Many of us have experienced something like this with our men – “Things seemed to be going great! My husband was talking, calling or texting with me when, seemingly out of nowhere, he storms out of the room or hangs up on me.”
WHAT ON EARTH JUST HAPPENED?
WHAT WE USUALLY DO
Most wives panic and begin trying to re-establish communication immediately. They follow their husband out the door, demanding that he stop and finish the conversation. Or they call or text frequently, ask lots of questions, beg to try to resolve the problem.
Women use words to fix relationship problems. The more words, the better, right!?! We don’t realize that words don’t do much for men. Actually – sometimes more words can make things a lot worse for men. Sadly, our intuition tells us to TALK to him right away to try to explain and fix things – and that is the opposite of what a man usually needs in a situation like this. That is what a wife often needs, but husbands are VERY DIFFERENT FROM US!
When a husband suddenly shuts down, leaves, hangs up – or explodes with anger out of “nowhere,” there is a REALLY good chance that he is feeling disrespected. Of course, there are other possibilities, but this is one that is worth thinking about first.
WOMEN DON’T ALWAYS NOTICE OUR INADVERTANT DISRESPECT – BUT IT REPELS MEN
It could be something very seemingly “minor,” from a woman’s perspective:
- You used an “angry mother” tone of voice
- You tried to have “the talk” with him about where the marriage “is going.”
- You tried to make him to talk about emotions. If he is not ready, this will almost always push him away.
- You told him what to do – implying to him that he was inept, incapable, and unable to figure things out for himself. Men REALLY value figuring things out on their own. Men don’t offer unsolicited advice to other men. That is disrespectful in a man’s world.
- You tried to FORCE your own plans or your way on him. Men will resist when they feel controlled.
- You insulted him in front of other people. THIS REALLY, REALLY hurts men. Please DO NOT EVER criticize your husband or “tease” him by bringing up his weaknesses in front of others!! There is almost nothing that would hurt a husband more than being publicly humiliated by his wife. Be extremely careful only to share positive things about him with your family, friends, coworkers, children and on FB.
- You were critical about his dreams, his goals, his career, his sexual abilities, his parenting abilities or something deep-seated in his manhood.
- You took over and tried to lead in the relationship. God purposely made husbands the spiritual authority in marriage. When we try to usurp control, we usually create a lot of very difficult problems. (Biblical Submission)
- You expected him to think, act and have needs like a woman and didn’t understand his masculine needs.
WHAT DO I DO NOW?
If your husband just quit speaking with you or left the room, or the house – the best thing to do is going to be exactly the thing you don’t want to do -
Let him have some time.
DO NOT FOLLOW, CALL OR TEXT HIM!
Do not pursue him.
If you initiate contact right now, it will feel even more intrusive, smothering and disrespectful to him. Most likely, if you give him some time, he will probably approach you again when he is ready.
- He may need time to process something in his mind, and if you call a lot and pressure him, it is going to make things much worse.
If you realize what you did specifically that was disrespectful, it may be a good idea to pray about if you should BRIEFLY apologize to him about your disrespect. When I say briefly, I mean VERY BRIEFLY. Men are usually not affected by words like women are! He does NOT want a big, emotional, detailed explanation. That will push him further away. Sometimes it’s best to wait till he contacts you. Sometimes you may need to email an apology. That will have to be a Holy Spirit-led thing.
WHAT IS HAPPENING?
Most likely, his blood pressure was going up and he was afraid he was about to lose control of his words or his temper. He is probably trying to protect you from his own anger by doing the honorable thing and walking out instead of staying to fight. Many men feel that if they don’t leave when they are getting extremely angry, they may say or do things they will regret. They ay need time to cool off before they do something terrible.
If you follow him or try to contact him and make him talk – that is inviting a conflict or confrontation, maybe even a physical fight.
Please, DO NOT DO THAT!!!!!! This is why I am saying that he needs some time and space.
You could say or email something like, “I see that I came across very disrespectfully to you just now. I am SO sorry. I was wrong to do that to you.” If you don’t believe you have done anything disrespectful – then it may be something that is going on with him that doesn’t have anything to do with you – or it may be some type of disrespect that you are unaware of.
And then, do not contact him again.
LET HIM CONTACT YOU!!!!!!!! If you try to make him come back to you, you’ll push him away! But if you let him think about your apology, and how wonderful you are - if you can be patient enough to give him the gift of missing you – he will probably eventually come back to you! When HE is ready.
IN THE MEANTIME
- Pray and spend time with God first.
- Get things done that you need to do.
- Spend time with a godly mentoring wife or godly friends who are willing to point you to Christ and His Word.
- Enjoy your children.
- Pray for your husband to find God’s will and to draw near to God.
- Cultivate a spirit of gratitude and joy – thanking God for every blessing He has given to you.
This is a situation where we trust in God’s sovereignty to work out things for our best interests and we don’t try to be the Holy Spirit or try to be sovereign ourselves. That would only make things worse and make it harder for our men to hear God’s voice!
This is a time that you learn to wait on God and see how He works things out. Waiting on God is a REALLY critical skill. It’s VERY DIFFICULT TO DO at first, but it is worth it!
WHEN HE CONTACTS YOU AGAIN – My Suggestions:
- Be friendly, pleasant and polite. Apologize humbly if you did something offensive to him – without justifying what you did or explaining why you did it.
- Do not demand a big explanation of where he went and why right now.
- Listen attentively to what he wants to say. If he is upset about something you did, listen and don’t defend yourself. Apologize if you were wrong.
- If he does not bring up his issue, eventually it may be wise to say, “Did I do something that felt disrespectful to you, Honey?” and then listen carefully.
He will probably eventually bring up what the problem was. Or it could be that he was feeling disrespected but can’t verbalize his feelings.
**** If there is MAJOR sin or extremely serious problems in your marriage, you may need some godly counsel from a mentor/Christian counselor/older Christian woman/godly pastor. Please seek help if there is physical violence, an uncontrolled mental health issue, a major addiction, infidelity, etc… Those things require much more specialized help than I can possibly address in a general post on marriage. Please find godly help ASAP!
Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk RIGHT NOW about His Feelings Probably Won’t Work
Understanding a Passive Husband’s Mindset – an Interview with My Husband
Why Men Sometimes Need Space a 6 minute Youtube video (my channel is “April Cassidy”)