This weekend, after I spoke to a group of ladies on my ‘Control Girl‘ topic, a very sweet young mom came up to me and said, “I don’t think I’m very controlling, but sometimes my husband calls me the ‘white mantis’…”
Apparently the female white mantis has a reputation for biting off the head of the male, so I don’t think the nickname is intended as a compliment.
She confessed that just that morning, she had been a little… ahem… ‘mantis-ish’. The night before she had asked her husband to do some laundry and clean up the kitchen. She was scheduled to work until 11 that night, and then afterward, she needed to pick up some things from the grocery store (for the morning brunch, which I spoke at). So she had asked him to help.
But when she woke up early the next morning and found these things to be undone, she went to find her sleeping husband and ask him about it. (And I’m assuming her tone was not quite cheerful.) He said that he was sorry–he hadn’t gotten those things done because he was outside late, playing catch with their son.
And this is where she went ‘all mantis’ on him. She said something to the effect of: “I told you, Keegan has a game! And I have to get this food to church! So, now I have to go dig through the laundry to find his uniform, which he will have to wear dirty…” You get the ‘white manis’ picture, right?
By the time she was confessing all of this to me, we were at church, where women are usually smiling sweetly, instead of doing the white mantis thing. (We save this behavior for home. Aren’t our husband lucky?) But not only was she calm; she was also reflective. She told me what a great dad her husband is. She said that she’s so thankful that he spends time with their kids. And how–in the big picture of life–clean kitchens and uniforms won’t matter, but relationships with our kids… and our husbands… will. These were the gracious words she wished she had spoken that morning; instead of the biting ones.
As wives, we have the option of biting our husbands’ heads off on a regular basis. But this ‘mantis’ behavior will absolutely eat away at the strength of our marriages. What if we chose gracious words instead?