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.”
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!
Conflict and disagreement is inevitable in marriage. However, conflict need not lead to the formation of two enemy camps! Here’s something that can greatly change the dynamics during conflict and actually move you closer to resolution. Pause and ask God to help you see the situation through your husband’s eyes. Ask the Lord to show you what is truly prompting your husband to say what he’s saying or do what he’s doing. Is he stressed? Is he discouraged? Is he still affected by emotional wounds from his childhood? Does he simply have a different idea on how something should be done, and could his idea actually make sense?
When we intentionally pause and try to consider the vantage point of our husbands, we begin to have compassion, or at least an understanding of why he is thinking or acting the way he is. Instead of only focusing on our desires, Philippians 2:4 instructs us, “Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” When you truly stop and try to look at the situation from his perspective, you may see some actual merit to your husband’s point of view! You might also start to realize how your husband’s past hurts in life (or current fears) are playing a role in his actions or reactions.
When we ask Jesus to help us see the situation through our husband’s eyes, we start to soften and feel compassion. As we have compassion and understanding, it will be much easier to compromise or find resolution. Try it!