I remember it vividly. Standing in the kitchen several years ago I said to my husband, “Don’t treat me the way you want to be treated, treat me the way I want to be treated.”
And I saw the lightbulb go off above his head! He got it! He understood that I needed something completely different than he would have in the same situation.
But he is a fixer, therefore, if the situation would have involved him, he would simply fix it and move on. That’s just not what I needed.
I was looking for someone to listen, to talk it through with me and help me to understand what had just happened. I wasn’t asking him to fix anything, I was simply asking him to listen.
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That particular afternoon, I was telling my husband something that had happened that day, something that had really upset me. I honestly can’t remember what it was, but I do remember just needing to talk it through. You know, the way a lot of women process things.
Talk it through, process it, work through it…most of the time finding that it wasn’t really as big of a deal as we make it out to be.
Welcome to the psyche of many women. We are emotional. We talk, nurture, talk some more, and ponder a situation for a while. (And quite frankly, sometimes entirely too long.)
Well, my husband, being the man that he is, immediately chimed in and told me exactly how to fix my problem.
And I have no doubt what went through his mind immediately following this fix:
- He gave an imaginary fist pump or two.
- Checked “saved my wife today” off his mental to-do list.
- Proceeded to make a series of manly grunts that would have made “Tim the Tool Man Taylor” proud.
He was clearly very proud of himself for taking care of his family.
I am grateful for his protection, however, there are times that I don’t need him to fix it. And holy moly, can this be tough for him!
Men are protectors by nature, wired to fix things. They take care of something, check it off their list, and then move on to the next item they can fix. Totally different than how we work through a problem.
Neither is wrong. Just different.
It can be extremely frustrating in a marriage and lead to a lot of resentment when your husband is not behaving the way you think he should.
Here’s the thing…your way is not always right! Whoa! I know, that’s a tough one to swallow, isn’t it?
But when you learn and accept there are differences between you and your husband and that neither is wrong, your relationship will start to change.
You’ll begin to respect him and embrace his idiosyncrasies for the wonderful qualities that they are.
It all starts with you
In order to make these changes in your marriage, you have to realize, it all begins with you. It becomes a matter of changing the way you think and behave and asking God to change your perspective.
“Long to do right more than be right, and to give life more than get even.” The Power of the Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian
In the book, The Power of the Praying Wife, Stormie Omartian explains it is not your job to “fix” your husband. You are called to focus on what YOU can do to improve your marriage and God will take care of him.
It’s not your job to change him, it’s your job to love him unconditionally.
Truthfully, when you’re frustrated and angry for all the things he has done, it’s extremely difficult to even consider that you also have to make some changes. (Ask me how I know this!) After all, he’s the one who hurt you. He’s the one that just won’t listen!
This is certainly a tough one, but it’s when you must go to God in prayer.
Ask Him to change your heart, to give you eyes to see what you can do to improve your marriage, and ask Him to help you see your husband through His eyes.
Instead of getting angry at him every time he tries to fix the situation or does something to hurt you, ask God to show you His perspective, to be able to see the situation more clearly through His eyes.
More than likely your husband is not trying to hurt you, but rather to help and protect you. You both want the same outcome, he is just wired to get there differently.
Again, your husband’s ways are not necessarily wrong, just different.
Communication is key
Respectively communicating in your marriage is so incredibly important, but man oh man can that be a tall order!
At times you’re probably so angry that all you want to do is yell, point out everything he has done wrong, and claim victory over another argument in your marriage.
But my friend, claiming victory over another disagreement is not the way to a healthy, successful marriage. It may feel good in the short term, but in the long run, it’s far more damaging.
Your husband can not read your mind, so you have to communicate what’s going on, what you’re thinking, and what he’s doing to hurt you.
Make it a date
I’ll be the first to tell you that if I tell my husband there are some things we need to talk about, I’ll get an immediate eye-roll and “that wall” will go up so darn fast that I may as well hang up trying to get anywhere with him.
Your husband too?
Instead, make a date one evening after the kids go to bed, go to a quiet restaurant, or perhaps hit the coffee shop together on a Saturday morning and respectively tell him what you’re needing in your marriage.
Explain that you want your marriage to be successful, then start with you. Communicate that you feel as if things haven’t been going well lately and that you would like to make sure that you are fulfilling all of his needs and making him feel loved and respected.
You may consider the following when talking with him.
- Tell him that you appreciate all he does for your family.
- Ask him what he needs from you to feel respected and loved.
- Ask what you can do to encourage and make life easier for him.
- Explain how his actions have been hurting you.
- Explain how you don’t always need him to fix something, but rather just to listen.
- Explain what you need from him to feel loved and respected.
Assure him that you love him and are committed to making him feel respected, loved and taken care of.
Since that day in the kitchen, I now preface my “need to talk time,” with “I don’t need you to fix this, I just need you to listen.”
I communicate what I need from him before I even begin because as my husband and the protector of our family, his first thought is always going to be how he can fix the problem. Then he is clear on what I need from him before we even start talking.
I know how tough it is when you’re fed up and angry with your husband, but when you start by changing your perspective and try to see things from his side rather than just your own, you’ll begin to see your husband differently.
You’ll find respect for him again because you’ll understand why he’s doing what he’s doing rather than thinking that he’s just trying to make your life difficult.
And when you start respecting him and treating him differently (a.k.a. better), he’ll begin to see you differently as well! He’ll see and feel the changes you are making in your marriage and he’ll begin to do the same.
Keep praying, my friend.
Make the choice to give life more than get even. It will need to be made daily (and sometimes multiple times throughout your day), but one that is so incredibly important for you, your marriage and your family.
Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I’d love to hear from you. Comment below and tell me what you do to help communicate better with your husband.
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Until next time……
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