A Beautiful, Feminine Example of How to Handle Conflict

Posted on October 12, 2014 by


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A reader allowed me to share her comments from “Godly Femininity – Part 1.” Thank you, my sweet sister!!!! Please note ladies, this is an example where the husband did not purposely try to hurt his wife.

READER:

So humbling…… Yesterday, I did so poorly with my dear husband. We got into a bad argument and the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) was not what flowed from my heart or ultimately from my lips. Sometimes I marvel at how awful my heart can be when I’m not following hard after Christ. Wretched sinner. Will you please pray that I make things right with my husband today? Arguments like the one we had yesterday don’t happen often anymore, thankfully. But I’m still not sure how I could have handled it better so I don’t repeat the same scenario.

If you’re hurt by your husband and still trying to work it out in your head because you know he didn’t do it purposely, what is a better way to handle this?

We were in the car pulling into church and I was quiet because I didn’t want to say the wrong thing, then he pretty much insisted on knowing what was wrong. If you know there is no way to say it without him getting hurt or offended what do you do? The only thing I can come up with is if I’m walking so close to the Lord 100 percent of the time, I will just never be bothered by things my husband does. But that sound like it leaves any room for being human.

I do know that when the argument escalated after church that the more I tried to explain my perspective the more he just felt like a bad husband. That wasn’t at all what I meant to communicate.

If we are struggling with hurt and the timing is bad to discuss it, what’s the best response? If I would have suggested talking after church instead, he would have been angry.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

It’s ok to be hurt.
It’s ok to say that you are hurt. Sinners hurt people sometimes. It’s ok to say you are sad or in pain.
It’s ok to say that you need a bit of time to process things.
It’s ok to say, “I need to pray about this before I talk about it – to be sure I approach it in a loving, gentle, respectful way.”
Sometimes, our husbands will get upset. That is not necessarily our responsibility – I hope that makes sense. If they sin against us and it hurts us, it’s ok for them to hear that we are hurt and for them to be upset that we are hurt. Hopefully, they will then repent. That is the goal!

But we don’t have to label them as “bad” or throw them under the bus.
We don’t have to make them out to be total villains.
We can show them that we know their intentions were good and that we still have faith in them.
Something like,

“I know your heart and that you don’t ever want to hurt me. I know you probably didn’t mean for X to hurt me at all. But – X did hurt and I feel sad about it. I’m going to be ok. I’m not going to hold this against you. I think you are a fantastic husband. But I do feel hurt by this. Thanks for caring and asking me to share. Just the fact that you wanted to know what was wrong and want to try to fix things makes me feel so much better.”

Sometimes men will internalize anything where we feel hurt to mean they are “failures.” That is not true, and it is not usually what we are trying to say. Our husbands have growing to do, too. They are not going to be perfect, just like we are not going to be perfect. We can work on our end and we can pray about how to approach things and seek to honor God. And we can ask God to work in our husbands, too – for His glory.

Men tend to get upset when their women aren’t happy. They tend to think that if we aren’t happy, they are “not good enough” as men. I personally don’t want my husband to measure his success as a man by my feelings! My feelings are not always completely dependable. I want him to care about my feelings. But I don’t want my feelings to have the final say about his worth. My prayer is that men and women will seek to please Christ primarily and seek His approval, finding our worth in Christ alone! And I pray that we will all be able to take responsibility if we do accidentally hurt each other and seek to move toward each other and reconciliation.

Much love to you!

READER:

Dear Sweet April,
Can I hug your neck a while while I cry? You are so kind and gentle in your responses. I so appreciate you!

I think what you said is enough for me to go on. Very helpful and validating.

That last part about men feeling like failures when their wives aren’t happy–so true, and sort of sad, really. But on the flip side, when I am super happy, he just beams. (Sigh. Such a heavy responsibility to have that impact on another person.)
READER LATER:

I had left him a note of apology this morning but he still seemed very annoyed with me when he left the house. Thus, my comments….

Well, he just got home and presented me with a peace offering – cheesecake! :^)

I thanked him with a hug and told him when I feel hurt, it doesn’t mean he’s a bad husband. And also, that I know he’d never purposely hurt me and I know he has a good heart….He had such a tender sweet expression when I said those things.
Any ladies reading this who are really struggling in your marriages, please know that in my 21 years of marriage, most of those years were really hard and it was a painful, long road before arguments became not the norm for us. I’m so glad we didn’t give up back then. Even when we have misunderstandings now, they are gotten over so much quicker. Hang in there Ladies, and keep seeking God’s wisdom.

Praying for you all. xx

FROM PEACEFULWIFE:

Aw! What a wonderful answer to our prayers!

(Ladies, what this wife said was BEAUTIFUL!!! I think she did a much better job than my example. I can tell she was listening to God’s Spirit when she decided what to say. That is the most important thing – not my specific example.)

I am proud of you for leaving him alone during the day and giving him time to process. Some men, like my husband, need some time to think through things and access their feelings and work through emotions on their own for awhile.
I also love that you recognized that the cheesecake was his way of apologizing, an olive branch. Sometimes men apologize in gestures of good will rather than words, and sometimes women can miss this! We as women often think words are a more powerful apology, but some men tend to feel that “words are cheap” and that actions are a lot more meaningful. So, bravo for recognizing his heart.
And I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you said to him. That was glorious. I appreciate you sharing his response to your words. Such a precious moment. This is how you build a strong marriage and how next time, things will get easier because he will remember that you didn’t castrate him and that you trust his heart and appreciate him.
Wow.

Thank you for sharing what God has done and how He prompted you to respond. This is beautiful!!

READER:

You doubled my joy with your feedback! I almost didn’t share how things ended for fear it might hurt another woman whose battles in marriage don’t fix up so well yet.

As I thought about my husband’s expression a little longer, I think he really needed to hear those words you suggested. I think they felt healing to him. I should tatoo them on my arm for future reference. But seriously, I think I need to start journaling these things that help because I forget so easily.

SHARE:

I would love to hear some examples of ways God has inspired you to handle conflict that honored your man and restored unity and emotional/spiritual intimacy in your relationship. If you have godly examples to share, I may be able to use your story in a future post. 🙂

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