I don’t remember a time when comfortable flashed to uncomfortable so quickly. My wife and I were enjoying time in our living room one evening, just mindlessly watching TV, when my son walked in. He didn’t walk in alone. He walked in with a can of Pringles. He sat down in one of our chairs, turned toward the TV, popped the top off the Pringles, inserted a large stack of chips into his mouth and began chomping.
I felt "it" like you can feel heat coming off the sidewalk on a hot day. The "it" was my wife’s disapproval. She and I had just had discussions about eating in the living room days earlier. She believed the kids should eat in the kitchen and not in the living room. She was right. I agreed. This is a rule we had put in place long ago, but recent enforcement (from me) had faded. We needed to get back on track. The kids knew our expectations.
She was waiting for me to ask (tell) my son to take his chip party into the kitchen, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it at that moment. I was so pleased that he had freed himself from his Xbox and joined us, that I chose to overlook my wife’s wants. I avoided the conflict of asking my son to move, which made me feel better. My wife slowly stood up and eased out of the room. She wasn’t mad. She was disappointed.
It hit me at that moment that I had blown it. It wasn’t that I had specifically blown enforcement of the eating rule, but that I had communicated to my wife that what my son wanted outweighed the agreement she and I had made. I had also communicated to my son that the rule didn’t apply to him. Also, selfishly, I had also allowed my desire to avoid conflict get the best of me, but that’s probably another blog post.
Since that day, I’ve been better at honoring my agreement with my wife. You see, it’s not all about chip crumbs. It’s about showing my kids that I honor my wife (she’s my kids’ stepmother) and that she and I are unified in our household. My decision to do better is not just for my wife. It’s for my kids. I want the kids to see a model from me that displays honor for my wife so they too will show the same honor for, and expect nothing less from, their future spouses.
Honor your spouse in front of your children. Everyone in your family will benefit.