WOMEN ARE ALL ABOUT FEELINGS, LOVE AND WORDS
Women love to talk. We can talk for blissful hours about relationships, emotions, and feelings. We thrive on feelings. We emote. That’s how God made us. It is easy for me to assume that if my husband has painful or negative feelings, then he would talk about them. Why wouldn’t a person talk about his feelings? Talking through feelings is how we feel better! If I am feeling angry or upset, I try to go to the person and make things right. I will tell him/her my feelings and then we can reconcile the relationship. That is the loving thing to do, after all! But that is the way the world looks through the eyes of a woman.
MEN ARE NOT WOMEN!
I get in SERIOUS trouble when I assume that my husbands actions mean the same thing they would mean if I did them. Does that make sense? For example: If I am really quiet and won’t talk to my husband, it probably means I am angry with him. Women tend to interpret silence as anger. But just because my husband is being really quiet – it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s angry with me at all.
If he’s exceptionally quiet and distant for a prolonged period of time - it could mean he’s feeling disrespected by me. Or he could be stressed about work or be dealing with a problem in his mind about how to best remodel the bathroom. Or, he may just be vegging out and relaxing. The point is – I can’t ASSUME what his behavior means. I can ask, “Have I come across disrespectfully, Honey?” or “Is there something I need to apologize for? I didn’t mean to be disrespectful.” And I can apologize if I have. But sometimes a man will be quiet and it doesn’t mean anything dire for his feelings with you or his relationship with you at all!
When we understand better how men think and how different they are from women, we can give them the freedom to be masculine and we can accept them for how they are made. Then they will feel a lot more relaxed and more likely to share their hearts with us!
A WIFE’S ATTEMPT TO RECONCILE OR BE CLOSER TO HER MAN CAN SEEM LIKE AN ALL OUT ASSAULT TO HIM
Men generally do NOT like a lot of emotion – especially NEGATIVE emotion. When a man sees someone coming at him with a LOT of angry emotional words, tears, high volume, intensity and a very angry facial expression – he feels attacked. It’s scary for him. He doesn’t have the immediate access to his feelings that you do as a woman. The two halves of his brain are not as interconnected and he doesn’t connect memories to emotion like we do. He needs TIME to process high emotional content – like maybe 8 hours longer than you need. He may not know how he feels or be able to articulate what he wants to say immediately. That’s ok. Give him time. Let him process. Be patient and let him think through things and don’t demand an answer right away – like I used to do! That doesn’t work!
He may not know that you are just trying to resolve a little issue and do relationship maintenance. To him, it seems like the problem must be HUGE! Even though men LOOK so big and strong and seem durable enough to take a lot of abuse – they have tender feelings and can easily be hurt, too. It’s not that you can’t tell him about your feelings – but for him to be able to be in a loving frame of mind and be able to CARE about your feelings – you’ll need to learn to communicate your emotions so he can hear your heart better.
TONE DOWN THE VOLUME
If a woman can express her emotions and her feelings in a more emotionally even-keeled tone of voice and without the volume, anger, and Niagra Falls of emotional words – her man can hear her heart a lot better. You’ll get MUCH better results with your husband when you
- try to express PAIN instead of ANGER.
- state your feelings simply. “I feel X emotion.” I feel scared. I feel sad. I feel overwhelmed. I feel lonely. I feel angry.
- don’t blame him, assassinate his character, call him names or make him the bad guy - do NOT say things like, “YOU never” “YOU always” “Why would you?” “How could you?” “It’s YOUR fault!” “You made a dumb mistake.” “You can’t get it right.” “That was a stupid decision you made!” “Look what you’ve done!” “I hate you!” “If you were a decent man/husband you’d know to do things right.” “Why can’t you be like Mary’s husband?” “I should never have married you.” THIS WILL MAKE YOUR MAN RUN FOR THE HILLS!!!
- let him be able to be your hero – give him something he can do to fix your pain (listen to you for 10 minutes, hold you, help with a chore, handle the kids’ bedtime that night). He can’t read your mind. He probably wants to help you. You’ll need to gently and respectfully ask for what you need. ONCE.
- thank him for what he’s doing right.
- let him know you are on his team and that you know he’s on yours.
- whisper your hurt feelings instead of shouting them.
- be patient and give him time to think about things.
- keep your words to the point and brief when you are upset.
- THANK HIM for listening to you and tell him how much better that made you feel!
MEN LIVE IN A DIFFERENT REALM – ONE THAT MANY WOMEN HAVE NEVER SEEN OR NOTICED
Men operate on respect not love. When a man is hurt emotionally, he generally will either react with silence or with anger. In a man’s world, when he is offended, he has two choices, generally. He can either fight for his honor or he can put up his defenses quietly and not mention something again. It’s the honorable thing to do. Many times, a man is completely shocked by how viciously his wife verbally attacks him. If he doesn’t want to fight her, he tries to do the honorable thing by dropping the issue and assuming she’ll get over it and things will be better tomorrow. He isn’t trying to be unloving. He’s trying to defend his own honor if he is angry, or he is trying to protect his wife from his anger if he stonewalls. He is also protecting his heart.
It is entirely possible that a wife could devastate her husband with a verbal blow and that he may decide never to share emotionally with her again and she may never know that she did something to hurt him. Men tend to suck it up and handle their responsibilities to work and provide for their families and be the best husbands and fathers they can be and silently endure emotional wounds. This really shocked me!
Sometimes as women, we see our own pain in our marriages so clearly, and we want to tell our husbands about how unloved we feel in an effort to try to reconcile with him and make things right, but our husbands’ pain can easily get left completely out of the picture. We assume he’s fine because he’s quiet about it. This is dangerous! If your husband is not sharing his heart with you, seems angry or very distant – it may be time to ask him if he’s been feeling direspected and apologize. His pain matters, too! Even if he expresses it differently and doesn’t emote and talk about it much!
I pray that You might open our eyes to our husband’s perspective. Let us be sensitive to the pain our men experience when we are disrespectful intentionally or unintentionally. Help us to learn and cling to Your beautiful design for marriage! We need Your Spirit to help us see the truth clearly and to see the things in ourselves that You desire us to change.