My dear brothers, take note of this:
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19
QUICK TO ANGER, QUICK TO SPEAK
In the first 14.5 years of our marriage, before I really understood respect and biblical submission, I would often ask Greg a question – And then when Greg didn’t answer immediately – I would get UPSET.
I expected him to know his mind on any issue right away – just like me. I expected him to answer within 10-20 seconds. I would wait – and sigh and watch the clock and count the minutes ticking by as he seemingly “ignored” me and “refused” to answer my question.
Then by about 15-25 minutes – when I had waited impatiently and pressured him to give me an answer, I would explode in anger and storm off – incredulous that Greg “wouldn’t answer a simple question.”
I was most certainly NOT quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. 🙁
Now, when I ask him a question, I give him time to think because I know that is how he works. He is not being hateful or unloving. He just needs to think quietly on his own for awhile. Now that I understand this about him, I am able to offer him time, grace and plenty of patience. God has changed my heart and opened my mind to see things from his perspective.
When we first moved into this 1960s era brick house in 2007, my husband said that the renovations that needed to be done would take 6 months. Sometimes, Greg would stop working on the house and go tear vines off of the back fence. I wanted that house DONE in 1 year or less – which seemed pretty generous and patient on my part, considering he had estimated 6 months.
(When I say renovations – I mean: making a new kitchen out of an old office, making a new master suite out of the original living room and den, taking down walls, tearing out most rooms all the way down to the studs and starting from scratch. And this is a big house. He worked on the house 5-6 days per week until midnight after his full time job for a year and a half. My husband wanted to be careful, methodical, spend money wisely and do things perfectly. My goal was SPEED. We had very different priorities.)
So when I saw Greg outside pulling vines, I stomped out to the back yard and said angrily, “Why on earth are you pulling vines back here? The fence is NOT a priority right now! You said the house would be done in 6 months. It’s been 5 months already and you have barely gotten anything done yet. I want the house done as soon as possible!!” (at that point, he had closed in the carport and made it a garage. And we spent about 3 months just deciding where the master suite would be, where the kitchen would be, if we would have a dining room or not, what walls would stay and what walls would go… you know, normal stuff. Ha!)
I didn’t even ask Greg questions. I didn’t try to understand his perspective. I wanted the house done and I wanted it done ASAP.
A year or two after I learned about respect and biblical submission, Greg shared with me that when he was frustrated with a renovation project that was not going well – he would go outside and pull vines and try to clear his head and think through the problems he was having so he could work out a solution.
Imagine if I had been more interested in listening to my husband instead of demanding my way. What if I had not been quick to fire my anger at him? Maybe there wouldn’t have been any tension at all between us because maybe he would have shared with me that he used that time to think through possible solutions. If I had known that, I feel sure I would have been a lot more understanding – even if I was very sleep deprived.
I see now that he was fixing up that house as a HUGE gift of love for ME. He wanted to give me my dream home. He wanted me to appreciate his hard work and the beautiful rooms he made. What an amazing, talented, loving, generous man I have – to devote himself to such a massive project just to make me happy. Wow!
I understand how my husband thinks a WHOLE lot better which has made a huge difference. I have let go of many unrealistic expectations.
I know that he:
- does not think or feel or process emotions like me at all.
- often thinks without words and uses formulas or imagines a scale as he is making decisions. So it is difficult for him to verbalize things for awhile until he arrives at a decision.
- feels disrespected when I pressure him to come to a decision too quickly.
So, now (by God’s power working in me) I:
- am patient and ask a question casually and leave a lot of time for him to think without any pressure.
- do not get angry at him – not even in my thoughts.
- LISTEN when he does speak and pay careful attention to his unique masculine perspective and wisdom and I know that many times God is leading me through his words.
- patiently wait and don’t try to force my way or force a quick solution.
- share my feelings and desires and perspective calmly, in a pleasant tone of voice with a friendly expression on my face.
- ask questions respectfully and softly if I don’t understand. But I try not to ask “why.” That question is disrespectful to many men.
- am gracious if we don’t do what I had suggested or what I wanted to do. My goal is to seek God’s will first, not my own. I trust God’s sovereignty to lead me through my husband if my husband doesn’t agree with me.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER AND PRAY ABOUT:
1. What were some of the disagreements/arguments my man and I have had lately?
2. Why did I feel it was necessary to argue?
3. How could I have applied this verse (James 1:19) and handled things without an argument?
4. How can I apply this verse on a daily basis when I start to feel angry with someone?
5. Is it possible that I might be making small issues more important than relationships with people or my obedience to Christ?
6. Do I believe that my sinful behavior (disrespect, yelling, cussing, throwing things, becoming violent, attacking my man verbally) is justifiable because I believe I am “right” about the small issue and I believe he is “wrong”? Is God more concerned with the tiny little issue or with my sinful attitude?
7. Is it possible that my man’s idea might just be different, not “wrong”? What if he has valuable wisdom to share with me that I am missing when I get angry quickly and don’t listen? What might I be missing that God wants me to hear?
8. Is it possible that I am exhausted, hormonal, hungry, in pain or have some other major physical issue that makes things seem a whole lot worse than they really are right now? If so, I need to take care of that first before I unwisely get into any kind of argument!
YOU ARE WELCOME TO SHARE YOUR ANSWERS AND YOUR STORIES! 🙂
FROM A CHRISTIAN BROTHER
Proverbs 31:11 “The heart of her husband safely trusts her…”
This reminds me of the qualifications in the New Testament for deacon’s wives:
1 Timothy 3:11 AMP The women likewise must be worthy of respect and serious, not gossipers, but temperate and self-controlled, thoroughly trustworthy in all things.
I think this could apply to each husband’s ability and willingness to “safely” trust their wife in his heart.
A FEW MORE QUESTIONS:
1. Can my man safely trust even my thoughts about him?
2. Can my man safely trust my words about him when he is not there, when I am talking with my girl friend and my mom and sisters?
3. Can my man safely trust my words to him – in public and in private?
4. Does my man know that I will do him good, not evil, all the days of my life? Are my motives towards him clearly for his good at all times?
5. How do I use my words to talk about other people, especially those closest to me?
6. Am I thoroughly trustworthy in all things?
Let’s talk about these things together!
How can you as a single Christian woman show your guy that he can safely trust you? I’d like to hear your thoughts and then I would like to continue this discussion. 🙂
Responding to Our Men’s Constructive Criticism – Youtube Video (5 minutes)