In a conversation with a friend recently, it came up that she was irritated with how her husband responded to her problems. When she expressed dissatisfaction with some event, situation, or person, her husband’s response was to present her with a solution. Very common comment from married women.
The problem for my friend, as probably any woman reading this could attest, is that she didn’t feel heard and understood; instead she felt dismissed by her husband.
After I heard her out, I asked if I could offer another perspective to what she was experiencing. My wife and I have gone through this dance as well, and we are both still learning how to navigate it.
Feelings are quite real (<– that’s a pretty good past blog), but they sometimes blind us to reality.
My friend was surprised to hear that her husband was likely not intentionally dismissing her, but he was so offended something had caused his wife pain that he wanted to do anything he could to make it stop.
Her husband was functioning in his role as her protector, not wanting anything to happen to his beloved woman on his watch. Unintentionally, her response of telling him he was being insensitive was devastating him and causing him to feel emasculated.
Being told that she didn’t need a solution feels like being told “I don’t need you.”
It was a new perspective.
In a marriage, both spouses fall into the tendency to view the other’s behavior through their own lens of decision-making. This does not take into account the complementary differences between the two genders. When we ask our spouse to deny their differences – their complementary strengths – we are asking them to deny a part of their design. And that sends an unintended message.
Sadly, it causes both spouses to miss the love being given in the way the other was designed to lavish it.
Please don’t take this as a blind defense of insensitive behavior. I know that I have tried to solve my wife’s problem before she is even finished communicating it. That’s my blindness and denying her design. This goes both ways.
The truth is that husbands do need to pull the blinders off and be conscious of listening. Understanding what their wives need when the are releasing their emotions. Learn to respond after your wife has had time to process and is emotionally ready to be offered a solution.
But wives, don’t consistently deny him the opportunity to provide, that is what he was made to do and you may be sending an unintended message.
What other designed, complementary behaviors do we often deny our spouses?