you have played any part in putting your sexual pleasure consistently above hers, humble yourself and start giving equal attention to what it will take for her to climax.
If she is the one who continues to downplay it, then have a heart-to-heart conversation about the pain this is causing you and your marriage.
I honestly think if married couples would be intentional, selfless and mutual about valuing each other's sexual pleasure, many marriages would not be in the sad state that they are.
4. Undermine her parenting decisions in front of your children.
The "good cop / bad cop" scenario is wreaking havoc in many homes. And children are keen little creatures bent on manipulating any crack in the foundation.
If you have been throwing your wife under the bus when it comes to what are reasonable parenting decisions, stop doing that.
And if there seems to be extreme disagreement between the two of you on key aspects of parenting, then start having conversations away from the children about how you as a couple are going to get on the same page.
Figure out the negotiables and non-negotiables. Pray.
5. Make her feel bad about time she spends with her girlfriends.
No, she should not regularly put her time with friends over you and the kids. Yet, I'm going to call it like it is -- she needs her girlfriends to get her bearings and maybe even stay sane. Seriously.
Her girlfriends are not a replacement for you, but they are a sounding board in a way you aren't.
If "time with friends" is causing strife in your home or relationship, express to your wife that the two of you need to find some common middle ground on how friend time plays out on the calendar. And that goes for time with your friends as well, because you also need that.
6. Hold scripture over her as a way to coerce her or make her question her role as a wife.
Do not play the "submission" card. Don't do it. And also don't Bible beat her into coming around to your way of thinking.
Lead first and foremost with humility, generosity, prayer and godly obedience to your role as a husband.
If you do not know what that looks like, seek God's Word and mature brothers in Christ with whom you can grow and be accountable.
Wives, don't consistently undermine his headship. If you know you struggle with this, be honest with yourself and possibly even suggest that the two of you visit a pastor or a counselor.
7. Never compliment her. On anything.
Sure, marriage is a breeding ground for taking each other for granted. But with a little effort, this dynamic can change.
If she is like most women, she wants to know that you still find her beautiful, that you appreciate the meals she makes or the errands she runs, that you genuinely think she did a great job planning your parents' anniversary party or the neighborhood barbecue.
The best compliments are timely, specific and genuine.
8. Make it difficult for her to be vulnerable with you.
A long time ago, I read a quote that said, "Everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something."
Are you a safe landing spot for her? Can she be real with you?
She needs to be able to be messy and unglued with you -- and to know it's not going to freak you out or shut you down.
She's a woman. Messy and unglued is how we roll.
9. Choose your family over her.
Oh. My. Goodness. So many wives already feel threatened or frustrated by the role your mother (and possibly your entire family) play in your life.
You made a decision to leave your family and cleave to your wife. Do you still need to honor your parents? Absolutely.
But when "honoring" means never setting clear boundaries with your family, something is askew. I guarantee your wife will want to get the heck out of Dodge whenever they are around. That's not a good feeling.
10. Don't consult her on life-impacting decisions.
When we choose marriage, we are choosing to be partners with another person. Your wife is your partner in life. She has a voice.
And while I don't think she should be able to override what you genuinely believe are godly, prayer-drenched and Holy Spirit tested decisions, I do think you need to listen to her.
She is likely intuitive in ways you have not considered. And she wants to feel secure in her home and her relationship with you.
Even if the two of you disagree, don't be too quick to minimize the value of wrestling -- healthy emotional, mental and spiritual wrestling. Often, wrestling of this sort reveals better alternatives or brings your hearts into alignment.
I'm going to err on the side of believing that you loved your wife the day you married her and you love her now. And you want to be a husband who builds her womanhood rather than destroys it, right?
She needs that kind of husband. She needs you to help her be the woman God is calling her to be.
For more on nurturing intimacy (sexual and otherwise) in your marriage, check out the book I co-authored, Pursuit of Passion: Discovering True Intimacy in Your Marriage.
Copyright 2013, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage.