A friend shared a story with me that can benefit us all. (I’ve changed the name to preserve anonymity).
“Jeff was resistant to doing something with me at the end of the week. He complained of being tired and that he had had a particularly difficult and stressful week. When I asked a bit more about it, he said that he hadn’t shared his struggles with me because he knew I too was having a tough week and didn’t want to bother me.
Normally, I would have listened to that and just took it all in stride. I would have bought into the idea that I couldn’t be with him in his difficulty because I had my own challenges to face.
As I thought about that, I realized that his words about me weren’t true. I would have wanted to hear about his week, and I would have wanted to show empathy and be supportive of him.
So I sat down next to him and told him these things, and asked him if there was more to his not telling me. I explained that I didn’t think what he was saying about me was true.
He paused for a minute, reflecting. Then he shared that he was struggling with a feeling of failure all week. I repeated back to him, “You feel like a failure?” Now he was defensive, “That’s what I just said!” I explained that I repeated his words because I was so surprised that a week of struggling with unreliable employees made him feel like a failure.
He softened and I remained calm. I repeated again my desire that he share with me when he’s struggling. I also shared that I appreciated his honesty about feeling like a failure.”
It’s easy to hide or let someone hide behind words, isn’t it? When your husband is hiding behind words that don’t ring true, don’t let it sit.
Draw him out by asking the question my friend asked, “Is there more you’re not telling me? Your words don’t describe how I would normally respond to you.”
Unearthing pain and insecurity in your husband’s heart so he can experience healing is an activity worthy of your time. However, the following obstacles could block the process.
- Neglecting to listen well.
- Taking offense at his response.
- Failing to invest the time needed to get to the truth.
- Feeling indifferent to his pain.
Being someone’s wife isn’t easy, but it’s a high calling. Having just watched the movie, War Room, I’m reminded once again about the high stakes at risk when failing to answer the call to love your husband well.
Listening well provides you the opportunity to help your husband come out of hiding. And when he does, thank him for his honesty and minister to his need as God directs.
Ask your husband if he feels free to approach you when he struggles. Listen well to what he says without defensiveness.