This is a guest post by my precious sister in the Lord at www.thegoodwife121.blogspot.ca.
THE STRAIGHT PATH
“Do you have any free time this evening?” I asked Husband, a couple of days ago.
“Yeah, I think so..” He responded offhandedly. “Why?”
“Because I’d like to talk.”
“…talk? Talk about what?”
I already could hear the hesitation in his voice, he had been married to me long enough that when I asked to “talk” he knew I wasn’t wanting to discuss the weather.
“I’d rather not get into it right now, but maybe when the baby’s asleep?” I asked, avoiding his question.
Husband agreed, but I could read all sorts of emotions on his face, and I couldn’t blame him. He was trying to mentally prepare himself for this ‘talk’ and had no idea what he was going up against. Was it going to be a grievance? A confession? A problem?
(From Peacefulwife – these words invoke SERIOUS DREAD into most husband’s hearts! They can be some of the scariest words most husbands hear!)
Needless to say, as soon as the baby was in bed, Husband was by my side wanting to know (or get it over with) our talk.
There were three things I wanted to discuss:
- His resentment
- Our therapist
- Our prayer life
We both knew at this point that resentment was the main underlying issue in our marriage, and when the therapist asked him how he was on a scale from 1-10 (ten being the highest) on how resentful he was 2 months ago, he said without thinking: “10”.
Then she asked where he was now. This he had to think about for a bit before saying: “7-8”.
That actually hurt me more – I was really hoping that it wasn’t that high, but once I had found a chance to think about it, it was progress, so I should be realizing this as good news, instead of feeling discouraged that things weren’t ‘clipping’ along at the pace I wanted.
Having a spouse resent you is such a difficult emotion to process. I’ve found myself feeling very helpless to ‘fix’ anything. This is something he needs to work through and let go of himself.
I don’t believe that I carry around much resentment for my Husband, and so I have a hard time understand his inability to just “let it go”. A fact that I’m ashamed to say, has even caused me to speak those words in anger towards him.
One of the things I am learning is that resentment, in our case, was built over time through actions and dirty fighting.
I am a dirty fighter, I fight to win and I have a very quick and sharp tongue.
Husband is a slow processor, it’s just his personality and he has always been this way; so when we get into an argument, before he’s even had the chance to respond to my first attack, I’ve already cut him 5 more times, and he literally just shuts down because he cannot even begin to keep up, or be as nasty as I am. (From PW – this is true for many husbands!)
Learning how to “fight fairly” and to settle a disagreement so “everybody wins” is like learning to speak a new language for me.
Things that I’m being taught have never even occurred to me, I’m finding it quite the learning curve, and just keep praying to remember what I have been taught the next time we get into an argument.
Finally I gently brought up our prayer life.
Husband and I used to pray together when we were first married, then as things started to get worse in our marriage, when Husband was dealing with his depression, he sort of just fell away from God.
It’s not that he stopped believing or even attending church, he just found no comfort in God’s Word and fell into this spiritual melancholy.
This is still an issue for him, so I was hesitant to bring up his spiritual life, very much not wanting to start another argument or have him feel that I’m harping on another issue.
I very gently said that I’d like to start praying together, for our marriage.
He sat for a moment and thought (a habit I really need to learn from him) before telling me that he would be game for that, but he didn’t want to pray aloud. He said he’d prefer it if I did.
Immediately my back went up a little, I wanted him to pray, and I wanted him to pray with me, not just sit there while I prayed.
Almost as quickly, I remembered my pledge to ‘let go’ and told him that I would be happy to pray for both of us, and as long as he was also praying, it didn’t matter if he spoke or not.
Now, I know this altercation doesn’t look like much from the outside – but to me, this little conversation made my spirit glad.
It was seeing my husband opening up to God again, it was me winning my inner battle for control, and together making a teeny, tiny step in the right direction.
So yes, I rejoiced.
We chatted about lighter things for a while, before I glanced up at the clock, it was 10pm and that was as late as I was going to talk.
I get ridiculous the later at night it gets, I become weepy, overemotional and just get myself into the worst situations when I try to talk about deep, personal things with Husband late at night.
So I was watching that clock, making sure that didn’t happen again.
(From Peacefulwife – my husband made a rule many years ago that we can’t have any “deep discussions” after 11:00pm. For this exact same reason! I love how this wife didn’t pressure her husband, but just said what she wanted calmly, and ideally with a friendly, pleasant tone of voice.)
“We should probably wrap this up for the night.” I said, motioning at the clock.
“Yeah, alright….so do you want to pray?”
I sat there for a couple seconds, surprised. I really didn’t expect him to initiate time for prayer, in fact I wasn’t even going to suggest it but Husband obviously felt like it was a good decision.
So we sat together, holding hands and I prayed for us as a couple, our marriage, as individuals and for our child.
It was quick and it was sweet, and at the end of it I felt so much better and so much more hopeful.
We are such a long. long way from a normal marriage, and our issues are big ones that we need to overcome.
But I’m starting to feel so hopeful again.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
~ Proverbs 3:5-6
~ The Good Wife
Ways Husbands Try to Lead that Wives Don’t Often Notice
The Blessing of Having a Husband Who Won’t Pray with His Wife
Exploring the Depths of Bitterness
Why Trying to Pressure Your Man into Talking RIGHT NOW May Not Work
PS – FROM THE PEACEFULWIFE:
My primary target audience is wives who have been dominating, controlling, disrespectful, in charge, strong-willed, overly-responsible and who tend to “run the show.”
That is my background. That is what I have experienced.
Please keep in mind that I do not write for wives in abusive relationships where the husband is extremely controlling or violent. I do not write for wives whose husbands are dealing with severe addictions or where there are uncontrolled mental health problems or where there is active infidelity.
If you have SERIOUS problems in your marriage – if your husband is extremely controlling and manipulative or you are being sexually abused…
My blog is not for you!
I believe that God’s Word is always true.
But I have ZERO experience with these kinds of situations and even if I did have experience, there is no way I could write posts that address problems that severe in a general blog about godly marriage.
My blog is not for everyone. I totally understand that.
If you have severe problems – please find experienced, godly, qualified help!!!