Several other husbands have answered these questions for me in the past few weeks. (Post 1, Post 2, Post 3) But I appreciate each husband’s answers. I think we can learn something new from hearing different men’s perspectives. A huge thank you to this husband for sharing with us!
1. How affected are you by your wife’s emotions (good and bad)?
A lot. If she is happy and cheerful it makes me happier too. I delight doing things to make her happy. If she is down, stressed, upset feeling ill etc. I find myself wishing I had the power to clear all those things away so she can be cheerful again. My protective instincts extend into the emotional side of things.
2 . How important is your wife’s happiness is to you when you feel respected vs. disrespected?
If I feel disrespected by her, I’m not really going to be paying much attention to her happiness, I’ll be focused on dealing with the negative impact of feeling disrespected and I won’t feel motivated to do something nice for her.
3. How difficult is it to put your emotions in words? Do you need time to be able to do this, or can you talk about emotions immediately during the conflict?
I need time. It’s kind of like being in a dark room with a statue, and you know it’s there but you don’t know what it is and you need time to run your hands over it and get the shape of it. Once you figure out what it is then the lights come on.
4. What makes you feel emotionally safe or unsafe with your wife?
Acceptance, empathy, understanding, her coming to my defense, those make me feel safe. Being judgemental, demanding, critical, disrespectful make me feel unsafe.
5. How easily can a wife wound her husband with angry/hateful/disrespectful words?
Very, one sentence can keep me up all night, too angry or hurt to sleep. I have no defence against her, she is already past all my walls.
6. Is there a dark side to your emotions that you don’t share with anyone, not even your wife, to protect her? Would you be willing to describe a bit about this, please?
Yes. When she hurts or angers me I often go silent because I know if I tried to speak while feeling that way I would say some very cruel things that I would deeply regret later. The thought of what may happen to me if I ever lost her makes me seriously concerned that I would become self destructive in some way.
7. How would it affect your communication with your wife if you knew that your wife would be on your team and support you even if you were honest about your negative emotions and feelings?
I think it would have to be more than just ‘on my team’ for me to feel safe talking about those things. I know she is committed to our marriage, but I want her respect and deep admiration, not just loyalty to a promise made years ago. I would have to feel confident that I would not lose any respect or that she would think any less of me.