~ By Dixie Andelin Forsyth
Some students of Fascinating Womanhood seem to become uncomfortable when they get to the chapter on childlikeness. Without really understanding it, they sometimes mistakenly perceive it to be childish at best and embarrassing and ineffective at worst. They don’t comprehend the power of it. The truth is, childlikeness is a very important skill that you can develop. It is charming and fascinating. It will not only get you through some of life’s daily annoyances and hurt feelings, it can actually deepen your relationship without causing more tension. It’s truly amazing. Let’s put it into a bit of perspective.
I recently came across an article that said, “How you fight as a couple reveals a lot about your relationship—see what yours says.” The article suggested that couples fight in one of 5 ways:
1. You’re both passive aggressive.
2. Your fights are explosive and volatile.
3. One of you doesn’t want to hear it. (One of the partners refuses to deal with the negative feelings of the other).
4. You don’t ever fight. (This one suggests you are burying a lot of feelings—not that there is no conflict).
5. Your fights are civil and end resolved.
At the end of each of the styles of fighting the author suggests a way to fix it. Number 5, of course, is the most mature and responsible way of dealing with negative feelings and suggests that you respect what the other has to say, regardless of whether you agree or not. What’s wrong with this? Nothing. But—
Fascinating Womanhood offers us an additional way to deal with these all too common occurrences with an approach that doesn’t just deal with and then resolve hurt feelings, but can actually strengthen your marriage while adding amusement and tenderness. In addition, it’s fun and diffuses animosity in a charming way.
“Fights” are almost always based in misunderstanding and the frailties of being human. In other words, they are the result of the insensitive and inconsiderate behavior by someone whose intent is not really to harm you. Instead, it’s a consequence of selfish or thoughtless actions or words.
What is childlikeness? It’s a way of responding to another person, particularly our husbands or potential husbands. It borrows the charm and innocence of a child that is devoid of sarcasm, bitterness or hate—yet gets the message across.
One example was a man who woke up grumpy and took it out on his wife. She responded with, “You mean thing. I’m going to burn your pancakes if you aren’t nice to me”.
Another example of a childlike response to an insensitive or rude comment a husband might make about the tough pork chops his wife just served him could be, “How could you be so mean to me? I only made these old pork chops because I thought you liked them”. There are endless responses to endless thoughtless behaviors.
Of course, the way these responses are said makes a difference too. Childlikeness is mostly pretense, not real anger. You recognize that he is just taking you for granted or taking something out on you, not thinking about what he says.
Never use words that belittle his masculinity such as calling him “stupid, ugly, dumb, etc.” Words that compliment his maleness work best and might include: “You brute”, or “You big meanie” and other phrases that make him seem bigger than he already is. Exaggerate by saying things like “I’ll never speak to you again” or “How could you be so mean to a poor little girl like me?”
Sometimes women look at their husbands from under lowered lashes after they’ve delivered their childlike line just to see his response, then huff out of the room when they see an amused expression on his face.
Some women have told me they are so scared of trying childlikeness for the first time, they practice beforehand. But that’s perfectly okay. I’ve heard many women say, once they got the hang of it, they almost look forward to their husbands being thoughtless again so they can deliver another childlike response and see the amusement and then tender comeback from their husbands.
Study childlikeness. Practice childlikeness. It’s an amazing part of Fascinating Womanhood and can not only diffuse those many situations that result in human thoughtlessness, but can deepen and strengthen your marriage.
*Word of caution: Childlikeness is not for situations where deep hurt has occurred such as if you just found out he has cheated on you or has seriously abused you.