Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What Women Want Out of "Sorry"

My husband and I have issues. No matter which trivial thing we're arguing about, the point when everything escalates usually erupts from a lack of an apology.
Women's feelings are much more robust than men's. Maybe that's not an unconditional statement, but for the general population, I think that it's safe to say.

Men, you have to learn this. Know that your timing, tone of voice and treatment of her after an argument is just as crucial, if not more, as before or during the argument.

When my husband and I fight, I feel wounded. It's like I need a mourning time. My passion for him overflows through words and tears. I mourn over the time we lose fighting. We could have spent that time cuddling, and now it's gone, I think. But you know what makes me feel more wounded than anything? The sense I feel when it seems my husband does not react remorsefully when he sees he's hurt my feelings. Reacting remorsefully means he shows he cares that I'm upset, whether I'm right or wrong.

I get it. I'm probably more fragile than some women and much more fragile than him, but that doesn't take away the fact that he's hurt me. And actually, this remorseful reaction could be applied to situations where the husband has not done the hurting. Men, when a woman is upset, there are specific actions you can take to actually improve her feelings. Don't think whatever you say or do doesn't matter. It matters a lot.

Caress her. Kiss her. Hug her. Make her feel secure. Tell her you're sorry she's upset. Tell her you don't want to fight. Tell her you feel bad that you've fought too. A nice whisper works well in these situations.

I'd like to take full responsibility of my actions as well. Obviously, I value talking through feelings and apologizing. I believe no argument - big or small - should be left open, without a closing apology from both ends. Think of elementary school.

"Johnny, tell Suzy you're sorry. Now, Suzy, tell Johnny you're sorry."

Of course, I speak one language and my husband speaks another. When I think I'm helping him understand why I'm upset and what he can do to make me feel better, he gets defensive and thinks he can do nothing right on his own, which makes me think, Well, you didn't this time. That's for sure. But, I have to remember we both perceive words differently. If he's feeling attacked, he has a right to feel upset too. In my opinion, it's easier to console a sobbing, needy girl than a pissed-off, frustrated man. But apparently, I'm biased. :)

My husband and I don't get into these situations too often, but it is the basis of most of our arguments. What God's revealing to me is that I can't make Micah change, and God doesn't want me to. It's His job. The Lord calls all of us to lay our burdens at His feet. So, that's what I'm doing.

Lord, I give you all of my pain, suffering, analytical thoughts about what my husband's thinking and why he does what he does or doesn't do what he doesn't do. I give you my own sins and thank you for wiping my slate clean every morning. I pray you show me the things I need to change in my life to make me a better wife and woman. Give me the words to say. Calm my rabid emotions. Comfort me when I feel insecure and rejected. Remind me that neither my husband nor I am perfect, and we live in a fallen world, so that's why we argue. I praise you, Jesus, for your grace, especially in the times when I feel graceless.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Stinkies We Make

My 4-month-old pomeranian Bananas keeps making stinkies - in the house. I clean up stinkies before I leave for work, when I get home from work, before I go to sleep, and many times in between. I feel like I'm doing everything I can to train Bananas to go outside and that she's a bad dog when she goes inside. If potty-training a dog is this hard, I don't know what I'll do when I'm potty-training my kid. Worse yet, I don't know what my husband's going to do.

Reflecting on how frustrating it is to see my baby Bananas mess up and make a stinky over and over again makes me ponder how God should be frustrated with me. How many messes have I made in my life? Too many, that's for sure. But God keeps reaching down with his gentle hand to let me know he loves me. An unconditional love like God's is beyond comparison to my love for my puppy. While sometimes I'd like to think I love Bananas (and Bambi, my very well-trained pomeranian) more than anything, I'm reminded that no love is greater than that of our Heavenly Father's.

No matter how many stinkies we make, we can rest in the knowledge that God will never leave us nor forsake us. Instead, he wipes our slates clean every morning and waits for us to call out to him.

While watching my husband clean up the latest stinky from Bananas, I thought about something else as well. We always groan and yell and huff and puff when we clean up her messes. And then we give her a hopeless look with our eyes like we're just so disappointed. Is this how God feels when we don't do what he's trying to teach us?

I believe raising a puppy and one day a child (or four) will humble me and my hubby, showing us that unconditional love is not sappy nor easy. It's a rather difficult thing to pull off. It puts the unexplainable grace and mercy God shows us each day in perspective.

Next time I'm cleaning up Banana's stinky, I hope I'll remember the many, many times God's cleaned up after me. I'll welcome her back up in my lap and pray she learns the way of her Father.

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