That one “thing” we don’t understand.

29 Mar

Your husband has it, my husband has it, every husband on the planet has it.

It’s their “thing.”  The one “thing” that is just, them.  They can’t separate from it because it’s literally part of their personality. It’s part of their make-up.  It’s part of what makes them tick.  It’s ingrained in who they are as a person.

And try as we might…. what makes “this” the “thing” is that we as their wives, don’t understand it at all.  In fact, we might be polar opposite and even frustrated by this.

That “thing” isn’t the same for every man.  It could be, but it isn’t always. Especially because what makes it the “thing” depends on who they’re married to.  And no two wives are the same; and no two husbands are the same; and no two marriages are the same… so I just can’t blanket post this.

But I know what my husband’s “thing” is… and I recently heard from another wife what her husband’s “thing” is, and even though their things were TOTALLY different…. I felt what she feels.

I can relate on the deepest level.  The confusion.  The frustration.

The wanting SO much to accept him and respect him unconditionally – not judging or condemning anything about him (especially when his “thing” isn’t even a sin at all!) and yet… all the while…. secretly wishing you could change it. Maybe even praying desperately that God would change it.

My husband is an introvert. He’s quiet (until you get to know him), shy, hates being surrounded by people he doesn’t know, does not make new friends easily at all, would prefer very small crowds, and hates speaking when called on without his own initiation.

I am an extrovert.  I’m not shy at all.  I am not intimidated by large crowds of people I don’t know in the least.  I make new friends quickly and make it look effortless, and I am always willing to share whether I know you or not.

I wrestled for a really long time feeling like this difference meant one of us was wrong.  And since my personality was mine…. I felt like mine was the correct way to approach life.

I remember feeling very judgmental thinking that he could change if he wanted to.  And that he was being a stubborn jerk just so he didn’t have to change.

Sound a little prideful much?! Just in case you’re not sure… Yes, yes it does.

I’ve done really well accepting this difference and appreciating how he enters a room and takes everything in, in a way I never do.  I can now see that there are strengths in his reserved approach to things and his natural tendencies give him time to access places and people who are present.

But. Sometimes his personality still puts me in positions where I’m not “getting everything I want”.  Which is a great way for Satan to attack me and tempt me to disrespect my husband, give into selfishness and ultimately hurt my marriage.

A perfect example was just a couple of months ago.  We recently changed churches and the church was offering a class after service to better explain their beliefs, ministries, church doctrine and practices.

At the beginning of the meeting, the pastor asked everyone to go around the room and say their names, where they were from and how long they’d been going to church there.

I SO wanted my husband to do this.  For me, I want him to come across as the leader and protector of our family because HE IS.  It’s not for public attention, it’s actually to avoid public attention.  It gives the wrong impression in my mind for the woman to do all the leading in public, but for her husband to do all the leading in private.  It makes for an inability to ask his permission/ideas when on the spot and looks like I need to speak for him or over him.

It’s hard to have a gentle and quiet spirit that is submissive to your husband when you have to do all the talking in public. You’re put on the spot to sometimes answer questions and make decisions without his input.

Of course, the worst thing in my mind had to happen.  The first table to go started with this scene:

The pastor called on the husband to speak and he said “oh my wife will do the talking, I learned that a long time ago.”  Hysterical laughter broke out throughout the room.

Awesome.  So when it’s my turn, and I talk instead of my husband… everyone will think the same thing about me.

I looked at my husband, and he was about to get up and walk out of the room because he hates that type of environment.  So, he sat there quiet, and I did the talking.

We left and I was horribly embarrassed. Not because my husband did anything wrong.  I was embarrassed because I was concerned with what I thought others were thinking (without even knowing for sure if they were.)

Did I need to be? No.  Does it matter what others think?  No.  Is it more important for me to be the helpmate my husband married and use my personality, gifts and abilities to add what would bless him most and benefit our marriage best? Yes, absolutely.

But my flesh needed some time to accept that on that day.

Here are the words of another wife describing her husband’s thing:

“I’ve planned every date we have ever gone on. We did go out to eat a week ago, but then just ran errands together even though I suggested fun activities because he was just too tired.. He says the way that he most relaxes it to do a household chore with me like weed the garden or plant our vegetable garden or helping a sick cow… To be honest, those are not fun for me. I do them because I love him. I would like to go to a bed and breakfast, stay all day in bed one day, go hiking another day… He would rather just stay here on the farm. But I am on the farm A LOT. I just haven’t figured out how to do this…he connects at home…I need to go out. Yes, I’ve told him this. I even offered that we go out and do something fun and I help him with a chore.. The chores have gotten done. Dates…maybe 1/4 of the time and I plan them… I guess I wish to be pursued, but he just doesn’t have the energy.”

Basically, he relaxes at home, she relaxes by going out.  Is he wrong? Is she wrong? No. Not at all. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard on her flesh not to scream out that he should want what she wants!!

They say opposites attract, but it seems after they’ve attracted, they battle to become the same to stay together, instead of appreciating what makes them opposite.

Really, this is just another opportunity for us to lay ourselves down and be thankful for the differences in who we are as humans.

Practical Application:

The next time his “thing” brings the temptation to be hurt or angry, stop right then and think about two things that are actually STRENGTHS about his thing.  Think about those things and how you might actually be lacking in that area, and how he helps balance you out.

And then, if you’re really feeling courageous (because Satan will definitely tell you that you’re about to encourage his nasty habits and ruin any chance for change) PRAISE him for his “thing.”

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14 Responses to “That one “thing” we don’t understand.”

  1. Catherine March 29, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    My husband has the exact same “thing”. I think I just read the story of my life. The extrovert, the introvert, benefitting from each others differences. Or so I thought. I’ve found myself in similar situations. I don’t want to talk “for him”, and I guess I always kind of felt that I was taking pressure off of him and being helpful in these situations. Now I’m not so sure. This leads me to the question weighing heavily on me this last week or so, how do we know at what point we’re no longer doing nice things for him, and taking control? I’m not trying to justify my behavior, but there are some things I’m looking back on throughout this journey and thinking to myself, I didn’t MEAN to disrespect him. I didn’t KNOW I was disrespecting him. There are times I’m well aware I was just being controlling, but at other times I really believe I was doing things to help him out, or being nice. Where’s the line? Any insight would be very helpful.

    • Kayla Gulick March 29, 2014 at 11:20 am #

      Hey Catherine –

      I bounced this off my husband and here are his and my thoughts for you.

      He said that the circumstances and situation make all the difference. When we are with a small group of people, he doesn’t want me answering for him like he’s incapable of speaking. However, when we’re in a large group of people he doesn’t know, he’ll give me a look giving me his blessing to handle the situation because I’m more comfortable.

      We both suggest talking to your husband about this if he’s up for a conversation.

      Respect/Disrespect look REALLY different some times for different men. Sure, there are universal things, but there are a lot of variances too.

      Ask him if he ever feels like you talk over him like he’s a child. Or if he’s up for giving you a look or wink when he’d prefer you to talk.

      Sometimes Satan tries to overwhelm us with fears that everything we do is controlling and disrespectful and that isn’t always true.

      I’ll pray today that your husband is open to this conversation and feels safe and blessed to talk about this topic so you can both compliment each other well with love and respect.

  2. Elizabeth March 29, 2014 at 11:49 am #

    Kayla,

    Great topic! My husband and I are similar in many ways, but I am more outgoing, spontaneous, and trusting than he is, probably because I’m a “Midwestern girl” used to having strong community ties in a small town. He, on the other hand, deeply distrusts the government and big business because of all he’s read and experienced. This makes for an interesting life as a couple. He appreciates my spontaneity and love of people but sometimes thinks I’m too trusting, and warm up to others without knowing them through and through. And I am sometimes irritated that his caution almost seems like paranoia; when we first got together, he put a very tiny piece of duck tape over the Skype lens on our computer, worried that someone might use it to spy on us without our knowledge. His fears seem far-fetched, but as I’ve come to realize, much of our privacy has been stolen in modern life, in many ways we’re unaware of, He’s helped me to be aware of this! On the other hand, it’s sometimes hard to remember the benefits of his mindset when I believe he’s unnecessarily cautious around new friends and isn’t comfortable extending himself to others the way I’d like him to. Sometimes he comes across as unfriendly, even though he’s a wonderful person. We will probably always be basically different in this respect, but we’ve learned a lot and have been good for each other. I’m getting better at remembering this when I’m tempted to think, “Why are you so paranoid???” 🙂 Wonderful post, Kayla. Thank you!

    • Fellow Journeyer March 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      You did a good job with my snippet! And yes that is exactly that… needing your own needs met and yet realizing that it is the opposite of what HE needs. What he wants isn’t wrong… so that is why I hardly ever say anything and how can be upset?? Yet at some point I need some of my own needs met.. Don’t know. but good job..

      • Kayla Gulick March 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

        I agree, there is that fine line of meeting each other’s needs. But given that you’re only in control of you, I think it’s incredible how you’re able to see he isn’t wrong, and to look for ways to meet his needs even when you feel like yours are going unmet. You’re a beautiful wife. Keep taking your needs to the Lord and believe he can help make them known to your husband too!

    • Kayla Gulick March 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

      Hey Elizabeth – I can TOTALLY see how that would be tempting to feel like he’s paranoid. It’s a beautiful thing though that you see it and you are actively speaking truth to yourself in this area. What a blessing to give your husband. To patiently understand his differences instead of attack them is an amazing testimony of how much your love him!

  3. femininebutnotfeminist March 29, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

    Hi Kayla 🙂

    I just recently started reading your blog. I’m not married yet, but I’m reading as one seeking out knowledge in preparation of marriage, so thank you for writing 🙂

    As an introvert, I can relate to how your husband feels about being around large groups of people, or meeting new people, or having difficulty with making new friends, especially if there hasn’t been time to “recharge” by taking some essential “alone time” (people and social interactions are very mentally draining for an introvert, as opposed to being mentally energizing for an extrovert. We NEED time alone to reenergize ourselves.) I know it’s easy to think he could easily change it, but it’s not so simple to completely flip a personality switch. I wish it was because I would prefer to be an extrovert… it would make it so much easier to make friends since most people are extroverts. I hope this helps to understand where he’s coming from better 🙂

    ~FBNF (I know my name is a mouthful, this is my nickname around here lol)

    • Kayla Gulick March 29, 2014 at 2:55 pm #

      Hey FBNF –

      I LOVE this perspective!! I’m so glad you added this, not just for me, but for the other wives out there trying to understand what happens in the mind and heart of an introvert.

      Thank you so much for adding this here!!

      • femininebutnotfeminist March 29, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

        You’re welcome! *smiles*

  4. prayingwife79 March 30, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    Kayla-
    Great post! Yes! Husbands and wives can be so different! For years I did shamefully see my husband’s “thing” as wrong when it is just different from my “thing”.

    I do have trouble finding the balance between taking control in public situations when needed and wanted by my husband versus taking control everywhere else!! I have spent lots of time relinquishing the control that I thought I had over the course of our marriage but realize there are times when my introvert husband would prefer I speak up for us and him when we are in certain situations. I pray that God shows me the balance and I meekly and humbly take the role of speaker for our household when my husband requests and that I can hold my tongue when is necessary as to not show disrespect.

    Sadly, just this weekend, I spoke up when I sensed my husband needed me to, then I misspoke and made him feel disrespected. Sigh. Such a tightrope at times. My attitude and my heart weren’t in the proper place this weekend. My selfish and wounded emotions took the driver seat and drove us directly into a roadblock. I ask for prayers as I again die to self and strive to be the godly wife that honors God and our covenant.

    I love the encouragement this blog (and my other favorite blog peacefulwife) bring to women striving to glorify God!

    • Kayla Gulick March 31, 2014 at 6:27 am #

      Ah man. I’m so sorry. I know it stings so much now when we mess up in this way because we’re working so hard on getting it right, and we see all the negative results from doing it that way in the past. But don’t lose heart!!

      Just the fact that you can see and apologize to your husband shows HUGE progress!!!

      I think you nailed in on the head in that first paragraph, taking control when he wants us too can sometimes tempt us into taking control all the time. Great point to bring up so we can guard our hearts against this and be more on the look out!

      Thank you for sharing!!

  5. senterwife March 31, 2014 at 4:06 pm #

    Great post and a great reminder to respect the differences! Just because he’s not me, doesn’t mean he’s wrong! 🙂

  6. Meagan April 13, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    LOL God is pretty awesome. You write these great posts that really hit me when I read them. It seems that God keeps me from reading them until just the right time when He’s opened my heart to what you’ve written. I sometimes hate it when He does that. It’s like a message just for me…but I’d better listen!!! Thanks for your honesty. It really helps me to know that not everyone is the perfect wife I keep struggling to be.

    • Kayla Gulick April 13, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

      I can’t deny God’s timing either. 🙂

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