She was going to be late.
And not just a I-have-3-kids-under-3 late. She was that kind of late 20 minutes ago.
Then she was I-really-wasn’t-prepared-for-this late.
And now she was just LATE.
And still not leaving.
There he was getting stuff out of the shed.
What was he doing? What was he getting? Doesn’t he know why time it is? Doesn’t he care about how being late makes me feel? Does he not want me to go? These thoughts swam around her head as she got more and more upset.
When the trunk finally snapped shut and he got in the car with her, she remembered that how she asked questions had a lot to do with the answer she got and whether she’d be simply getting information or starting an argument. “What did you put into the trunk just now?” she asked trying to keep the frustration out of her voice.
“Oh, that. Well I know how important this event is to you. So I put together a box of emergency supplies – a hammer, screwdriver, duct tape, an extension cord, plus a phone charger, Band-Aids, and a diet Coke. Should be able to get you through whatever happens today.”
She was amazed. Here she was huffing and puffing and he’d been doing something truly thoughtful for her. As she smiled at him, he added, “I probably forgot something you would have remembered but between the two of us I bet we thought of almost everything.”
She leaned over and gave him a big kiss. “Thank you! What a great idea. You thought of things I missed. You are so supportive.”
Now I bet like the wife in our story, you sometimes have a way of doing something that looks nothing like how your husband would do it and vice versa.
Our thoughts, body language, and yes, even our words turn critical, unloving, and disrespectful when things start going differently than we had planned.
When you feel the ugly monster of criticism roaring up inside of you, remember these steps for turning the situation around.
- Take a deep breath. Take a few if you need to.
- Ask God to help calm your frustration and to see true things about your husband and the situation.
- Speak this truth out loud: My husband has different ways of doing things and that doesn’t make them bad, just different. I choose to believe that he is acting with my best interests at heart even if I can’t see it. Then add the truths that God might be revealing to you in the situation (in our story it might be things like: my husband is helping me, he has a reason for doing this right this moment, he also has things to do but is taking time to do this so it must be important, etc.)
- Continue to think of the situation positively. This may mean changing thoughts from “why is he always making me late” to “I’m interested to find out his thoughts on this.”
- When you have the chance to talk with him, avoid why questions. Try what questions that are not accusing. “What was in that box?” Like the question from our story is a good one. If you have a hard time asking a question that doesn’t sound critical (been there) be sure to be honest but not emotional in the responses you give and statements you make (there is a great example if this in Dare 32 in the book).
- Be careful not to add any criticism onto the end of your statements or questions. Sometimes we feel like our concern really needs to be heard so we add an emotional statement at the end of an otherwise nice sentence. Avoid phrases like “well that’s not what I would have done” or “what does it matter if I’m late” or anything that has a little jab to it. Whatever you pay attention to grows, right? So in that moment choose to thank him for the good things that he did and let those grow.
- Choose to believe that he has your best interests at heart. Remember that as you move forward from this moment and into the future interactions.
How do you think this list will help you in future interactions? Share in the comments!!
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