For those wives who have passive, unplugged husbands – it can be really difficult for us to understand what is going on in our shut-down husbands’ hearts. I greatly misunderstood Greg for so many years because he didn’t tell me what he thought – so, I ended up making a lot of really horrible and extremely inaccurate assumptions.
Today’s post is by a Christian husband – I appreciate his willingness to articulate his perspective. Husbands have feelings and emotions, too – even if they don’t verbalize them to us. They can be DEEPLY wounded and never say a word. That is what Greg did. He just went into his self-preservation mode and shut down to protect himself and never told me how much I hurt him with my disrespect and control for all those years. He knew I was not a safe place for him to share his heart. 🙁
Please prayerfully consider whether your husband may feel like this husband and see what God may desire to change in your heart and in your marriage for his glory. (This post is primarily about Type-A, take-charge, wives with strong personalities. This is not a post for wives who are afraid to speak their minds or share their thoughts or feelings and it is not for wives who are abused. The dynamics for a more passive wife/dominating husband or an abused wife/abusive husband are very different from what is described here. If anyone is not safe in his/her marriage, please seek appropriate help right away!)
Thank you for this post (Nikka’s 3rd Heartbreaking Interview with Her Husband). I can identify with Dong’s thoughts and feelings.
- My wife’s domineering nature sucks the life from me emotionally, spiritually, socially, intellectually and physically.
Emotionally she drains my by communicating to me both verbally and non-verbally that my feelings are wrong. The constant battle of having to prove that what I am feeling is legitimate just wears me down. As a result, I am very hesitant to share my emotions with her.
Spiritually, she communicates to me that her ways are the right ways and that my perspective on spiritual truth and walking with the Lord is wrong or lacking. She devalues my relationship with the Lord because I experience Him through the Word. She values prayer and the gifts of the Spirit more. She doesn’t see it as me being different from her but that I am wrong. I get spiritual life from personal study of the word, smaller group discussions, accountability and prayer. She gets life from large worship services and through worship music. Again, she communicates that her way is superior to mine.
Socially, the strain of the regular conflict drains me. As an introvert, when I am drained, I need time alone to recharge. I don’t have the emotional energy to invest in relationships that I used to have. There have been numerous times where she has emotionally beat me up on the way to a gathering so that by the time we arrive, I am drained and need to recharge. She then puts me down for being withdrawn at these gatherings.
Intellectually, I am an idea person. These could be on how to do things better or be more efficient. Other times they are on how to solve problems. I also have ideas about the Lord and ministry. Yet, whenever I share them with her she pushes back and takes them apart as being wrong or unrealistic. This just shuts me down because it has communicated to me over the years that I am stupid and should keep them to myself.
All of this drain on my soul has affected me physically too.
The constant message I hear is to be quiet and don’t embarrass her.
The cumulative effect of 20 plus years of being controlled and opposed is that her voice is constantly in my head accusing and condemning me. It causes me to second guess everything I do and to be very tentative on making decisions. I am always concerned about her reactions and having to explain myself. This makes it difficult to enjoy many things in life because her voice is there in my head questioning my actions, interactions, feelings and motives.
The good news is that I can see how the Lord has been working in her life for the past 20 years to open her eyes and address her sin. Over the past couple of years, I think she is starting to see her sin and address it. We still have a long way to go. She still doesn’t feel safe to me but there is an inkling of change.
From this same husband, “My Wife Would Bless Me If…”
Greg told me that when I stopped all the negativity:
- telling him what to do
- treating him like he was a child
- taking over and doing things for him
- freaking out
- using an angry mama tone of voice
… it was like someone turned off the “static on the speaker with God’s voice in my heart.”
And, Greg said, when I began to do the positive things:
- waiting patiently
- honoring his leadership
- listening to him
- caring about his opinion and perspective
- allowing him space to be different from me and to be a man
- appreciating his masculinity instead of condemning him
- respecting him
… it was like someone put “an amplifier on the speaker with God’s voice in my heart.”
THIS is why God commands us to win our husbands without words. We don’t force them to change with our words. When we attempt to verbally force our husbands to do what we want, we can unknowingly cause a lot of destruction. Instead, let’s inspire them by our example and the love, joy and peace of God in our hearts. How I pray we might live in the power of God’s Spirit and learn to use our incredibly strong influence, our words, our attitudes and our actions to bless, build up and encourage our husbands for God’s glory!