So as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Col. 3:12 NAS)
Humans are tender creatures. All of us are. Even though many times we pretend things don’t bother us, many things really do. I remember a situation that began with a phone call late one night from a frantic wife. She called us for help because she and her husband were having a terrible fight and he was packing to leave.
When we arrived at their home, it was chaotic. She was in the living room with the children. They were all very upset and crying. He was in the garage loading his car to leave. Karen tried to comfort her and I talked to him in the garage.
Here is the short version. The husband was the type of person who hid his personal pain beneath a tough exterior. The more hurt and afraid he felt, the more dominant and intimidating he acted. He’d found out weeks earlier that his wife had some physical problems that were pretty serious. He was concerned and told her to go to the doctor. She didn’t. Every time he reminded her she would just brush him off.
On the night of the fight, he became very dominant and forceful with her about another issue. However, what was really bothering him was the thought that she might die. He cherished her and couldn’t stand the thought that her medical problems might be terminal. His fears took over and emotions got out of control.
As we sat with them and talked things out, she watched him sob uncontrollably as he talked about how much he loved her and how afraid he was something might happen to her. She admitted that the reason she didn’t go to the doctor was because the possible cost. As you can see, both were bothered by something and both of their concerns were valid. However, because they didn’t honestly discuss their feelings, the situation nearly ended in tragedy.
I’ve learned over the years that everything matters. Because of that, I am honest about my feelings and sensitive to Karen’s. I realize that when I’m bothered by something Karen says or does, there is usually more to her behavior.
Rather than reacting to what she says, I’ve learned to pursue what is going on with her on a deeper level. On many occasions, this has kept me from reacting with rejection, withdrawal or verbal aggression. It has also caused me to deeply respect the sensitivity of Karen’s heart and my own as well.
Talk It Out | What underlying issues in your relationship are you reluctant to bring to the surface and talk about? This would be a good time to begin a conversation about sensitive issues that really matter and allow your spouse to see it from your perspective.
Walk It Out | Call your spouse at an unexpected time this week, just to say, “I’m thinking of you.”
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