Maybe I just have a warped sense of masculinity, or perhaps I have too much free time on my hands for thinking about gnats in eyes and all things irrelevant, but it sends a creepy fingernails-on-chalkboard tingle down my spine to hear women call their husbands sweet. We've all read the blogs with something like this in the bio, or seen e-mail signature lines proclaiming it - they're everywhere:
"I am a mother of three and wife to the bestest and sweetest hubby in the whole world!"
I am almost sure, if this were real life, that her next move would be to start coochie-cooing under his chin and making lipstick marks on his cheek. Now, we have all seen this process happen with Barney Fife, and as amusing as it was to watch on The Andy Griffith Show, (and as apparently effective as it was on Old Barney), it just isn't good ladies. Barney not being the picture of masculinity, we wouldn't want to use him as an example of what to do with real-life, real-men
I recognize that this is purely opinion, but I also suspect that, in a moment that includes no fear of repercussion in the form of wifely pouting, most husbands would agree that they do not appreciate being called sweet. Praise, appreciation, encouragement and affirmation... are all good and necessary. Done properly it can truly minister to a man, and they need this type of ministry from their wives above all people. I am not arguing the principle, just the method.
Especially these days, our culture is female dominated. Everything is focused on the woman in a relationship. When the relationship is faltering the perception and, indeed, proclamation is that it is because he doesn't communicate enough, he isn't loving enough, or he isn't meeting her needs. It it enough to make me sick on behalf of husbands in this country. For just once, in at least this once instance, girls, can we care about their side? (Yikes... I was trying so hard to make this a cute post.) I'm not busting anyone's chops, I just want to encourage us to think about our words, and realize that the wrong ones can be not just ineffective, but deleterious to our man's self image.
If we desire to compliment our husbands let's do it in a way that will actually touch his heart, not make him roll his eyes. You know how your older sons behave when you tell them they are "so cute" or "such a sweet boy"? Their opinions of such "compliments" do not change as they get older, they are just more subdued in their response. A word fitly spoken that honors his masculinity (and I'm not just talking muscles here) can be balm to his soul. Especially when it comes from his wife.
So, please compliment your husband. Respect him! Encourage him! Admire him! But whatever you do... please don't call him sweet.
Proverbs 25:11 "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."