"Why won't he be the king I know he is, the king I see inside?"
- The Lion King
This line struck me down today. A simple kid's song, a little love song, and yet a profound idea.
Ten years into marriage, it's easy for things to get hard. We see the faults and failings more easily than the triumphs and successes. We are tired and worn out and short-tempered and take it out on those closest to us. Or we are tired and worn out and give little attention to the one most deserving of it.
We look at our partner and wonder why he won't stand up and do the long list of things, and be the long list of ideals. We have this view of the "king" we want him to be and wonder why on earth he won't be it?
First of all, I think those lists are long, unreasonable and frankly unrealistic. Sometimes they are filled with frilly things like putting laundry in the hamper instead of on the floor. I have complained of it a hundred times, as have all of my friends. But why do we get hung up on this one? Is it seriously the one attribute we really desire our husbands to have?
(One friend smashed this complaint for me. She said that every time she picks up his clothes, she tells herself that she is grateful she has a husband whose clothes she can pick up.)
So is the answer to this question that we should stop trying to change our husbands into someone better? No, I don't believe so. I think there really is an answer to "how do I change my husband?"
Let's turn it around for a second and reword this question: "Why won't she be the queen I know she is, the queen I see inside?" We all have limitless potential inside. There are many ways we could improve, do things better, have more energy and drive to move onward and upward. But what sparks us on? If my husband was standing in front of me telling me all the ways I could "be the queen he knows is in there somewhere" I would probably not respond very well. On a good day I would give him the silent treatment and a deadly stare. On a bad day it might be much worse.
But what if instead he simply started treating me like the queen he knows I am inside? Like the queen he saw me as when we were dating? Before he saw me wake up cranky in the mornings, hair askew and makeup smudged? Before I huffed over a messy house and complained about his long work days? If he treated me and spoke to me like a queen, it wouldn't take long before I developed the confidence of royalty.
And so, how can I help him "be the king I know he is, the king I see inside?" Treat him as if he were already that king outwardly. Honour the work he does. Praise and support the decisions he does make. Offer help to make combined family improvements. If I have lost view of the vision of the king I saw all those years ago, then the fault is lying in my own vision. Because let's be honest: he wasn't perfect back then either. I just saw him through rose-coloured glasses. And that wasn't a bad thing. It was a necessary part of helping him feel he had unlimited potential. Once we start doing this, I have a feeling we will see that king inside emerge in ways beyond our imagination.