My husband isn’t trained to pause his video game and come downstairs to greet me when I get home after a long day.
My husband isn’t trained to take out the trash.
My husband isn’t trained to put his dishes in the dishwasher and set it to run.
My husband isn’t trained to pray with me or pray for me.
My husband isn’t trained to show up on time, do the laundry, make his lunch, or call me on his way home from work.
My husband simply isn’t trained.
Though he isn’t ‘trained’, he does all of the above – and so much more – on a regular basis. He doesn’t do those things because he’s trained to do so or because I’ve “whipped him into shape”. He does those things because he loves and respects me.
Similarly, I don’t clean the kitchen, cook dinner, make the bed or do the laundry because he’s trained me to do so. Doing those things – or not doing those things – doesn’t make me a good or bad wife in his eyes. I do those things because I love and respect my husband, and because I have genuine desire to serve him (as he does for me).
Sometimes people joke about having their husband or wife ‘trained’ – trained to cook, clean, be kind, supportive, what have you – but the joke really isn’t funny when you look at it. It is actually degrading. Is my husband so weak of mind and/or will that I have to train him – like an animal – to behave? To do things around the house? Is he so careless, unloving and lazy that I must whip him into shape? Not at all. Marriage isn’t based on how well one spouse trains the other, it is based on mutual love and respect. In fact, those things (love and honor) are right there in the marriage vows. Training one another, on the other hand, is no where near the marriage vows.
The risk that we run by perpetuating such jokes is that, over time, we’ll begin to believe that we can and perhaps even should train our spouse. I don’t exactly want my husband out there someday bragging to the guys about how well he’s got me trained. Whether I hear about it or not, such language isn’t the type to build me or our marriage up. Implying or flat out saying that we’ve trained our spouse doesn’t instill confidence, but rather a sense of power and authority over the other. While the joke may seem harmless, ask yourself if you’d want your spouse (or even your kids) telling other people how well they’ve got you trained. If it were me, I’d rather my husband brag about the wonderful things I do with and for him, rather than how he’s properly trained that little lady of his to be at his beck and call. Wouldn’t you say the same?