This is a continuation from a series. You can find Part 1 and Part 2 here. These comments were made by husbands in response to the post “Why Pressuring Your Man to Talk NOW Can Be a Problem” I am so thankful to the men who were willing to take the time to share their thoughts. I know this dialogue will be helpful for so many wives and marriages!
In my experience nothing is so critical it needs to be decided immediately unless it’s a medical emergency or something involving some sort of imminent danger.
As a man I have a gut reaction to almost everything, but that is not a good basis for a decision. I prefer to weigh my gut feelings against the alternatives and what is best for everyone. This can take some time. Making a decision, especially one that the right answer requires sacrifice, is hard.
For example, if a wife refuses her husband it is clearly wrong. However if the husband then cuts himself off emotionally from the wife in retaliation, he is (not) loving her as Christ loved the church. Christian husbands have sinful, selfish desires that we have to master, not only for our own good but for the entire family.
I would suggest that if a husband doesn’t answer right away it should be taken as evidence that he cares enough to not make a rash decision.
I know I don’t mind acting “right now.” Whether that’s an emergency or work, but when there is a problem or a decision to be made I do like to take my time and look at it from many angles, weigh what is best, weigh my motives especially if the talk is about us or me. I want to hear my wife’s heart and mind but am not always ready to respond right away.
I know when I do speak right away, it can cause hard feelings. For some reason, not that anybody is right or wrong, when we are discussing disagreements she can say something and I can say something. But when I say it she feels like I’m telling her she’s wrong whereas I just hear her side of things. I guess what I am saying is, I have to phrase things much more carefully in order to not hurt her feelings and that sometimes takes time for me to come up with those words. In other words, we could say the exact same thing to each other and she comes away crushed and I come away just thinking we haven’t come to agreement yet…so I have to carefully word things. Talks often have more downside than upside due to this and I want to go into it carefully, lovingly and having my homework done.
Also, I’ve learned that if we talk “right now” I’m more excitable or sound more passionate. Now that might sound like a good thing at times but many large men like me no matter how gentle or tender we are (and no matter how our wives know we would never hurt them in a million years) even just a passionate talk can seem dominating, pushy, or bullying no matter what my heart is. My wife knows my heart, but natural instincts sometimes just kick in. I’ve learned with strangers due to my size I can’t look them in the eye too much and must keep my voice low as my size intimidates almost all women and a lot of men…even my wife who knows I care for her more than myself can feel “pushed” no matter my heart if I do not very, very carefully watch my tone, level, and body language.
Anymore we have a level of trust that this is not the case (we both know now that we have the other’s best interest at heart and that we are probably just not understanding each other). When this wasn’t the case, often writing to each helped in place of talking when the topic was particularly deep, hurtful, or important, at least to get the conversation going.
Although it might not sound like it from my post above I process kind of like (the lawyer), and naturally could process things verbally but have found it wasn’t the best way for communication in our marriage. I, too, could overwhelm with words also. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk then. It was just more I wanted to keep my foot out of my mouth (my bad) or protect her feelings/emotions. I found that if I can communicate to her & I have heard what she needed to say and I really cared about it and thought it was important but …well like the Bible says be quick to listen and slow to speak. Also, it made her feel heard, I guess – cause that’s what I do best is solve stuff, not listen. I can be a bull in a china shop so I have to check that instinct and that doesn’t come naturally.
My wife knows her heart and mind also (she believe’s she right) but so do I. So if there is something big we don’t see eye to eye on, before inserting foot in mouth or hurting her I need a little time to process it and make sure I’ve thought (and I hope pray) about it.
So I guess what I am saying is it may seem like we are not talking NOW for selfish reasons…but most of the time it was because I was thinking of her. Because unlike many things in a man’s world, she’s tough, able and wise but also delicate and I can’t charge in & start shooting from the hip and throwing anything in my way out of the way. I can’t just solve it. Often times the journey to the solution or answer was as important as the as solution/answer.