Monday, November 17, 2008
Proverbs 31 Wife: Mean what you say, say what you mean
Women are known for being confusing and unpredictable.
As I watch people interact in their relationships, as friends and strangers come to me for encouragement and direction, and as I look over my own marriage I see this to be true.
Women tend to be coded. So often, we say one thing and mean another. We have some married friends who go in circles. The husband seems to always be walking on eggshells as he tries to translate his wife's words and tones. His wife seems to be speaking a different language- same words, different definitions.
You know what I'm talking about.
When he asks, "Are you okay?" and she answers with, "I'm fine," you can be sure things are not fine at all!
It seems many women expect their husbands to be mind readers. Early on in marriage I learned that if I wanted or expected something from my husband, I was going to have to be very blunt about it. Subtle hints and attempts at telepathy were not going to work.
In other words, if your husband asks what you want for Valentine's Day, and you say, "You don't need to get me anything!" then don't expect to get anything for the holiday. He is only doing exactly what you told him to do!
And, if you want him to remember Valentine's Day, your birthday, or your wedding anniversary, it would be good to remind him of it a month before the date, a week before the date, and the day before the event. Our husbands have a lot of their plate. They don't intentionally forget these things, and forgetting a special occasion does not mean your husband doesn't love you.
Of course, a man can sense when something is wrong, especially when his wife is huffing and puffing, slamming cabinet doors, and banging around dishes. So why is it when a husband notices his wife is in a mood and asks, "Honey, what's wrong?" she sighs and growls, "Nothing!"
Men understand women like to be pursued during courting, but this whole idea of pursuing and pulling the truth out of their wives baffles them. Why won't she just tell him what's wrong? Why does she make it a guessing game? Why does she drag it out?
I have no idea why some women do that. I've done it myself and afterwards I think, "Was I intentionally trying to pick a fight? What result did I think this would bring about?"
We need to say what we mean and mean what we say. No word games. No mind games. We cannot expect our husbands to read our expressions or read our minds. How would we feel if we had to decode our husband's every word and action? This sort of game causes resentment to build up. It does not resolve issues.
When I am feeling needy, I have to tell my husband. When I desire my husband to be romantic, I have to tell my husband. When I am feeling offended or hurt, I have to tell my husband. I cannot wait around for him to figure it out on his own.
Likewise, when my husband wants me to do something, he kindly tells me. When he expects something from me, he lets me know. He is always loving and gentle with his words, so it makes fulfilling his request easier because I don't feel he is rudely demanding or ordering me around.
We need to remember our words are powerful- not just what we say, but how we say them... our tone. Yelling and griping rarely produces the result we desire. Beating around the bush and expecting our husbands to reach the correct conclusion will leave us disappointed (and will make our husbands frustrated)!
"Say what you mean and mean what you say" does not mean we should be rude and blunt about things that would be hurtful. Sometimes we have a tendency to spout off when we're angry- using our words as arrows that painfully wound and bruise. "Say what you mean" does not give us a right to be hostile, to attack our spouse. Words and actions cannot be unsaid or undone.
Proverbs 31 (verse 11, I believe) says "the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her". Our husbands should be able to trust that our words will be honest, but gentle- not deceptive or harsh.
A husband cannot trust in a wife who plays games with his emotions, a wife who does not speak with love and kindness.
This post is first post in a series of posts under the topic of "Proverbs 31 Woman".
Images from Corbis.com