When He Hands You an Olive Branch

Posted on February 17, 2014 by


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(As always, I assume that if you are dating someone, he is a strong believer in Christ, and you are, too. I assume that you are both completely submitted to following Jesus first and that He is your greatest priority in life by far. God commands us to be obedient to His Word and to live holy lives by the power of His Spirit living in us. We cannot continue in sin if we belong to Christ and He is our Lord. It is His will that we only marry other believers who are truly LIVING for Christ and that we and our men have much fruit of God’s Spirit in our lives on a daily basis.)

Sometimes, guys have their own way of apologizing.  If we are not careful, we might miss what they are doing and not appreciate the significance of their gestures.

If you and your man have had an argument, he may need time to think and process what happened before he is ready to talk about how he feels. That has to be ok! I encourage you not to pressure him to “resolve the conflict right now” if he is the kind of guy who needs time to think through highly emotionally charged issues. Some men need a day or so to think through what they are feeling. That is not wrong.

Maybe, he will decide that he did wrong you in some way, and maybe he will try to apologize by doing something kind, thoughtful and generous for you. Sometimes men will DO something as a way of apologizing like:

  • bring you a gift
  • invite you to go somewhere fun
  • tell you a joke to try to get you to laugh
  • offer you a hug
  • touch you in some way – to show that her wants to reconnect
  • do something silly and playful

These things may not seem like an “official apology” to us as women, but for many men, this is exactly what they are doing – they are offering us an “olive branch” and saying, “I do love you. I want to make things right. I don’t want to fight with you. Please forgive me. We are ok.”

If he does something like this, maybe we could say something like, “Apology accepted,” then smile brightly and give a hug back.  Instead of trying to force our men to use the words we want them to use, maybe we can learn to understand their language and appreciate the unique ways they communicate. If they do apologize in words, that is wonderful! But words are not the only way a person may try to apologize. That is not necessarily wrong. It may just be different.

It is possible we may need to have more discussion about some issues. But, really, there are other issues where more discussion may be more harmful than helpful. That will require the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to help us decide when it is best to drop an issue and when it is best to seek to talk more about it. Some issues are not resolvable. Some times we are going to just not agree. Sometimes the more we try to force our opinion and our way, the more damage we do. There are some issues we cannot compromise about – when it comes to things that are major biblical principles or when it comes to living holy lives and avoiding sin. Other things are really not that big of a deal and may be things that would be better to allow God to speak to our men about without us trying to force our way. We are not always going to get to do everything we want to do in our relationships. Our way is not always best. We are not always right. Sometimes, God will lead us through our men and the outcome will be infinitely better than what we desired to do.

My prayer is that we will cling tightly to Christ alone, and hold everything else very loosely in our hands, seeking God’s will, not our own. I also pray that we might be ready and willing to generously extend grace, mercy and forgiveness to our men. I pray most of all for God’s greatest glory in our lives and that He might empower us to be faithful to Himself.

FROM CHAD:

Love this post. A quick comment if it’ll help the ladies.

As men, many of us speak through our actions. If we feel like we were in the wrong, we’ll often do something to apologize. A verbal apology will usually be short, if present at all, and many men will apologize -after- acting rather than before. We do this because, to us, actions are important and we’d rather demonstrate our true feelings so that you don’t doubt them.

The second part is that, even when angry, many men can compartmentalize enough that we will still do our duty in other areas. If we’re upset with you we try not to let that affect other areas of the relationship. We try to keep an argument contained into one area so that we can consider it and address it logically as it relates to that area, rather than letting the emotions bleed through and negatively affect other aspects of a relationship.

I say this because many women will criticize their men saying, “He just acts like nothing’s wrong at all!” Most of the time that’s not true – he’s simply acting like ONE SPECIFIC thing is wrong, and sees no reason to make it an overwhelming -everything- is wrong issue.

Working in this way is how men address issues so that we can focus on the single problem. While yes, if this takes too long it can fester into bigger issues, if it is something important or that he’s considering how to act with wisdom and strength on, it can take time to come to how he wants to solve the problem. Give him the gift of your patience as he uses his time to determine how best to lead the both of you, and he will thank you for it through action and leadership as explained above.

Hope that helps.

RELATED:

How Men Think

A Husband Answers My Questions about Emotions

Sending Emails to Men

Shuanti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only” and “For Young Women Only” have very helpful information directly from a few thousand men about how men view relationships, marriage and life and how very differently they think from how women do. Many times, they are just DIFFERENT from us, not “wrong.”

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