While the following article may not address the frustrations you feel, it can help explain some of the feelings your husband may have. It doesn’t justify his actions. It just helps you to see behind his eyes and actions a little clearer.
A very important part of combating problems is reaching out to hear and understand the other person. Often when we argue we want to explain our side of things so fervently that we discount what the other person is feeling and what their reasoning is behind their actions. We can forget to take into consideration that their approach is much different than ours. Listening is a good step forward towards understanding. And understanding is a good step forward towards working through a conflict.
We wish we could give your husband the ability to KNOW what you’re feeling so that it might help him better see your frustration and what’s motivating your words and actions. But this article, written by David Hawkins (from the book, Men Don’t Get It But they Can), may help you better understand HIS reasonings a little better.
Our hope is that after reading it, you’ll see things a little clearer and with the Lord’s help you will find ways to build bridges between you and your spouse to walk TOWARDS dealing with conflicts in a healthier way. (Also note that after this article there are links to other articles you can read on the same subject.) Here’s what David Hawkins wrote:
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. He really didn’t think the problem was that serious. Of course, this is denial on his part, for 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 are 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 and the loss of intimacy. How can we create real change?
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, 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. 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 —one step at a time, one moment at a time.
The above article came from the book, Men Just Don’t Get it—But They Can! written by David Hawkins, and was published by Harvest House. We say “was” because unfortunately, this article is no longer being published. To read it, you will have to find it through a used book source. Dr Hawkins is a licensed clinical psychologist.