Here is an issue that comes up A LOT!
Many wives email me and are VERY, VERY upset because they email their husbands but then sometimes their husbands don’t email them back. Then the wives feel SO unloved and hurt. They believe that if their husbands loved them, they would ALWAYS immediately write a loving email right back. Some wives are also extremely upset because they actually check their husbands’ email and see that he has seen her email, but when she asks him if he got her email, some husbands will say, “No.”
To a wife, that is a LIE and then she begins to worry that her husband might be lying about other things and the whole situation spirals rapidly out of control.
I used to send my husband multiple LONG emails per day. Before I learned about respect, I would email these long, 2000-3000 word emails about how much I loved him. Then, I would sometimes check my email every 5-15 minutes all day – so excited to see his response. Many times, my husband didn’t reply at all and I was so confused – I knew that I would respond as quickly and lovingly as possible if my husband sent me a loving email, and I believed that he must not love me if he didn’t send me an email back. I assumed evil motives.
By the way – women get an oxytocin “high” when they get love emails, texts or letters – men do not! So that is why we LOVE LOVE LOVE getting loving messages from our men. It makes us feel connected, close and intimate.
Would you like to take a guess when men get their oxytocin high? After sex! Hmmm…. that explains a lot!
When I learned about respect – I switched to sending LONG, LONG emails all about what I respected about my husband. But he STILL often didn’t respond at all. I would be so upset by the time he got home because I kept checking my email all day and he never sent me a thing. I was giving him TONS of RESPECT! And I thought that meant that I would get to feel super loved. By the time my husband would get home, I was a wreck sometimes. I was angry, hurt and felt unloved and sometimes would be in tears. My poor husband was SO CONFUSED! What happened to the wife who sent the big “respectful” email?
WHAT I LEARNED
Bob Grant teaches that “Words are for women.” The opposite is also true – words really aren’t so much for men. They don’t get that oxytocin high from emotional words that we do. It just isn’t on their radar much to send loving emails. But that DOES NOT MEAN that they have evil motives or are unloving! They just show love in other ways – often ways without words.
Would it be awesome if they sent us loving, long, gushy emails? YES YES YES!
Can we ask them to send us emails, in a pleasant, respectful way? YES! (but not in a nagging way)
Can we MAKE them do it? Nope.
Do they still love us if they don’t send many emails? Most of them sure do!
HANDLING THIS UPSETTING SITUATION
We get ourselves into BIG trouble when we take what is actually a very small incident and blow it up into a HUGE, life and death ordeal with awful labels for our men like “liars”. This is a small thing.
Why is he not “telling me the truth?”
Honestly – he doesn’t want to deal with the fall-out and all the drama if he tells you the absolute truth. He is trying not to hurt your feelings and keep himself out of trouble because he knows if he tells you the truth that you will freak out on him. Guys will often do things to avoid drama or a huge emotional, verbal attack on themselves, even if their strategy might not be completely forthcoming. Should they do this? No. They should tell the truth – but it doesn’t seem worth it to them sometimes. That’s not right – but it is the reason why.
Does this mean he is lying to you about other things, too? Not necessarily.
FROM A READER:
To call it out, checking his email to find one thing and then asking him about it when you already have the knowledge is not only setting you and he up for failure but is manipulative and VERY disrespectful and trapping!
A husband is responsible for his actions and accountable to God if he lies to you about something. However, it is not your job to do the investigation and recon work and then set him up to see what he will say. April, I know you have addressed this some before, but due to the content of this post I think it bears repeating…
Respecting him is voicing your thoughts, desires and concerns about emails. It’s not up to you to control him or “make him” tell the truth. Women unfortunately like to manipulate things, circumstances and people to get our way (guilty!). Disrespectful. And as April has said before, it’s a root or heart issue. You can stop the actions but ultimately if you don’t change your mind and heart, your (ugly) truth shines through.
GUYS AND EMAILS
Most men are NOT very verbal – their brains are designed SO differently from ours. They don’t have the same large verbal center that we do, and they don’t have as large of a limbic system that we do (the emotional center of the brain) – and their verbal center and emotions are not nearly as intricately connected as women’s are. In fact, because they don’t have nearly as many connections between the two halves of their brains, it is actually much harder for them to access their emotions. (His Brain, Her Brain Dr. Walt Larimore MD)
It takes them a lot of energy and time to come up with loving, gushy emails – much more than it takes us! They don’t have the need for verbal reassurance of our love. And they don’t understand our need for their reassurance of their love. To them, their love is the same every day – kind of like if you buy a house – you don’t have to ask every day if it’s yours. You bought it, you have the title, or a mortgage. There is no need to get reassurance that the house belongs to you every day (Bob Grant).
HOW I REFRAMED THE SITUATION AND GAVE GRACE
Now I send him some BRIEF emails, usually just a few sentences, maybe a few times per week. And he still doesn’t always reply. But I changed my expectations, and that has made all the difference.
Now I know that he loves me. I know that he isn’t great at telling me he loves me. But I know that his love is constant every day. I rest in that, and I also look at the things he DOES that show his love. He goes to work to provide for us, he sits with us at dinner as a family, he plays with the kids sometimes, he cuddles with me and plays with my hair at night, he listens to me talk sometimes, he hugs me back when I hug him, he loves to delight me and will do almost anything for me if he thinks it might make me happy, he desires me and he protects me from harm.
And I am totally fine. Content even. Joyful. Whether he emails me or not. In fact, my husband probably only emails me if there is an issue to discuss about the schedule or something. Maybe once a week. Usually a sentence or two. And I am fine with that. If he does send me a loving email – I thank him and appreciate what he did as a big gift to me, but if he doesn’t – I am totally unshaken. And I have learned to know his heart and love by the ways he shows love and I can even feel very loved by him even without words.
I understand my husband’s masculinity and motives now and accept him without trying to make him be just like me anymore.
I had to find my acceptance, my worth, my reassurance of love and acceptance in CHRIST alone – regardless of what my husband did or did not do. So – even if my husband DID have unloving motives – I can still be unshaken. But most husbands TRULY have good will and loving motives – they just don’t show love the way we do necessarily.
AN EXAMPLE FROM TODAY
My husband emailed me once today. His email was, “Trash today!”
And I had forgotten the trash! So I thanked him and told him he was the best. He didn’t respond back. Totally fine. This is NOT a big deal. Well… it doesn’t HAVE to be a big deal. We have the choice to make it a huge deal, of course!
You can totally fix this by dropping your expectations of him to act, feel and think like a woman. You can allow him the freedom to be a man and enjoy what he does do and accept when he doesn’t do things that he still loves you and things are ok.
ABOUT THE LYING
My approach is this:
The more you show him respect in a way that actually resonates with him, and the less you freak out, lecture, get super emotional, accuse him of being evil, and become hyper and anxious about his behavior – the more safe he will feel to actually share his true feelings and his true heart with you.
Should he be fudging about things, even small things? No.
Can you control his behavior? No.
But he is afraid of your verbal attack and assault and condemnation, judgment and contempt.
Might he do this with bigger things? Yep. He is a sinner, just like us, after all.
But you can do your part to show him over time that he is safe with you. That there is actually mercy and grace available from you if he does mess up. That you are taking down your sky high expectations of him to act like you and think and feel and talk like you, and that you are giving him the freedom to be himself.
And you can set your heart on Christ, seeking His will first, seeking His glory, seeking to be full of His Spirit, dying to yourself, living for Christ, focusing on obeying Him and abiding in Him and finding your purpose, faith, joy, hope, peace and identity in Him alone.
And when that is all happening, Jesus will empower you to handle whatever your husband does wrong. He will give you the strength. He will give you the wisdom. He will give you the ability to forgive. He will give you the ability to powerfully influence your husband for God.
The more respected your husband feels. The more he sees that you truly put your faith in him, the less he wants to hurt you or disappoint you.
When he gets used to seeing your beautiful smile light up the room every time he walks in the door, and he realizes that you are always happy to see him when he comes home, even if he didn’t answer your email, and that you have a gentle, peaceful spirit that does not give way to hysterical fear, and that you believe the best of him and don’t expect the worst – the more he wants to become a more godly man.
But even if he never changes, you will change, and you will be able to handle being married to a sinner – because of Jesus working in you. You are married to a sinner. And you are a sinner. You will both need A TON of grace, mercy and forgiveness. But you will have plenty to give because you will realize how much vastly more YOU have been forgiven by God. To do this, you will have to really and truly see your own mountain of sin. For me it was pride, unforgiveness, disrespect of my husband, idolatry (putting ideas, feelings, myself, wanting control, my husband, my husband’s behavior) before Christ in my heart… It turns out that I am a completely wretched sinner. I owed Jesus billions of dollars in sin debt, not just a few thousand. So if my husband sins against me $10 or $100, or $1000, I have the grace of Jesus filling me and I can forgive.
He may have to re-establish trust. But I can forgive just about anything with God’s power in me.
Focus on Jesus and on showing your man real respect and stop the disrespect (have you read those two posts at the top of my home page?)
- Thank him when he is honest with you.
- Don’t freak out if he tells you things you don’t want to hear.
- Tell him how much you value his honesty and admire it when you see him doing that.
- Enjoy him.
- Appreciate what he does do
- don’t interrogate him about things
- enjoy the really great emails he DID send you. THANK HIM for that!
ONE WIFE’S RESULTS
A wife and I had this discussion this week – here is what she said later that night:
I did what I told you that I was going to do and what a turn-around in the energy in the house! I re-read his email and he happened to look over at me at the same time and said, “what cha doin’?” so I showed him my phone that had his email on the screen and said, “just re-reading your email that you sent to me… thank you so much for sending me such a sweet message today! I’m very sorry that I got upset earlier”. He smiled and said, “Your welcome, Baby and it’s ok”. A couple of minutes later he sent me another one that simply said “I love you! I’m catching up on some work right now but if you need anything… just whistle.” My heart melted! So after reading that… I let out a soft whistle then puckered up… he smiled again and gave me what I needed, a little kiss! Wasn’t that the sweetest thing ever?!