I Can’t Believe You Said That!

Yelling Wife

From Nan to Women:

Prov. 18:21 “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

A while back I was sitting in my counseling room, stunned by a woman administering a scathing attack on her normal, reasonably good guy husband. It occurred to me to ask her, “If he said the exact same words to you, what would you do right now?”

She responded that she would get up and leave him!

Wow! What a self-indictment. Yet she didn’t see it.

When I talked further to the gal who cursed her husband, she explained that since he didn’t seem to respond to her ‘normal’ requests, she intensified the attack, so that he would ‘do something’. And, of course, the thing he did was to shut down more. Often a man will back off during a conflict with his wife so that he does not intensify the conflict.

So, what can I do if my partner doesn’t respond to a question, or need that I have?  I can ask if this is a bad time to talk and ask for a ‘rain check’, or I can kindly repeat the request, and wait for a response. If I still don’t seem to be getting anywhere and feel myself getting angry, I can back off for a moment and self-soothe until I calm down. Then I can think about re-framing the communication. Did I ask for what I wanted in a positive way, or was it more of a criticism? A positive approach is more likely to yield results. If it’s a perpetual problem, we can seek help.

But, speaking for myself when I was a newlywed, I spoke a lot of hurtful words that accomplished nothing. I found that repair work is a lot more painful than good preparation by studying the wisdom contained in God’s word.

“For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:20   

One thought on “I Can’t Believe You Said That!

  1. Right on Nan! My wife, Debbie, has learned how to tell me things that I normally don't pay atention to by saying, “Can I tell you something you don't want to hear?” When she asks it is difficult to say no! Then I have a chance to prepare myself for what she wants to say. That approach lets me know that it is important to her and it gets my attention.

Leave a Reply