Don't Hurt Me
One who is married is concerned about . . . how she may please her husband. 1 CORINTHIANS 7:34
What usually happens when you and your spouse get into a disagreement? If you're like most couples—according to the research of Dr. John Gottman, professor emeritus at the University of Washington—the wife does six times the amount of fussing and scolding, and the husband is 85 percent more likely to be the one who goes into stone-wall mode.
But as Emerson Eggerich told our radio audience recently, it's not merely the amount of the wife's talking that pushes her husband into silence and rejection. It's the way she talks.
To every wife reading this, I know that this just seems to confirm that every man is overly sensitive and not willing to deal with the truth. But Emerson, who has over two decades of experience helping couples, asks you to take this challenge: "After you've had a fight with your husband, go into the bathroom, shut the door and reenact your responses as best as you can in front of the mirror. Look at yourself and how you're coming across. Is there any man in your husband's world who talks to him that way? Is there anybody in his world who talks to him that way?"
Usually, all you have to do to avoid his stonewalling is to soften the tone, brighten the facial expression and control the pointing finger. You can pretty much talk to him all day long—even with deep, impassioned emotion—if you avoid berating, dismissing and emasculating him.
Men are typically able to handle negative content. We do it all day long. We just can't easily handle it when it comes across with the volume turned up on contempt. The disrespect drowns out the message from being heard. If the goal is communication, the gateway to his heart is through respect, even when you don't think he deserves it.
Is this pattern true of your marriage? What makes you want to attack verbally? What makes you want to clam up?
Pray that you will better understand how to communicate with one another with mutual respect.