Does your husband tend to give full vent to his temper when you disagree with his opinion or his desires? When you guys have a conflict, does he end up yelling at you or saying mean things? When this happens, deep heart wounds occur. There must be a better way to handle conflict! Here are a couple things you can do to help put out his anger fire before it scorches you:
1) If a disagreement is starting to get a bit ugly, YOU can simply stop arguing! Tell your husband that you love him and you want to take a time-out before discussing the issue further. Tell him that you’re going to think and pray about his perspective and that you’d love him to do the same for you. Then agree to talk about it again later that day or tomorrow.
2) Remain calm even if your husband does not. Refuse to match his loud volume or hurtful comments. In fact, if he becomes emotionally abusive, calmly tell him you do not allow anyone to speak to you that way, and then walk away. If he follows you and continues the emotional abuse, get in your car and drive away. Do not tolerate aggressive, harsh, or wounding treatment from your husband during conflict. That is not God’s plan for how a wife should be treated. Colossians 3:19 says, “Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.”
I’m an expert conflict avoider. How about you? I grew up in a household where there was a lot of yelling and rage and verbal abuse. As a result, everything within me tries desperately to avoid anything in my marriage that could result in tension, raised voices, or anything remotely resembling conflict.
However, avoiding conflict is a recipe for disaster in a marriage. I learned that the hard way in my first marriage, which failed. Here’s the thing. If you don’t address the things that are really bothering you about your husband or your marriage, a seed of bitterness is planted in your heart. That seed slowly takes root and grows, and after months and years go by, you will most likely grow to despise your husband and want a divorce! Not good.
So, let’s commit to respectfully, lovingly, and diligently address the things that are bothering us within our marriages. Hebrews 12:15 warns us not to let “any bitter root grow up among you to cause trouble…” So, ask God to give you the courage to gently and respectfully discuss your concerns with your husband. Ask God to give you the courage to express your needs and desires to your husband. Do not become invisible. When you start stuffing your feelings and immediately cave in during disagreements, toxic resentment will start to grow inside you. Don’t let that happen!
It’s natural during disagreement with our husbands to believe you’re right, he’s wrong, and you must convince him of that! However, if we stay stuck in that mindset, the battle only heats up. He gets defensive. You get defensive. Usually, the situation either evolves into yelling and ugly accusations or a silent, but deadly cold war. There is a better way and it begins with rethinking your end goal.
What if your goal was not to “win” the argument or change his mind? What if the goal was to reach a compromise or solution that addresses the biggest concerns of you both? Seriously. Think about it. Now you both win and there are no losers. This means that you both agree to consider the other person’s perspective, fears, values, and concerns. From there, you begin to present ideas that might address both of your main concerns. Philippians 2:4 reminds us “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
So, the next time you and your husband start to have a significant disagreement, suggest that you would like to sit down together and better understand his perspective and concerns. Then gently share your concerns, and ask him to join you in brainstorming a solution or compromise that would be the best fit for both of you.
Even if you have a great marriage, we will all experience moments of frustration with our husbands from time to time. Well, one key to resolving those frustrations (and avoiding them in the future) is to understand the cause. In my experience, the cause is typically “unmet expectations”. We consciously or even subconsciously expect our husbands to act in a certain way, and when they don’t, we get really frustrated!
So, here’s a nugget of wisdom that may be the remedy for you and for me. Clearly communicate your expectations to your husband! Duh! I know this sounds too simple, but honestly, we are often at fault for holding expectations but failing to clearly reveal those expectations to our men. We act like our husbands are mind-readers and should “just know”. News flash: Most men don’t “just know”. They don’t think like women and they don’t know what you expect and desire from them. In fact, when we fail to communicate what we want, we’re not really being honest with them.
Let’s bless our husbands by being honest about our expectations. Proverbs 24:26 says “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips“!! Start to clearly communicate your expectations to your man. Now, your husband may disagree with your expectations, and that’s okay. That’s an opportunity for the two of you to sit down and discuss your respective opinions and work toward a compromise. But at least you’ll be on the same page and understand each other’s expectations!
I hear quite a few stories of women, both married and unmarried, who tell me how arguments get heated in their relationships. Their husband says something critical, and they dish it right back at him. Their boyfriend says something unkind, and they lash right back at him. In both cases, arguments quickly evolve into a really ugly war because neither one paused before responding. Pausing is one of the most important moments in any relationship! It is the KEY moment!
The Bible says in Proverbs 12:18 “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” It is SO important to pause instead of reacting with reckless words! So the next time you feel your temper about to erupt, pause for 5 or 10 seconds. Ask God to show you in that moment how He wants you to respond. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what will likely happen if you say what you feel like saying in this tense moment! (Usually, the Holy Spirit will show me that those words I was about to say will cause some serious damage in the relationship!) You may even need to leave the room during this pause.
By the way, if you’re texting back and forth with your guy, you may need to put down your cell phone and pray before you text back!! Remember, once those words have been voiced in person or typed in on your text, you can’t take them back. “Pausing” is one of your best friends in any relationship!
You’ve probably heard the saying, “If mom ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” Although the primary message of this saying is that mom’s attitude affects the whole family, I think a secondary message is just as significant. If a wife conveys to her husband through her constant complaints and criticisms that she’s not happy, her husband begins to feel like a failure and starts to close his heart to her.
Unfortunately, many wives get stuck in this dynamic. We tend to point out one disappointment after another to our husbands. We remind him that we notice he forgot to take out the garbage. We point out that he hasn’t communicated in our love language recently. We remind him that he hasn’t played with the kids in a while. In short, we can’t seem to resist pointing out his flaws. Adding insult to injury, we then get really upset that he seems emotionally withdrawn from us!
Perhaps it’s time to pick our battles more carefully. Maybe we should let the small stuff slide. Proverbs 12:16 says, “Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” Let’s ask God to help us affirm what our husbands do right, overlook the small imperfections, and only confront our husbands if they are truly sinning against us and/or the children. EVERYBODY in the family will be happier!