A mindset adjustment.

15 May

For the first nine or so years of my marriage, I spent a lot of time on wasted arguments.

The discussion (because it never started as an argument) would start by my expressing an opinion of how I felt about something. Sometimes my opinions were based on experience, sometimes perception, sometimes convictions, sometimes struggles, and sometimes enjoyment.

The thing about an opinion is that they are formed out of what we believe is true, or should be true.
No one ever forms an opinion on the grounds that, I don’t really believe this or this is obviously wrong, but I’m going to make up this opinion anyway.

What did this mean for our discussions?

Simply put, if my husband was of the same opinion, it meant intimacy. And if he was of a different opinion, it meant an escalated discussion into an argument.

Many years went by before I realized that the reason the discussion escalated so drastically and intensely was because I instantly didn’t care *what* we were discussing anymore, and actually was now upset because I couldn’t change his opinion and I felt it was wrong. Or that he wasn’t as spiritual as I was. Or that he didn’t care about my feelings as much as I thought he should. Or that he didn’t have the priorities he should.

I’ll give you a real life scenario.

For years, my husband and I would argue about the television. The minute he hit the door, it was turned on. And it wasn’t turned off until the sleep timer turned it off after he had fallen asleep.

I hate television. I think it steals family time. I think it brings temptation into the home. I think it desensitizes us to sin. I think it makes what is very wrong with the world, seem funny and humorous. I think it allows men to lust even with their wives sitting beside them. And it causes women to struggle with body image. I think it often portrays men as stupid and weak. And women as superior and worthy of leaving their husbands. I feel lit brings in foul language and rude talk.

I don’t find it entertaining and I struggle deeply with some of those above things I mentioned.

I don’t love the TV being on, but the bigger problem was that I felt like my husband should feel/say/do/think/act a certain way, and he wasn’t, and I became very judgmental and prideful.

This same scenario played out in a number of ways in my marriage, not just with television.

It took me a long time to realize the fighting would stop when I looked at my own sin, and when I accepted a mindset adjustment.

Just because my husband doesn’t have my same opinions DOES NOT mean he’s WRONG, LESS SPIRITUAL, UNLOVING, SELFISH, or PROUD.

What if he was of the mindset that I had to agree to all his opinions?

And if I am right and he needs convicted of something, I am not going to be successful at that. I can’t play the Holy Spirit. In fact, my “help” is almost always going to slow the process down and interfere with what the Holy Spirit is trying to do.

I know it’s really hard to accept differences. And sometimes it really hurts. I want my husband to hate things that are a temptation or struggle for me. I want him to have the same priorities I do so my feelings don’t get hurt. And I want to feel like we agree on everything because that gives me a boost of intimacy in the relationship.
But when he has a different opinion, that does not mean he’s sinning against me.

However, what I do with my disappointment or hurt, can cause me to sin against him.

I am not perfect, and I still struggle in this area. It’s a daily dying to self (especially for women) to keep this part of our life pure and holy.

But thankfully now, most of the time, I am able to hold my tongue and redirect my thoughts more easily since I’ve seen my sin and want to live a more righteous life before my husband and before God. And I catch myself more quickly when I do stumble.

Practical Application:

Evaluate your disagreements. Are they opinion or factual based arguments? Are you upset with the problem or the fact that he doesn’t agree with you? Is your husband sinning, or just disagreeing with your standards/priorities? (That’s a tough question and often hurts our feelings when we really face it.)

Adjust your mindset. Allow for different opinions. Choose your words more wisely. Avoid discussions that turn the topic in a negative light. Focus on what you do agree on and both enjoy. Remember that pride, judgment, disrespect, and hurtful words ARE sins against your husband so in your anger or disappointment, do not sin.

Pray. If you really feel like something needs changed – ask God to convict your husband or change his opinion. The Holy Spirit can do a work you can NEVER do on your own. Trust God to work if the work needs done.

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15 Responses to “A mindset adjustment.”

  1. trixie1466 May 15, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Kayla,

    This is so true. I agree with your assessment about the dangers and damage caused by televsion, but wow the damage we do ourselves by judging is huge. It’s really easy to get caught up in what seems so obviously sinful that we me our own sin in the middle of it. Good for you for being able to see it. 🙂

    • Kayla Gulick May 15, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      Thanks! As I mentioned – it took a LONG time for me to realize and see how sinful and prideful I was being. And how much damage I did through not holding my tongue and having wise discussions. Thank goodness I’m married to a man who is VERY forgiving!!

  2. trixie1466 May 15, 2013 at 11:53 am #

    That was supposed to say miss our own sin, not me our sin. Oops, tying to fast. LOL

  3. gleniece May 15, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    Wow, Kayla. I found myself nodding in agreement the whole time. The thing I allowed to steal my joy and bring on the judgemental attitude was beer. I would hate the mere sight of it in my husband’s hand. To me, it represented lack of self-control and wasteful spending. My pride and self-righteousness was as thick as honey wihout the sweet and I never saw it. Thanks be to God who opened my eyes to my own sins. My marriage is so much better for it. And thank you, Kayla, for being geniune. It really helps us godly wives know we are not alone.

    • Kayla Gulick May 15, 2013 at 9:17 pm #

      Thank you Gleniece.

      And yes, beer was a sore spot for us too.

      Even though I know this, it amazes me still every time how so many marriages look the exact same on the inside. Maybe some minor detail differences, but at the core, the same sinfu issues and temptations from Satan.

      I’m so glad you shared! Thank you!

  4. The Water Bearer May 15, 2013 at 7:24 pm #

    Well said, great tips, and some honest self-awareness as always. Blessings to you!

    • Kayla Gulick May 15, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

      Thank you! I appreciate the encouragement as always.

      I love doing life with my on-line Christian Sisters 🙂

  5. gleniece May 15, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Sorry for the double comment. My browser phone said it didn’t go through the first time. Isn’t technology wonderful? 🙂

  6. peacefulwife May 16, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    Kayla,
    I have this exact same issue. I personally believe we shouldn’t even have a tv in the house. But now, I am allowing God to handle this issue with my husband. It gets stickier with my children. I would really like them not to watch at all! For all the reasons you mentioned and more.

    So I do limit my children. But I don’t limit my husband. I am trusting God to work on him.

    I am increasingly convicted that entertainment is “friendship with the world.” But I am trusting God to work in my husband and to lead me and our children through him.

    Yes- DAILY dying to self. And the minute I start to find myself full of discontent – it is my flag to check my motives and my own sin and my heart.

    Really important post! Thanks, Kayla!

    • Kayla Gulick May 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

      Thanks April,

      I appreciate the understanding and honesty with your reply!

      It’s such a hard road to walk between allowing for fun and relaxation and not compromising to do that. And I know men really need that “down time” that intentionally focuses their mind on anything other than “life”. I try to be careful not to judge something I don’t understand or don’t struggle with, but at the same time – that’s what makes it so tempting to judge.

      I know though that there are things I do that he doesn’t and wouldn’t ever need to, and I don’t want him trying to force me not to do them when I feel like I need/want them.

  7. crazyma123 May 17, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    I agree with your perspective 🙂 The only thing that I have concern with is that when a husband or a wife has an issue with something, then out of respect, the spouse should evaluate what they’re doing. Like, in your instantance with the tv, maybe the respectful response was for your husband to honor you by limiting his time with it. Out of respect. An example for me is when my husband approached me on my checking Facebook all the time. He told me that he felt I checked it too much and it was a distraction for me that made him and the kids feel like I prioritized social media over them. So I limited myself out of respect. Does that make sense. I’m not bashing you in anyway or your husband. Please don’t feel that. Anything I say I make sure I say or type in love and respect.

    • Kayla Gulick May 18, 2013 at 7:17 am #

      Thanks for commenting!!

      Yes, you bring up a great point. I believe a husband SHOULD listen to and respect his wife’s point of view, concerns, problems, and so forth.

      However, in the instance that he doesn’t, I think we as a wife need to still focus on our own reactions and not focus on our husbands decision. If we get too wrapped up in what he SHOULD be doing – we can start to get prideful, overly hurt, and then justify why we don’t have to do certain things because he didn’t xyz.

      Does that make sense?

      I’m totally with you though that men have responsibilities, respect, unconditional love, leadership, and other epectations in marriage that they should be fulfilling.

      I just don’t write on those issues since I’m writing as a wife and (mostly) to other wives or future wives. 🙂

      Thanks again for sharing such a great point!

      • crazyma123 May 18, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

        Awesome! Totally agree!

  8. Elizabeth December 30, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    I agree totally with your views on TV and know how hard it is to accept your husband’s decision. When my children were only two and four, their father was addicted to TV and kept it on throughout every evening. One day I told him that the kids had memorized almost every ad that played and could sing along and dance with them all.. I told him I believed it was very harmful for their young minds to be programmed like that and believed the TV was doing them serious harm. Even though he didn’t want to, he agreed to my request to totally get rid of the television so they would grow up with more wholesome activities. It was hard at first; for a month it was a struggle to know how to fill all that evening time that TV had occupied, but soon we were playing games, reading a lot, and entertaining others. All three of my kids learned how to read before they started kindergarten and were in talented and gifted classes at school. Sadly, after nine years without TV I came home one day and discovered that he had bought another one and installed it in our bedroom. I didn’t handle that very well at all.. . . it was on every night for many hours and intensified the other problems we had. That was 18 years ago. Now I’m a lot wiser about how a godly wife should handle these issues, but it would still be extremely hard to accept. I know TV can be a temporary form of relaxation for a husband in the evening, but it can also be an addictive “drug” that allows someone to escape responsibilities and relationships, often for many years. It feels like a form of abandonment when it consumes almost every waking hour of your husband’s free time.

    • Kayla Gulick December 30, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      Great comment! Thanks for sharing your heart and your experience. Your words have given me and I’m sure my other readers things to think about and appreciate as we look at our own situations and make godly choices. I appreciate you taking the time to share!!

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