Are you demanding communication from your spouse? You need to stop.
- It’s disrespectful to him – he knows he isn’t in a space to have a discussion, and you won’t respect his boundary
- It makes everything worse because he isn’t in a place to talk
- It is disrespectful to you – you demean yourself by following him around like that
- At that point, the discussion has become foolish, regardless of what you’re talking about
- It’s not working anyway, is it?
“She just doesn’t respect me at all. I get three words into starting a conversation with her, even after I’ve asked her if now is a good time to talk about something, and she interrupts me, starts arguing, and says something condescending. I can’t win.”
I asked him if he had then tried to insert “The Break” – a method of creating a space in a conversation where a couple can take a few moments to go work the Connection Steps with God, then reconnect.
“I will say, ‘Hey, I love you, and I don’t want to talk about this anymore right now.’ She then follows me around the house demanding we finish. I start to get angry, and then I say something mean because she’s just not listening.”
My client is dealing with a rough situation. He respectfully approached communication by asking if it was a good time for his wife. He then created a healthy boundary when she became emotional. He is trying to do something helpful, but his wife isn’t having it. Maybe you are the one trying to create a space where you can go work the Connection Steps (more here on those) and your spouse insists on having the conversation now. What do you do?
Here’s a small suggestion. Take responsibility for the fact that you are emotional. Understand that it is hard for your spouse when you take a break from a conversation to gain emotional control. They may feel abandoned or rejected. What you can do in that situation is reassure them of your love for them, even give a kiss, and say something like, “I respect/love you too much to inflict the ugly that I feel right now onto you.”
The Bible tells us, “In your anger do not sin,” and we are called to not be harsh in multiple places. Harsh communication is to be avoided and is NOT a thing adults participate in. How do we get to this place? By allowing The Lord to mature us through the Connection Steps.
After we notice we are emotional, we need to interact with our feelings. By naming and normalizing them, thereby lowering their intensity and then adding calming hormones through comfort on top of all this, our brain is in a place that is more open and receptive to a different idea. Then comes the spot where we can listen to God for a gentle truth!
Listening for a gentle truth means that we are able to be calm enough to sit back, be objective, and allow the voice of God to present His perspective. We might have to ask Him, “God, what do you want me to know about this situation?” and then simply wait. It’s amazing how our eyes will be opened to things we couldn’t otherwise have seen.
His Word teaches us to be persistent around these things, to knock, seek, ask… over and over again, until we are satisfied. We need to hang in there with these emotions, sorting even the Gentle Truth with Him!
This is a good thing because eventually, as we mature, He births within us the emotional strength and fortitude to not only BE THERE for others, but sit with someone else’s differing perspective – and we can then see where we may have contributed to the problem at hand (even if it is based on their perception) – without becoming defensive. We might even find that there is an issue from our childhood that the Lord brings to mind and it is related to the emotional “triggering” response we just had in a situation that was seemingly unrelated to what we just went through.
Amazingly enough, if we ask God what He wants us to know, He will speak gentle truth, His Truth, and we can learn about ourselves. He will confirm this with His Word, from the Bible (an important step!). The lies we believe from childhood traumas become filters through which we see our current reality. The exciting thing about this is as simple but overwhelmingly profound as Jesus said – The Truth shall set you free. You may not be instantly healed from future triggers and emotional responses, but you will have a surprisingly new awareness that gives you tremendous power (the healing power of the Holy Spirit) to overcome your mistaken beliefs and empower you to choose better responses in the future.
It’s a transformation you will want more of.
This week, keep naming and normalizing those feelings, and add comforting yourself and listening for a gentle truth. Journal about what God reveals to you during these times.
Watch out for the temptation to “be done” after finishing naming and normalizing – we have found that people often feel better after these two steps, so much so that they choose to not continue. While it is awesome to feel better we unfortunately commonly see people repeating the behaviors and habits of thinking that got them into the difficulty in the first place unless they finish The Connection Steps so they can hear from God and show up differently next time!
When we are calm enough to hear God, He will reveal a gentle Truth to us.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
- Has God ever revealed something to you that you didn’t see before?
- What hard situations has God brought you through that have developed your character?
- What do you sense Him saying to you about this dare?
Am looking forward to interacting in the comments – or if you get this by email, feel free to respond. I read every email you send!
Love to you,
Ready to start making a change in your relationships now? Join our Strength & Dignity Community – it’s women just like you on this journey, trying to navigate the conflict in their marriage, seeking God, changing their relationships, and finding their true identity. It’s also a course that uses a proven method. Find out more here.