Solid, identifiable emotions have names like depression, sadness anxiety, or anger. Moods, as I’m referring to them here, are far more difficult to pin down. They are often very hard to recognize, identify, or understand. They can, in fact, seem so nebulous, unexpected, unwarranted, or irrational that many a husband has been reluctant to venture into this unfathomable territory to try and comprehend their cause. But I would like to attempt an explanation of a wife’s moods that may help you gain understanding and —who knows —might even make sense to you.
A Wife’s Moods
First of all, you must keep in mind that there is a process always going on in a woman’s mind and soul, unbeknownst to her unsuspecting husband —and perhaps all others in the vicinity. What is happening is that all her thoughts, fears, hormones, responsibilities, memories of previous offenses, the amount of sleep she got last night, the devil’s plans for her life, her entire past, and how her hair is behaving that day, are simultaneously competing for her attention.
When all these things converge at one moment in time, it can be unbearable. It doesn’t matter what might have been happening just a few moments ago, or the last time you talked with to her. That was then. This is happening now. You may find yourself completely taken by surprise because you were not privy to the process. But don’t feel bad about that, because even your wife herself may not have recognized it.
Try to understand that as a man you have simple, clearly defined needs, such as food, sex, success, appreciation, and recreation. Your wife, on the other hand, is a complex being. Her needs are so intricate that even she is at a loss for words to explain them to you. Only God, her Creator, can fathom it all.
Her cycle of hormones alone is beyond comprehension. A woman can be emotionally sensitive in the days before, during, and after her monthly cycle. That leaves about three days in the middle when she is normal, and on one of those days she is ovulating, so it’s up for grabs how she is going to be that day. So I figure a guys has two good days when it’s safe.
In addition to that, if there is any stress in her life, if her husband is too busy for her, if she is over 30 and feels like life is passing her by before she ever gets to realize her dream, if her kids are small and need her every second, if her kids are grown and don’t need her like they used to, if she is creative and has no way to express it at the moment, if she has gained weight, or if the devil is telling her she has no purpose, then the atmosphere in and around her can be charged with overwhelming frustration. It seems impossible to cope with it all.
If you ever find this phenomenon occurring in your wife, it’s best not to say, “What in the world is the matter with you now?” It’s better to first pray, “Lord, reveal to me what is happening to my wife and show me what I can do about it.” Then say to your wife, “Tell me what’s going on in that pretty head of yours.”
She may not be able to articulate an answer that is remotely understandable to you. But the important thing is that she sees you are listening. If she tells you how horrible she thinks she is and she doesn’t know what you see in her, don’t agree with her. If she says she hasn’t forgotten how you have let her down, don’t deny it. And if she shares with you that she feels like running away or murdering someone, put your arm around her. Say to her, “How can I help you find a more suitable option?”
Give Focused Attention
Then do everything in your power to keep your eyes from glazing over. Don’t glance at your watch or the TV remote. Don’t allow your head to turn back in the direction of the newspaper or whatever project you are working on at the moment. And above all, keep your mind from thinking about the more important things you could be doing. Women have a special ability to spot that from 50 yards away.
Here is some advice that can help you navigate these waters successfully. This includes a few good lines that always work. Say them to your wife in any order, and then pray for her.
• “I love you.”
• “You are the greatest woman in the world to me.”
• “You’re beautiful when you’re upset.”
• “Tell me what’s on your mind, and I promise not to get mad.”
• “How have I let you down?”
• “How can I make it up to you?”
• “Have you been getting enough sleep?”
• “What would make you happy right now?”
• “I don’t have all the answers. But God does.”
• “Do you want to pray about this together?”
This whole process, prayer included, could take less than 15 minutes of your undivided attention. But it will dissipate the power of those converging forces. What a small investment of time in order to have such great rewards!
Additional Advice Concerning Your Wife’s Moods
Whatever you do, don’t ask your wife, “Is it that time of month again?” She doesn’t want her suffering to be dismissed or explained away so easily. Even if that has everything to do with it, she is not able to see that now. And it will do no good to try and force the issue.
In the midst of the complex manifestations of your wife’s moods, there will come forth a simple message. It may be a cry for intimacy. It could be a desire to be known and appreciated. Perhaps it is a deep longing for reassurance that everything is going to be okay. Ask God to help you hear the message and show you how to pray accordingly.
This article came from the book, The Power of a Praying® Husband. This book is written by Stormie Omartian, and is published by Harvest House Publishers. Stormie Omartian, who has dominated Christian bestseller lists with The Power of a Praying Wife, is back with a companion volume for hubbies. For those lacking in creativity, Omartian provides, at the end of each chapter, actual prayers for husbands to say. And for those worried about taking husbandly advice from a woman, Omartian has sprinkled the book with the occasional paragraph by her husband, Michael Omartian, and a few other husbands.
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