Posted by: Derek Guyer | June 1, 2008

Talk with your Spouse Tip #6

I told you in my last Talk With Your Spouse Tip about a guy I’ve been counseling who cheated on his wife. Their communication has always been rough, but more so since the affair. So, he tried writing her a letter. He’s been trying to build better communication, and things have been going much better since the letter was written. But, he keeps coming up against a brick wall in certain discussions. 

As I said in the last tip, it seems like no matter how right he is or how good his idea is, it gets shot down. It appears to him that his wife is stubborn and completely unwilling to make a change. He’s spent the past several months making some great changes, and while she admits to seeing them, as he tells me, he still receives very little to no respect.

While respect for your husband and submission are necessary, so is loving your wife. This is where it gets pretty hard.

Trying to communicate with your spouse when they’re stubborn can be infuriating. Try doing it now when you’ve broken their heart and betrayed their trust. You may as well have built the Great Wall of China between you.

As I told him, “You’ve got to take down the walls.” I mentioned this to him before and am saying it again now: Help take them down. There may be multiple walls up, and they may be there for a variety of reasons. But they didn’t go up overnight, and they won’t come down that way either. They were laid brick by brick, and that’s how they’re likely going to be coming down. Expect it. Why? Healing takes time.

In his case, as a husband and on his own admission, he’s been verbally and emotionally abusive in the past. He’s almost made it impossible for his wife to want to hear anything out of his mouth, and after his affair, you can’t blame her for being on guard.

The real key for him is to not feel like he has to always have an answer. If his mouth has caused a lot of the problems, he’s going to have to rethink how he uses it. In fact, it may take a total reprogramming of his thoughts and his speaking before anything changes. So, I gave him the best advice I could give. If she asks a question or says something that always leads to a controversy, tell her you need some time to think about it before you respond. 

Don’t say something just because you think it. That’s what fools do.

“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.”

Proverbs 17:27-28 NIV

Sometimes it’s just better to walk away and think it through. It’s probably a good idea to call or talk with someone who can help you rethink what you say in response. If the advice given seems strange and the person you’re talking with has a good marriage, go do it no matter how strange it feels. It’s likely, if you’ve been emotionally or verbally abusive to your spouse, you don’t know what is appropriate or inappropriate

Talk With Your Spouse Tip: Think before you speak…and then think some more.



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