By Rob Furlong
Regular viewers of The Big Bang Theory sympathise with the character of Howard who in his 30s still lives at home with his mother (who is only heard, never seen) and constantly contends with her unreasonable demands and put downs — it does not make for a happy relationship!
The mothering relationship is vital for our development into mature adults and authors Henry Cloud and John Townsend have identified two specific areas that are crucial to our growth:
1. How we were “mothered.”
2. Our response to that process.
Within that framework there will occur a breadth of issues that shape the way in which we relate to others and also the expectations that we have from our significant relationships. In short, the healthier our “mothering” was the healthier we will be as people.
One of the things I have noticed over the years that aids the mothering process greatly is the way in which the husband and father of the home treats his wife. Misogyny has been a widely used and abused term in our society in recent times, but it is fair to say that a general undercurrent of viewing women as second rate has been prevalent in Australia.
So it is helpful to consider for a moment what God says in the Bible about women. We do know that He created “…human beings in (His own) image…male and female He created them…” What this says is that men and women both fully reflect the full image of God as well as the various characteristics of God.
Centuries later King Lemuel would say that a man who marries “…a virtuous and capable wife…” is both blessed and enriched by her presence in his life. Incidentally, the term he uses here to describe this type of woman is the feminine equivalent of the Hebrew term for a mighty man of valour! He is clearly describing a woman of true worth and honour; a woman who is in a class of her own.
Further down the track the Apostle Peter has some sage advice for husbands when he instructs them to seek to honour and understand their wives because “…she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life…”
It is not my intent to ignite the gender debate through this column nor am I seeking to push a wheelbarrow. What I really want to do is to challenge us as men to stand up and be counted and to honour the women in our lives — our wives, our Mums, our sisters and our daughters — and to give them all the love and respect that God intends for them.
Mothers Day is a great place to begin but it must not end there. I remember listening to an elderly lady some years ago who was asked if she thought that Mothers Day was a bit of a joke; the interviewer was implying that the family only took notice of her for this one special day and then went back to their lives. The old lady’s response was marvellous. “Oh, I think they know I am worth more than that!” she said, with a twinkle in her eye. What a wonderful answer — it said much about her own self worth…and about her family!
Mothers Day is an excellent opportunity for us to stop and to both honour and give thanks for the women in our lives. It will be (for most) a time of laughter, love and celebration. But let us all endeavour to make sure that the celebration lasts all year around — our society will only benefit by such a distinctly different approach to life!