By Janet Pérez Eckles, Crosswalk.com
“I dread going home,” My friend said as we took the last bite of our cheesecake at our favorite restaurant.
“The house will be a mess,” she said, “and how much you wanna bet, the baby will need changing. When I walk in, I guarantee you the kids will be running wild through the house and he’ll be on the couch, TV remote in one hand and the baby on the other.
We both laughed. But underneath the humor, reality nagged. As we poured another glass of pink lemonade, we also poured out other flaws our husbands display.
“How about the times he forgets our birthdays? Or when they walk in from work, we’re frazzled, kids are crying, tears in our eyes and then hubby asks, ‘What’s for dinner?’ Clueless, that’s what they are.”
Maybe not. In each of these episode lies the perfect clue—we, wives, also flawed, assumed way too much. And like socks get lost in the drier, we lost the notion that husbands often become victims of our distorted assumptions.
Here are four assumptions that could be the culprit for serving resentment, frustration and anger for dinner:
Incorrect Assumption #1: Our Husbands Entered into the Marriage Clean
They didn’t. And neither did we.
We both walked through the doors marked, “Happily Ever After” carrying emotional bags filled with junk from the past.
Consider Tom and Linda. Each grew up in the church, with values, morals and goals similar to one another. But they failed to recognize the domineering mom who raised Tom, for which he carried hidden resentment.
Each time Linda asked him to help around the house, he didn’t hear Linda's request. Instead, he heard his mom barking orders. He rebelled by politely ignoring the request. When Linda asked again, an excuse popped up. And when he dismissed the request again, Linda’s pressure cooker went on high and she exploded.
She did this because in her own imperfections, she had stored insecurities attached to low self-worth. When Tom ignored her requests, she interpreted as, “he doesn’t value me. I’m not important to him. He doesn’t recognize my needs.”
She assumes Tom should know that. But he has no idea.
What they do have is access to God’s wisdom. That’s why Paul said: “My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3
Prayer: Lord, I seek those treasures of Your wisdom and knowledge to learn what is in my husband’s heart. Give me gentle words to prompt him to open up so I can begin to understand him.
Incorrect Assumption #2. He Should Know How to Romance Me
“Really? Can’t believe it,” Sheri said. “He had the nerve to give me the same birthday card he gave me last year. And no doubt, he got it at the dollar store. And I know his sister had to remind him it was my birthday.”
Have any of us wives ever questioned his motives, criticized his intentions and rolled our eyes at his actions? We have.
We think his desire to please us is at the top of his priorities. And we’re sure he knows exactly how to fill our romantic desires.
The truth is often he does not. His idea of romancing was to remember to get a card.
All the way home he’s patting himself on the back for remembering. But when he hands her the card with a hug, she gives him an are-you-kidding-me smirk. What she expected was dinner at her favorite restaurant, babysitter all lined up and the sparkling ring she’s been hinting at for months.
But nothing sparkles, only a dull sense of disappointment hovers above.
Time to get bold. We need to have the courage to creatively, lovingly and kindly let him know what truly speaks to our heart. What gives us the sense he treasures us. And also, with tenderness, tell him what has little meaning.
But how we say it is the secret. Gentle words express what we desire better. And when those words are chosen carefully, our relationship becomes richer because “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11).
Prayer: Lord, show me how to speak my heart with the love that pleases you. Grant my husband the heart to receive the expression of my needs and desires.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Artem Peretiatko
Incorrect Assumption No. 3 He Knows How to Make Me Happy
Those frequent and fierce fights make us wonder, “What happened to happiness?”
Often those arguments don’t bring solutions. They sometimes bring silent treatments instead. But they’re not really so silent--they scream, “I need you to hold me and tell me how sorry you are and how much you treasure me.”
But we don’t get that. Husbands often dismiss our silence as a bad mood. Or, shrug their shoulders assuming it must be that time of the month.
And when they do nothing to reach out to us, anger covered up in that silence rises like the temperature in the oven until it burns.
That’s because we assume he knows what action to take. We believe he’s intelligent enough to figure out we’re hurting. And we’re certain he has to know how to make us happy again.
He doesn’t. And he won’t until we take the first step. It’s a hard, giant and long step because we’re stepping over the block of pride.
The step is called humility. It’s the quality that builds the bridge to understanding. The humble way in which we can calmly reach out to him and share why we’re unhappy, what can change and what we’ll do to make it happen.
But what should happen first is delete the assumption he’s responsible for our happiness. He often doesn’t know what makes him, himself happy, much less how to make us that way.
True happiness comes when we overlook the small issues, refuse to play the “silent” game and choose to humbly work to build our home, our marriage and our relationship because “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down” (Proverbs 14:1).
Prayer: Lord, I look to you for my happiness and joy. I seek You to give me the patience, humility and wisdom to turn conflict and battles to harmony.
Incorrect Assumption No. 4. He Knows the Program and Knows What We’re Thinking
“Going to church is a nightmare,” Sandy said, “I make myself crazy getting the kids ready. And it never fails, one of them always spills juice on their shirt. And even though we’re already running late, I have to rush and change him.”
Can we identify with her? What stirs added frustration for Sandy is the fact her husband, Chad is on his cell phone, checking football schedules and scores or laughing at jokes he received. And the kids? They love Daddy because he’s the clown and makes life fun.
Sandy and Chad have entered into the “personality conflict” zone. Each has their own personality that determines their reactions, outlook and attitude.
Chad is sanguine, he loves life, fun and enjoyment in any setting.
Conversely, Sandy is detailed in her thinking, makes plans and maps her course of action.
As a result, they both face the same situation differently. Chad doesn’t see the chaos in the making. And Sandy glares at him with a when-are-you-going-to wake-up-and-help look.
She assumes he knows. She thinks they’re on the same page. But they’re not even in the same chapter or the same book. Then the fire begins when Chad doesn’t react in her timing.
Chad needs to get ready because with gritted teeth, Sandy blurts out. “Honey, get with the program.”
But Chad has his own program. And Sandy does too.
Conflict will end when they both get on God’s program. It began with the way He created them, each with unique personalities and varied ways to see the world.
But, no matter what the personality, God also placed in each of them the ability to understand His Word in 1 Corinthians 13:3 where he gives the definition of what love is.
The first trait of that true love isn’t support, affection or endurance. The first is patience.
Gulp. Patience when our husbands can’t seem to get with the program? God would say yes. The task is simple when we remember the personality our man possess is the one that attracted us to him in the first place. His ways are what sparked love in us. And his outlook of life pleased us then.
But reality is that life changed, kids came, duties increased, demands got tougher. Yet, the personalities remain the same.
The good news is that when patience turns to understanding, team work begins.
We team up with God when we praise Him for creating all of us, including our husbands, fearfully and wonderfully.
Prayer: Lord, help me to refrain from putting unrealistic expectations on my husband. Grant me understanding, patience and appreciation of the way You created him. I receive Your wisdom to see his perception of life. And most of all, show me the way to speak my thoughts in a way that honors and glorifies you.
Assumptions are the interruptions to the harmony of marriage. When we assume what we believe to be logical expectations, they’re logical to us, but might seem ludicrous to him.
The way to win him and spark sensitivity in him is to first win at managing our time. No matter the number of children, the pile of duties or hectic schedule, silent moments in the presence of the Lord before the day begins is the key to all.
We fill our heart with His Word. And as James 1:5 says, we seek wisdom. And if we believe that we receive it, we shall receive it in abundance.
And through this abundant wisdom we go beyond assumptions. Instead of assuming what he should know, we assume the role of a wise partner to our husband. In love, we say what we feel. We choose words that build. And when we toss out thoughts that offend him, we add harmony to our days and peace to our nights.
Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker and author with a passion to teach and coach you to thrive in relationships and reach personal and professional success.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Prostock Studio
Janet Perez Eckles, international speaker, author and President of JC Empowerment Ministries helps thousands overcome fear, and through Christ turn trials to triumph. Learn more at www.janetperezeckles.com.