Yeah, No, Maybe
By Jim Mitchell
“Yes and no are perfectly good answers to almost any question,” I once heard a comedian say. To which I gave a hearty “Amen!”
I’m that assertive spouse who wants quick, firm answers from my wife. But I learned early in my marriage that’s just not how it works.
“Yes” is actually quite hard for her to say.
Not to any particular question. The actual word itself: “Yes.” She can’t say it.
The closest she gets is a ho-hum “yeah,” spoken so timidly that I require immediate clarification. “Yes?” I’ll ask with a sharp “s” to emphasize how easy the word is to say.
Which she quickly changes to “No.” Baffled, I seek further confirmation. “So it’s no?”
Sensing my frustration, she then defaults to, “Maybe … I don’t know … Why are you mad at me?” Which, of course, only makes me madder.
Determined to label her indecision a defect, I’ll quote Matthew 5:37: “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” Case closed, right?
Not so much. I can tell you from experience, that’s not a win.
And frankly, this “yeah, no, maybe” sequence has played out so consistently for so long, I’ve been compelled to ask myself some hard questions about whether the real problem lies not with her, but with me.
Is she really timid, or just afraid I’m rushing the decision and avoiding due diligence?
Does “Yeah, no, maybe” actually mean, “I need more conversation with you”?
Ouch! Those questions make even me say, “Yeah, no, maybe.”
So join me, more decisive spouses. Let’s slow our roll a little. Let’s exhibit understanding, not frustration. And let’s relax the “yes/no” chokehold and allow the conversation to breathe a minute.
P.s. I asked my wife if I got this devotional right. She said, “yeah.”
THE GOOD STUFF: The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:11-12)
ACTION POINTS: Ask your spouse what they value more—the outcome or the exchange? Then talk about that together and how to find common ground.
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