Marriage Monday: Be a Student of Your Spouse

If you missed it, I mentioned yesterday that we finally, FINALLY, FINE-UH-LEE, have a contract on our house (praise pause -- lift your hands)! Of course, I won't tell you all the gory details that went into landing on a happy medium for the contract.

But for Marriage Monday I wanted to talk about something I have figured out the hard way about dealing with stressful situations like that with Troy (husband): be a student of his. No, don't sit at his feet and let him instruct me (if I did, World War II and Remington shotguns would be the subject matter - - yawn...).

I mean study HIM. Know his stressors, anxieties, and what makes him happy. Know what makes him feel as if he's accomplished something. Know when it's okay to have those conversations (oddly enough, Troy never likes me to hit him with the big stuff as we are laying down to go to sleep...)

By way of example, I present to you trying to sell a house. For instance, we got an offer on Friday. Troy was heading into a lunch meeting in Dallas when I told him the details of it. The offer wasn't what we wanted, but I had a counter-offer plan. However, knowing my husband the way I do (I'm a slow student, but I did eventually learn), I knew not to discuss it with him immediately.

So. I waited. I waited for him to drive in from Dallas. I knew he didn't want to discuss it then, or at all Friday evening. It. Was. KILLING!! ME!! But I said NOT a word...

Saturday morning, Troy had to go meet a resume' client, and I simply reminded him that IF we were going to counter, that it would need to be signed papers, big hairy deal, and we should probably get it squared away while he was in town. He, knowing ME the way he does, could feel me vibrating under the surface and KNEW it was killing me. We came to an agreement and agreed on a time to meet the realtor.

We gave a counter offer. The buyers countered THAT offer. It was Saturday evening -- 8-ish, maybe? I knew Troy was NOT going to come to a decision that night. I just zipped my mouth and watched my movie (oooh -- GREAT movie for marriage Monday, BTW: "Why Did I Get Married?") So I waited again (having a plan in my head, but knowing it was NOT time to discuss it).

We countered AGAIN on Sunday morning, and they accepted that. Thank you, Jesus.

You may look at this as manipulation or "playing" my husband. No, this was letting my husband deal with an already stressful situation in the best way he can. He is a VERY thorough and methodical person -- it's one of the things I adore about him, and it's one of the things that drives me kazonkers about him.

I gave him time to look at and explore and think about what was going on. He also had time to just vent to me about the stress the last year has been -- and I would have missed that if I had pushed him to make a decision the minute he walked through the door Friday evening.

It has taken me a LOT of years to learn this. I don't like it any better, but it has helped de-stress already stressful situations for me to let him be himself through these situations. Because I respect his need for time to process, he listens carefully when I tell him, "Okay, that's enough thinking and looking. Time for action."

Realize your spouse won't handle situations like you do. It's one of the greatest blessings the two of you have together -- each other's strengths. Give him/her the opportunity to use those strengths without trying to turn him/ her into you, especially in times of stress.


Julie@comehaveapeace said...

Sarah, this is so wise. It's really a way to show our husband our love by knowing him well and paying attention to what makes him who he is. This is a great addition to Marriage Mondays. Thanks for linking!


Roxanne said...

And THAT is why "last year" went the way it did. I've been a student a LONG time, and have learned more than enough to know how those chips were gonna fall if I did what *I* wanted to do. AND? Well, it turned out to be dead on. . .it takes mine a little longer to move along the path, but once he starts, he keeps a steady forward pace. I love him. I'm proud to be his wife.

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