We all know marriage is hard.
It does not take us long to learn as newlyweds that sometimes marriage is not all we expected.
In fact, sometimes it is our expectations that make it even harder.
In my marriage, I have learned over the years that my response is EVERYTHING.
I can respond or react. And in my early years of marriage, I did a lot of reacting. Unhealthy reacting.
Now, I know that responding is much healthier.
I am always learning how I can grow in my marriage. It is a day to day, hour to hour job to connect and stay close to my spouse. Especially when I have 5 little people vying for my attention.
As a part of My Homemaking Mentor, I loved listening to Jolene Engle’s heart. She is the woman behind JoleneEngle.com: Leading Women and Wives Closer to Christ.
This is what I learned. There are 4 ways I can respond when I am disappointed or hurt by my spouse.
#1 Fight Back, Explode
I have done this one way too many times. Maybe it was the tone or the day I had, but exploding sometimes just feels good.
There is always the option to fight back and explode. But at the end of the day, where does that leave me?
Is it biblical? Is it bringing me closer to Christ and my spouse? No and no.
Fighting back and exploding is not the answer.
#2 Flight, Stuff Feelings
Instead of fighting, I leave. The opposite of the fight and flight response is the flight portion.
I just leave and stuff it all down. I try to be the bigger person and just leave it alone.
However, not dealing with the situation is just going to cause me to explode one day down the road.
#3 Expect Him to Read My Mind
Maybe instead of taking the fight or flight option, I expect him to just read my mind.
I don’t share my needs, goals, heart, or disappointments.
I expect him to know when I need space or a hug or just an ear to listen.
This is an unrealistic expectation of anyone, especially my husband.
Yet, time and time again, I have found myself expecting my mind to be read and my needs to be met without ever saying a word.
#4 Share My Heart
And the final option, and the one that makes the most sense, is doing what takes the most risk: sharing my heart.
Of course, this is the option that is the most scary.
Men can sometimes come across as harsh. Trust can be broken.
When I feel like trust is broken by angry or empty words, I have step back and make sure that I am being trustworthy with his heart. It is important to be the one to step up first so he can trust you with his heart.
One of the best ways to do this is to communicate my needs. This helps men to understand women.
Which One Sounds Like You?
Personally, I have tried them all. And many times on different ocassions.
But I have learned that it is helpful to recognize what I am doing in my marriage.
There are times where I have stuffed my feelings down. Once I recognized this, I was able to share my heart with my husband.
There have been times when I exploded, and always regretted it later.
It is important to remember that it is never too late to ask for forgiveness, especially if it means making your marriage stronger.
Where Should You Go From Here?
Share one part of your heart.
Tell them one thing that you need.
Then, step back and see what happens.
Another aspect of marriage that is important to remember is respect. Your husband speaks the language of respect.
Anytime that you can sincerely compliment him or remind him of your thankfulness for him, it shows him that you respect him. Find ways to respect your husband in ways that matter to him.
It is also good to make sure you are respecting him in your heart. While I am called to manage my home, my husband is the head of the home.
Do I respect his place in my heart, not just out loud?
The Power of Prayer
Even though it sounds cliche, power is where the work is done.
No one can change your husband or his heart. Only God can do that.
Leave it in the hands of God, and you will be amazed at the burden lifted.
Need a little help with praying for your husband?
Here is one of my favorite 31-day prayer challenges for wives: CLICK HERE