Here is a great question from a reader:
How does a surrendered Godly peaceful single girl handle when her man is being a grouch? The further I get into my relationship, the more tolerant I get of the occasional mood swing as I have learned not to take it personally but there is still this part of me deep inside that wants to call him out on it and tell him to man up and be positive. Examples of grouchiness come in my personal situation when we are in overwhelming social situations to him (ie: with my friends), often in the post work hours, and often when things aren’t going according to his schedule. (He is very scheduled and likes to utilize every minute of the day to the fullest- a blessing and a curse
Now, I am not saying by any means that I am perfect or that I don’t get grumpy from time to time (which my perception is less often of course;) I’m just wondering how the healthy way is to handle these inevitable situations and how to resist the urge to scold, control, or tell him how he should be feeling/acting. Yikes, I sound super controlling just asking that question. Lol. Would love your feedback whenever you have some free time on this one. Again, all of your articles have been infinitely helpful to me and our relationship.
Whew! This is a tough one! This one still trips me up sometimes! My husband doesn’t get in a funk often anymore but when he does, I can’t always immediately tell what is happening and at first, I usually think something is wrong with ME. It takes me awhile to get my bearings when my hubby isn’t doing well.
Some important questions are
- How severe is the funkiness?
- How much does it affect your friends and other people?
- How often does it happen?
- Is there any depression or untreated mental condition going on?
- Is he getting enough sleep and eating well and taking care of himself?
- Is there a major sin issue, idol or addiction he is dealing with?
- Is he under a lot of stress at work/school?
- Was there some recent tragedy or really difficult situation?
- Is he just more of an introverted personality that is exhausted by being around other people too much?
It would REALLY help me personally if my husband could tell me immediately, “I’m in a mood.” “I’m in a funk.” – because then I would not be imagining that I did something wrong that I need to apologize for. But he is often not able to verbalize that for a few days. If you know the triggers for your man, you may be able to immediately identify what is happening and that is a HUGE blessing! Knowing the problem is on his end is the first part of the solution!
A few things I do when I am trying to figure out what is happening:
- pray for him and for myself
- examine my own heart for sin – particularly disrespect
- give him space
- check to see what time of the month it is for me… am I hormonal?
- minimize my words but keep my tone pleasant and my facial expressions friendly
- try not to ask anything or put extra burdens or expectations on him
- eventually, I will ask him if I did something disrespectful that upset him if he continues to seem extra distant
- has someone else been disrespectful to him?
- then I do my best to believe him if he says that I haven’t done anything wrong. I then trust that it is his responsibility to tell me if I did do anything wrong that I need to repent of. And I look to God, praise Him, sing to Him, read His Word like usual and cling to Him for my strength, purpose, identity, joy and seek His glory – that is normal stuff.
Your man’s personality sounds different from my husband’s. Some men feel down a lot more often – and may have more ups and downs. That is not wrong – but a woman does need to be able to adapt to her man’s particular personality with grace.
A few things I would suggest:
- Pray for him DAILY but especially when he is grumpy – could be some type of spiritual attack going on.
- Realize that this is going to be part of life with him – especially when things are stressful for him
- Don’t try to change him. You will need to accept that this is part of his personality – it is a downside to a corresponding strength of his. If you get rid of the weakness, you’d have to get rid of some of his strengths, too!
- If he asks for something, try to do what he wants and be cheerful and cooperative (as long as he is not asking you to sin or condone sin).
- DEFINITELY do not tell him what to do, how to feel or how to act. You will have one RESENTFUL, ANGRY man on your hands if you resort to scolding or trying to control him! He is a grown man – he gets to decide how he feels and what to do for himself. Just like you get to decide how you feel and what you do. God gives each of us a free will, we cannot take that away from another adult!
- Be there to listen if he wants to talk about what is bothering him BUT DO NOT GIVE ADVICE!!!! Listen and nod and be empathetic and let any comments be about your faith in him to handle the difficult situation. But do not tell him HOW to handle it! (Unless he specifically asks you for advice – and even then, proceed with GREAT CAUTION!)
- Realize that your man is sinful – just like we all are – and trust God to work on all of that with him. The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of convicting your man of his sin without your help. In fact, your man will be convicted much more quickly without your lectures/sermons/nagging/scolding. 🙂
- You can influence him in a godly way. You may have to experiment about what helps. He may not be cheer-up-able. It might be he does better if you give him some time and space to himself and don’t expect him to engage for awhile. Maybe it needs to be ok for him to go off by himself, even if you are with your friends, so he can get his thoughts together. If he is not close to God – talking about God and God’s Word will make things worse.
- You can set a godly example of not whining, not complaining, not pouting and not getting grumpy yourself.
- Sometimes going off on your own and doing things you enjoy can keep you sane while you give him time to come out of his grumpiness.
- Sometimes building him up, complimenting what he does right and his strengths and telling him things you admire about him may help.
- Sometimes your smile and look of faith and expression of trust in his abilities to handle the situation can help.
- If he likes to exercise, you could suggest going for a run or bike ride together or going to do something shoulder to shoulder (and let him do the talking only if he wants to) that expends adrenaline and energy may clear his head and may help him feel more bonded with you.
- Allow him to relax and watch tv, pray, have his quiet time, read a book or do what helps him to calm down.
- IN MARRIAGE (to keep in the back of your mind) – sometimes physical intimacy will help a lot when a man is in a funk, but before you are married, that is obviously not an option!
- If you can help to facilitate his schedule – that would probably help.
- Does he ever say what he would like you to do when he is feeling like that? It could be interesting to ask him (not when he is grumpy) what he thinks you could do to best assist him when he is with your friends or in those hours after work. Are you expecting him to be a social butterfly and that is not his personality? Are the friends being disrespectful towards him? Does he not enjoy their company? Does he prefer a quiet evening at home to unwind after work?
A SPIRITUAL TEST
I also try to look at these times as a test to see how my spiritual maturity and oneness in Christ is doing. It’s a pop quiz to see if I will handle the situation in God’s power with His love, mercy and grace or if I will retaliate because I feel abandoned, unloved, angry or lonely.
This is a fantastic opportunity to get to practice forgiveness and the love of God with the same lavish generosity that God uses when He forgives me. It is also a great opportunity to appreciate how different your man is from you – and to realize that different doesn’t necessarily = “wrong.”
If you have learned how to handle things in a godly way when your man is in a funk, leave us a comment! GREAT TOPIC!