How your mood affects him

I realized the most interesting thing one day several years ago in my marriage!  I was having one of those super frustrating days, where everything seems to be going wrong.  It was the kind of frustrating day where you desperately want the cathartic release of smashing china dishes against the wall!  Am I the only one who has ever felt that way?  🙂

Anyway, my husband walked into the house to discover a wife who was steaming from everything that had gone wrong that day.  Then something strange happened.  He got visibly agitated over my state of frustration.  It really bothered him that I was upset. My bad mood became contagious!!  He could not be at peace because I was not at peace. It reminded me that our husbands really do want their wives to be content and at peace.  In fact, 1 Peter 3 tells wives to strive for the “unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”.   Hmmm.  Interesting.  So, how do we get this peacefulness, even in frustrating circumstances?  The Bible tells us contentment comes when we trust in God, lean into God, and ask for His power to carry us!  Philippians 4:13 says ” I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” 

So, I began refusing to allow the frustrating moments of life to sour my mood.  I began laughing off Satan’s attempts to goad me into being irritable and sharp with everyone around me.  I pivoted to God in those challenging moments and asked Him to strengthen me, equip me, and give me His peace.  Interestingly, when I started choosing to trust God to carry me during those frustrating moments in life, not only did I become peaceful and content, but I enjoyed the unexpected benefit of my husband and kids becoming more peaceful too!

** or view this topic as a 3 minute VIDEO BELOW

The power of a wife’s words

Proverbs 18:21 says “the tongue has the power of life and death”.  Oh my.  Consider how many words a woman usually speaks in just one day, and you can see the potential for disaster!

It took me a couple decades to really understand this fact.  The words spoken by a wife to her husband can either build him up and give him confidence to step up and be an even better man…or her words can tear him down to the point that he emotionally withdraws from her and doesn’t try to accomplish much of anything because he believes he’s a failure.

What kind of words are you speaking to your husband?  Are you his biggest cheerleader?  Do you intentionally encourage him every single day, or do you give in to the temptation to point out his many flaws on a regular basis?  He NEEDS you to believe in him and encourage him.  By the way, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hold him accountable or put boundaries in place if he is actively sinning against you.  However, even then, you can address sinful behavior with an attitude that is loving and hopeful.  You can still let your husband know that you see something good in him.

How to avoid frustration with him!

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.  Clearly communicate your expectations and desires 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 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. 

Maybe it’s time to bless your husband by being honest about your expectations and desires.  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!

3 things husbands want in communication

Want to improve your communication interactions with your husband?  Well, maybe it would help if you understood three things that really matter to most men when it comes to communication.  Here they are:

1)  Most husbands prefer that their wife be direct in stating what they want or need.  They don’t respond to hints.  They don’t want to have to read between the lines or try to read your mind.  They just want you to come right out and state what you want or need…and it helps if you can state your needs calmly, without a lot of drama or intense emotion.

2)  Most husbands want you to keep it simple and short.  They don’t want long explanations or fascinating details.  Their minds begin to wander after about 30 seconds!  So get to the point quickly.  Ecclesiastes 5:3 is a good reminder.  It says “Many words mark the speech of a fool“.

3)  All husbands need their wives to be respectful, both while talking and while listening. This is Biblical. Ephesians 5:33 says “the wife must respect her husband“.  This means speaking to your husband in a respectful tone and making sure your body language and facial expressions show honor.  No eye-rolling!  It also means that you listen attentively when your husband is speaking to you, and you refrain from interrupting him, finishing his sentences, or correcting him.  Oh, and one more thing.  It means you let him have a few moments to unwind when

How husbands respond to emotion

Do you tend to get loud when you get upset?  Are you prone to big, dramatic displays of your emotions, whether joy, frustration or sadness?  Well you might not know this, but most men are really uncomfortable with big displays of emotion.  This isn’t true for ALL men, but for most men.

In other words, if you’re a drama queen….your husband will likely try to escape your presence!  He just doesn’t know what to do with your larger-than-life emotions.  Maybe this is why 1 Peter 3:4 advises wives to have the beauty that comes from a “gentle and quiet spirit“.   

Most men much prefer that their wives discuss their emotions, fears, disappointments, frustrations, and joy in a calm manner.  Your husband will be much more likely to engage in a meaningful discussion with you if you can speak in a normal tone of voice, without waving around your arms.  Try it!

Why your husband doesn’t get it!

Do you sometimes get really frustrated with your husband when he doesn’t see the need to tackle a project quickly?  Do you get exasperated when he doesn’t seem to have a clue how you feel or why you feel the way you do?  Well, here’s a news bulletin.  He doesn’t understand how you think and feel because he’s not a woman!  In Genesis 1:27, we are reminded that God created two distinctly different kinds of people…. “male and female he created them.”  Your man doesn’t think or emote like you because God created him to be different than you!

Men don’t generally sense an urgency to get the kid’s schedule figured out or the house vacuumed.  But you do.  Men don’t usually like to sit and talk about their concerns regarding the children or their job.  You might need to do that, but men generally check out by entering the “nothing box” in their head!

I guess what I’m saying is…don’t be surprised that your husband doesn’t seem to understand you.  He won’t understand you all the time because you’re a woman and he is not. This makes it all the more important for you to have good female friendships.  Make it a point to spend some time with other women, in person or on the phone, at least twice a week.  You need someone to understand and validate your thoughts, fears, hopes, and frustrations.  (Just one caution though.  Don’t bad-mouth your husband in the process.)

Prompting empathy from husband

Are you often really disappointed in your husband because he doesn’t seem to have a lot of empathy in your times of stress or sadness?  Do you find yourself longing for him to comfort you during times of discouragement or heartbreak, but he doesn’t seem to notice your distress or understand what you need?  Well, join the club! 

For most of my marriage to Raul, I found myself getting repeatedly frustrated that he didn’t comfort me when I needed comfort or even seem to notice that I needed empathy!  Then one day about 2 years ago, I felt the Holy Spirit nudge me and say, “He doesn’t know what you need unless you spell it out to him.”  What?!  I remember thinking that if I have to tell him exactly what I need in those moments of despair or frustration, then his attempt to comfort wouldn’t be meaningful.  You might think the same thing.  However, I was wrong.

When I finally spelled out to my husband EXACTLY what I needed in moments of heartbreak, discouragement, or stress, he followed through.  He actually thanked me for TELLING him what I needed.  And guess what?  Even though I told him what I needed, it was still very comforting when he did what I instructed him to do.  Just in case you’re wondering what I asked him to do.  I said “Come up to me and wrap me in your arms and hold me tight.  Then pat my back gently 3 times and say ‘I can understand how that would make you feel and it’s going to be okay’.”  It was amazing!  I was comforted!

Husbands are not mind-readers!  If you need something, tell them!  Otherwise, your husband will sense that he’s failing you but be unsure of what to do.  Explaining exactly what you need is actually an act of compassion toward your husband.  This reminds me of the verse in Colossians 3:12  Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

** or view this topic as a 2 minute VIDEO BELOW

Controlling your mouth!

Good grief!  Just when I think I’m finally growing a little more like Christ, my tongue trips me up yet once again!  In our marriages and in our friendships, what comes out of our mouths often tends to gravitate toward criticism, complaints, sarcasm, etc.  Try as I might, I just can’t seem to turn the corner on this problem!  How about you?

Chances are good that your tongue also gets you into trouble.  That’s because we have a common enemy.  Satan keeps subtly prompting us to spew negative, hateful, disrespectful, angry words. Thank goodness, there is One who has the power to tame our tongues!  Jesus is stronger than the enemy.  1 John 4:4 says “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  Hallelujah!

So, this morning I surrendered my tongue to Jesus and asked Him to control my tongue today.  Would you be willing to ask God to help you remember to pause before you speak to your husband, especially when you’re angry or frustrated!  Maybe you would benefit from asking God to remind you during that pause to speak words that are kind and loving, even if you’re asking your husband to stop a certain behavior or trying to explain your frustration.  I know this is a prayer the Lord will answer because God tells us several times in the Bible to speak gracious words.  Ecclesiastes 10:12 “Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.”

Will you courageously begin praying for God to help you catch yourself the minute you’re about to say something disrespectful, sarcastic, negative, critical, or arrogant toward your husband?

Key step before giving him advice

My. My.  I guess I’m reminded once again about the power of our words.  A few days ago, I wrote a devotional about the power of pausing during a heated conversation with our men so that we refrain from responding with words that are harsh or mean….something we’ll likely regret later.  Well, today I was reminded of another reason to pause.  As women, we need to pause before we offer casual bits of advice or “wisdom” to our husbands.

I don’t think we realize how our guys are greatly influenced by us!   We might think they aren’t really paying that much attention to a casual suggestion we toss out, but often they are.  In fact, many husbands in the Bible were greatly influenced by something their wives said, and the wives rarely had good advice!  I think especially of Sarah telling Abraham to sleep with her servant in order for him to have a son, since she was getting impatient waiting for God to fulfill his promise to give her children! Read the story in Genesis 16:1-4 and you will find out Sarah’s decision didn’t turn out so well!

So, let’s think twice before we offer a morsel of our brilliant counsel during a conversation with our men.  I did this recently, and my husband acted upon it.  I hadn’t really even thought it through, let alone prayed about it. Thankfully, there was no harm done, but it got me to thinking about the need to really pause and pray about any suggestions or counsel I decide to pass on to my husband.  How about you?

Marriage communication tip #1

You might recall the opening theme to the original Superman TV series.  The announcer proclaims that Superman is “faster than a speeding bullet”. Well, God has been showing me how a part of me is also faster than a speeding bullet….and can cause as much damage as a live round of ammunition.  That part of me is my mouth!

You may have the same challenge as me.  Do you often get impatient when your husband is trying to express himself and end up finishing his sentences? I do.  Do you interrupt your husband when he pauses mid-sentence?  I do.  Do you sometimes jump in and tell him how he should handle something as he’s trying to explain a challenging situation?  I do.  Do you get frustrated with him and react with harsh, disrespectful words that you can’t take back?  Hmmm. 

Let’s pray that God would give us the ability to be good listeners, patient talkers, and respectful communicators!  This is definitely God’s will for us, as revealed in James 1:19:  “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…”   The first step is to coach ourselves at the beginning of conversations with our husbands.  Remind your soul…”I will honor the Lord and my husband by listening quietly and responding respectfully”…”listening quietly, responding respectfully”…”listening quietly, responding respectfully”…(repeat as necessary!!).