Please Note: The following article may not address the frustrations you feel, but it explains some of the feelings your husband may have. We wish we could give your husband the ability to know what YOU’RE feeling and what’s motivating your words and actions. But this article may at least help you better understand HIS reasonings a little better when you try to address problems directly. Here’s what David Hawkins wrote on this issue:
Randy storms out of the kitchen and hides himself in the newspaper. Why? Why won’t he stand before Carla and address the problem directly, searching for a solution that can be beneficial to both of them? This would give both of them space to be individuals and yet live in wonderful harmony with each other. But that did not happen. Instead, more bricks were stacked on the wall between them, leaving each to suffer in isolation.
I suspect Randy felt a number of emotions:
• He felt threatened.
His wife was not happy with his performance around the house even though he saw himself as a diligent, hard-working man. She poked at his ego, and he used his well-rehearsed tactic of withdrawal to cope with threats.
• He felt angry.
He felt that his wife’s requests were unreasonable. Also, he really didn’t think the problem was that serious. Of course, this is denial on his part. That’s because the problem remains, and tomorrow is not likely to be any different.
• He felt confused.
What was the big deal? In denial, he convinced himself that this was her problem. If he ignored her, maybe the problem would just go away. But in his heart, he wondered if he needed to be more assertive and face her with his concerns.
• He felt uncertain and afraid.
What if she persisted with her demands? Would he be forced to change? What would he be required to change? He was content with his routines. And he was not particularly interested in new challenges, especially on the home front.
• He felt sad and rejected.
Sitting alone in the living room was not his idea of a fun evening. He wanted true contact and intimacy with his wife, and this was no way to get it. He knew that he would most likely be stubborn and wait for her to make the first overture to him. They were in for a cold, silent evening.
Many struggles will drain a couples’ energy. Round-robin fights appear to be so simple but go on and on. Conversations that start out clear end up muddy. “What was it we were fighting about?” so many couples ask once the smoke has finally cleared.
Keeping focused in the midst of such turmoil is hard. Discussing issues in a productive way requires serious effort. Encounters sometimes degenerate into power struggles that culminate in hurt feelings. There was also the loss of intimacy. How can we create real change?
The Journey to Address Problems Directly
As you begin this journey, the trail ahead may appear perilous. The path is unfamiliar. Trust that you will find the truth and it will make you free. Trust that God will provide wisdom for the journey ahead. Solomon confirms that “if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD.” (Proverbs 2:4) If you look and listen, you will find the right books. You will find the right friends, and the right teachers to help you take one important step at a time.
Paths are never straight and easy. Life has many starts, stops, twists, and turns. Plan on them. As you begin to acknowledge the truth abut your marriage and about how you and your partner relate to each other, you may fumble about with new behaviors. You may try to be assertive only to slip back into passivity. You may try to confront irresponsible behavior only to revert to snide comment and passive-aggressive tactics. Keep in mind that you are not traversing a smooth and easy trail.
As you learn to listen more carefully to yourself and to God, and as you let go of the lies that hinder you, the best path will emerge before you. You take one step at a time, one moment at a time.
This article comes from the book, Men Just Don’t Get it—But They Can! It’s written by David Hawkins, published by Harvest House. Unfortunately, it’s no longer being published. So to read it, you will have to find it through a used book source. Dr Hawkins is a licensed clinical psychologist.
To help you further, Lori Byerly, in an article posted on her web site, The Generous Wife, answers the question, “What if my husband won’t lead?” Below are a few of the points she makes, that you might consider in your marriage, if this is a problem. She states that some husbands have a:
“Fear of Judgement
“Realize that a number of guys won’t lead. That’s because they’ve been punished for the choices they’ve made in the past. Why would they lead when they are just going to get grief for it? This means that you are going to have to talk about your respect for him. Talk about what a leader is really all about and give him room to try.
“It’s also important to understand that having a different opinion, as a wife, does not mean that you are judging your husband as bad, wrong or stupid. Different perspectives are a consequence of being different people. It can actually be a strength because you are bringing up more options to explore. This can happen in a climate of respect and be good for all. (Some people mistakenly believe that it’s disrespectful for a wife to speak up. It’s disrespectful to ask for something different, suggest another option or to point out a problem. This attitude leads to the wife ‘not having a voice.’ Not good.)”
Also, some husbands hold a:
“Fear of Failure:
“The other thing that can stall out your guy is a fear of failure. Failure hurts, but unfortunately it’s a part of life. We’re not ever going to get away from it, so we might as well learn from it. And we should give each other a bit of grace.
“This is likely to be another thing that you just have to bring up in conversation. Let your husband know that you want to create a home where failure gets you a hug, a prayer, an encouragement and a sounding board, if you need one. Here’s something I have to remind myself of now and then. If you are unreasonably hard on yourself, your husband might fear that you will be as hard on him when he fails. Offer grace to yourself as well.”
And then “after all this, he still won’t lead?” Lori continues with her advice in the article, Some Hard Questions (Part 3).
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Filed under: Communication and Conflict