Somedays you just don’t feel like fighting. The niggling little things your husband does seem funny for some reason, or perhaps you’re so intent on enjoying the delicious spring weather that you don’t even notice the standard aggravations.
Other days, well, what do you do on those other days? Today, I’m having one of those other days. In fact, I’ve sequestered myself in the kitchen to write this because I’ve already noticed a tendency to roll my eyes or poke at him with a sharp, quick-witted tongue.
Recently, I’ve shared with you some of the things God is teaching me to do to avoid conflict with my husband, to solve conflict with my husband and to initiate mutually enjoyable conversation. Appropriately, today I feel led to share with you five things you should NOT do when engaging in less-than-pleasant conversation with your knight in shining armor. (Remember that ladies. He is your knight, even if he might have fallen off his gallant steed.)
1. Do not walk out of the room. Admittedly, in a recent article I said that sometimes it’s very beneficial to simply walk away. However, the second and equally important part of that rule is: Never walk out of the room while one of you is talking. Give your spouse the respect of your full attention when speaking or listening, even if it isn’t something you want to hear. The simple act of your presence in the room reminds you both that you’re on the same team.
2. Do not interrupt, even to validate. I’m notorious for this. My father chided me for my exuberant interruptions long before I met my husband. Sometimes I get so excited that I can barely contain myself. When he finally says something I agree with, it’s so tempting to jump in and finish his sentence or ask a follow up question. Do not do this. Your husband’s love language is respect. He will not feel affirmed if you swoop into his sentence the moment he takes a breath.
3. Do not stand in front of the TV. I know this is hard. There have been more than a few times when I tried to discuss a topic with my husband but he flagrantly disrespected me by refusing to turn off the television. On occasion, I have made the terrible mistake of stepping between him and the screen, effectively averting his attention. This will always, always lead to a bigger fight than you started with. First, honestly ask yourself if you are interrupting his game or movie. If so, hold your tongue until it’s over. The surprise and gratitude this generates will pay in dividends when you finally sit down to talk.
4. Do not expect him to remember details. Remember the nothing box? Sometimes things we deem important get filed there by accident. Be willing to repeat the details from the last time you had this discussion. Offer the missing information without complaining that he didn’t listen to you.
5. Do not call, text or email problems. Quite honestly, this is embarrassing, but the best example of this is myself over a $2 offense. My husband had purchased a book for his Kindle the night before and forgotten to tell me so that I could record the expense. When a $2 charge appeared on our statement the next day, I immediately texted him, complaining that he, “never remembers to tell me when he uses the credit card.” After a blunt response, “Busy,” he told me that evening that it really irritated him that I texted to quiz him about spending $2.
I don’t always get it right. There are so many scenarios that I haven’t handled well and there will be many more arguments to learn from. I pray that God will give me the humility to admit my mistakes and I will do all that I can to honor the Prince of Peace.
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18).”