One of the largest learning curves in my marriage has been realizing that my husband doesn’t think like me, act like me, feel like me, or respond like me. I can’t tell you how often I became frustrated and hurt because the response I expected from my husband was not the one I received. Not only was that unfair of me to have non-verbalized expectations of my husband, but it was unfair for me to assume and expect that he would respond to any given situation the way I would. He is not me.
In addition to that, I tended to be the wife who would always ask, “Are you mad at me?,” anytime my husband was in a bad mood. This drove him nuts and his response was always hostile and given with a frustrated tone. And, of course, that would then fuel my fear that he was, indeed, mad at me. So, the mad circle of crazy would begin and it would take days to unravel something that should have been a simple, “Honey you seem to be in a bad mood. Are you feeling okay?” “I’m just not myself today, dear. I just need some rest.” “Okay, babe, let me know if there is anything I can do to help.” BAM – end of it. Uh, yea. I wish that was how things were handled back in the day.
This is a great blog post (click the link) that shares some of these similar thoughts. As a matter of fact, this is a great marriage blog in general. The truth is that we all perceive, process, and respond to people differently. This is especially true about our spouse. There is so much wrapped up in our relationship to our spouse – emotions that run deeper than they do with any other human being. Therefore, each of these – perception, process, and response – are displayed toward our spouse in a larger way than with others. We need to be especially mindful of that anytime we are communicating with each other.
One thing I try to tell myself often when I begin to feel slighted by my husbands response to something is that “this is really not about me – calm down.” Now, granted, sometimes it may be about me. But, most of the time it isn’t. Remembering that I can’t control how my husband feels or how he responds to things helps me to be able to step back from any given situation and respond to him with love and kindness . . . not assumptions and expectations.
Knowing myself better (and taking the time to get to know my husband) was one of the best things I ever did for my marriage.
Rev. Monica Humpal