A Silent Husband Shares His Heart

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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!)

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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.

RELATED:

From this same husband, “My Wife Would Bless Me If…”

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Greg told me that when I stopped all the negativity:

  • criticizing
  • controlling
  • lecturing
  • telling him what to do
  • treating him like he was a child
  • taking over and doing things for him
  • freaking out
  • worrying
  • using an angry mama tone of voice
  • scowling
  • sighing

… 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:

  • encouraging
  • affirming
  • blessing
  • waiting patiently
  • cooperating
  • 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!

How Do Men Process Emotions?

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We spent some time this past week looking at how several different men think and process problems at work and in their marriages.  I’d love to have even more husbands answer these questions to give us a broader picture.  But I’m so thankful for the men who have been willing to answer these questions for us.  They have given us some really helpful information that I believe will bless and benefit many marriages.  The more we can understand how men think and feel – the more empathy we can have for them and the better equipped we will be to communicate effectively and to love and respect them.

Today I want to begin an emphasis on how men process feelings and emotions (For part 2 ,  part 3 and part 4 click here). Not only do men often need time to think through issues by themselves before they are ready to talk about them with their wives (like we talked about in the last series on how men think), but they also often need time to decide how they feel.  And even when they know how they feel – they may need time to put their feelings into words. 

Men DO have feelings and emotions.  They may not show them to us if they don’t feel safe with us.  But they feel, too.  And they feel just as deeply as we do.

It has to be ok for our men to be men – and for each man to be his own unique self.  If they need time to think and process through issues and emotions, then let’s give them the gift of that time without making a bunch of negative assumptions about them having a  lack of loving intentions.  This need for time doesn’t have anything to do with our husbands’ love for us.  It is just the way they are made. If we can embrace and accept these differences between us – conflicts will be much easier to work through!

FROM A CHRISTIAN HUSBAND

I have a very difficult time explaining my emotions, but there is no doubt I feel the emotions. When my wife is happy I feel like I’m the best husband in the world and doing everything right. When she’s sad I feel like I’ve failed as a husband because my one duty is to make my wife feel happy and loved and cherished and sad or hurt is just the opposite of that.

I’ve had that discussion with my wife many times over the last 2-3 years. Because I’m not able to verbalize how/why I feel things it usually comes out that she says she is not responsible for my happiness. That is 100% true, she is not responsible for my happiness. However her emotional state sets the tone for the relationship. If she’s happy then I’m happy, or I could be sad or angry or whatever based on other parts of my life. When she’s happy I’m free to have my emotions based on what’s going on. When she’s sad I’m sad because I feel as if I’ve messed up.  

I might have just had the best day of my life at work and if she’s sad I already know I’m going to be sad.

My experience has been that women when the sympathize / empathize / discuss problems with other women don’t take on the emotional tone of the women they are talking to they have their own emotions are much more in-tune with them. They can still be happy and feel sorrow for someone they talk to. Men on the other hand when we sympathize with someone tend to take on that emotion as well. When men go to a funeral it could be someone we hardly knew, but a good friend of ours is feeling horrible. We go up and say sorry for your loss or whatever strikes us, and we in turn feel horrible as well. I think it comes back to the fact that men like to solve problems. We know deep down that if you are sad we want to be able to solve that but it’s not up to us to solve it so it makes us sad in response partly because you are sad and partly because we can’t do anything more to help the situation.

As to verbalizing emotions, I can say I rarely do that. For better or worse I’ve learned through life that when I try to say what’s wrong –  because I have a harder time explaining the emotion with words – that it tends to not come out the same as what it feels inside. For example if I’m feeling lonely and disconnected I might appear somewhat down and less talkative than normal.

When my wife would ask what’s wrong I have 2 choices:

1) I can say, “Nothing, just trying to process stuff,” which is usually a lie, but tends to produce results that hurt less even if it doesn’t actually solve the problem.

2) I can try to explain that I’m feeling lonely or disconnected and need some intimate / alone time for the 2 of us to get reconnected. That normally turns into an argument that all I want is sex or I’m too needy.

Because I don’t know how to express the feelings using the right words it’s safer to just stay quiet, but that also means that it will never get better.

We all have different ways to express emotions but it’s learning how those close to you express their emotions that really matters.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE

Let’s allow our husbands’ needs and emotions to be just as important as our needs and our emotions in our marriages.  A healthy marriage is a safe place for BOTH spouses to say how they feel, what they need and to feel heard and significant to the other person.

Other husbands – I would love to hear your take on this issue, too.   Thank you!!!   I think that the more we wives can hear from different husbands, the better we can understand our own husbands.