From my dear sister in Christ, a Fellow Wife (this post is probably going to be most relatable to wives who were very controlling and outspoken whose husbands were more passive):
I have to share part of a conversation my husband and I had last night. He had made a comment earlier in the day that he wished I had listened to him and went to the Dr. sooner for my pain. I told him I didn’t remember him telling me to go. I remembered him mentioning it but not exactly telling me to go. I told him that I took that as a suggestion… you know, like when I say, “Maybe some Tylenol would help your headache” or “Maybe those socks would feel better with those shoes.”
He said, “Honey, what you take as suggestions from me are really directions I intend for you to listen to.”
I was surprised at this…. I have been happily listening to him when he told me something DIRECTLY. I have listened for his instructions willingly and happily and tried my best to follow them. But a lot of things I haven’t listened to – I have thought over them as I do any suggestion but not listened to because I didn’t understand they were direct instructions that were veiled as what sounded like a suggestion to me.
He gave me another example:
He said that when he suggests that maybe I should come home and go back to bed after taking the kids to school (which he only does rarely- maybe once every couple of months and usually when he notices I am exhausted in the morning) that he really means that. It isn’t a suggestion… I have heard him say that in the past and would say, “I would love to but I need to clean” or “I have work to do”.
I just thought I would share this with you. If it was news to me, I thought it might be news for other wives?
What an important conversation! I am so glad a Fellow Wife shared that with us. Greg and I went on a long walk that night and I asked him about this issue. I realized, “Hmm! I might have a problem here, too!” I told him I try very much to honor anything he asks me to do, but I wondered if I might be missing some things he really intends for me to do because lots of times, what I hear are “suggestions” not “directives.” I shared with him that I would love any directives he thinks would be appropriate. I am completely open to any way he wants to lead me that he believes is right.
Greg thought about it for a bit and then told me,
“I think that when a man has been passive for a long time, he probably is more likely to communicate with suggestions rather than directives.”
Interestingly, in the past week, Greg has been giving me, our children and even people at work more directives and has been stating his ideas, perspective and desires more assertively. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!! He is not harsh, abrasive or aggressive about it. But I can just see him standing even taller. It is a blessing to me when he shares his perspective and his heart with me. I WANT to know what he wants and what he thinks. It is much easier for me to understand when he shares what he would like. I also appreciate suggestions, too. And I greatly appreciate his trust in me to make many decisions for myself. But I love it when he directly states his mind. It leaves no room for doubt or confusion in my mind. I am a pretty awful mind reader – so I appreciate direct, honest, loving, gentle, firm, kind, truthful communication from my husband.
I personally do better if things are written down. Sometimes I can forget verbal suggestions or instructions. I often have to immediately write things down so that I don’t miss anything important and can remember to carry out whatever the task might be. Thankfully, Greg is very understanding of this and lovingly reminds me of things so that I don’t forget – which I appreciate so much! My memory is often not so sharp.
This past week, Greg has been more direct in telling me that he wants me to be with him more, that he wants more of my time and attention (WOOHOO!), what he wants the children to do, etc… He has been more firm about the children obeying quickly – which I love. It’s amazing to watch as God grows my husband into a stronger and more godly leader who knows how to use his God-given authority for the good, blessing, benefit and well-being of our family.
It has been 5 years and 4 months since the beginning of this journey. We are both still learning and have MUCH, MUCH more to learn. But it is exciting to get to walk this road together as a team and to watch God molding my wonderful man into the man He desires him to be. I feel like I am the most blessed woman on the planet to have this chance to learn to do marriage God’s way and to experience God’s power, love, peace and joy every single day.
I wonder if your husband might be saying things that you think are suggestions or just his opinion – when, perhaps he is actually trying to communicate something he really wants you to do that is important to him?
I wonder if some of you might like to talk with your husbands about this (when he is in a good mood and not busy) and let us know how the conversation goes?
And, husbands, you are welcome to share your perspective here. We appreciate your masculine insights so very much!