When to get upset… and when to relax

When having a conversation with one of my friends, I tend to relax and enjoy my time. Even if my friend says something contrary to how I think or believe, I don’t get upset. I shrug it off and keep enjoying the conversation. I may not even notice a mistake in the conversation at all.

Why does all of that change when communicating with my spouse?

When we talk, I’m sure that Audrey does not say anything worse than a friend. She says how she feels and talks openly with me, but often times I get upset. Why?

I’ll try to explain a) why it is ok to get upset, b) why I tend to get upset, and c) why I should not get upset but enjoy the ride.

When it is okay to get upset: 

  1. If/when we are not on the same page with raising the children.
  • It is okay to be upset in this scenario because it is important for the parenting couple to really work towards unity in shaping their children. Be it through diet, proactive character development measures, or discipline, parents should be on the same page.

2. If/when we are not on the same page with our religious affiliation.

  • If we struggle with our beliefs, then we should be able to openly engage in conversation. These conversations may get heated, but they also must be constructive. In this topic I am including conversations about your place of worship. Some men don’t want to go to church which leaves the women and children going to church alone. You have to figure something out in this scenario, and don’t give up until this situation is rectified.

3. If/when we struggle with addictions.

  • Addictions happen to people. I know that people first make the choice, but that internal desire to cling to an addiction is a powerful force that must be dealt with through love, prayer, and patience. With that being said, a wife should not have to fight for a man’s attention due to his addiction. She should show emotion then and not give up on him. Likewise, a husband should not have to fight for intimacy because his wife is too busy shopping, cleaning, on the smart phone, etc.

Of course, there are more reasons to fight in a marriage (for the marriage), but that’s all I’ll include here. Please just begin to use your discernment and ask yourself if it is truly worth the fight or is it a time when you should shrug it off and laugh.

Reasons that I get upset:

  1. When my wife says something in the wrong tone.
  2. When I feel criticized about what I haven’t done when I feel that I have done a lot.
  3. When I don’t get my way… it may take too long to leave the house

There is a lot that can be said in just the tone of your voice. I know that I certainly do not use the proper tone-of-voice in many situations. When I don’t, Audrey calls me on it. She says that I sound really snappy, and then I claim that I’m just trying to get whatever it is done. I really should watch my tone, recognize it, apologize, and move forward. Rather than casting it back on Audrey by saying that she is being too sensitive, I should recognize the miscommunication on my part. This recognition allows for a more pleasurable day in all.

I also get really upset when I feel criticized about not doing enough at home. I am a guy who does help out, but I am also one who takes care of myself. Therefore, I may eat when others are still hungry; I may take a nap even though my wife is busy with the kids, cooking, etc. With all that being said, I do dishes on a regular basis, help the kids to bed, and take my son outside when I get home so that we can have some time together. I try to get honey-do lists completed in a timely manner (there are a lot of loose-ends), but there is only so much time in the day. A big portion of the day has to be devoted to work, so it’s hard to notice what kind of impact I have on the daily chores. (I know it’s not much.) I still feel like I make a significant impact, and it hurts when it is suggested otherwise.

Reasons why I should just drop it.

My wife is the only person on Earth that supports me to the end of the world. She knows what it is I want and need in life and is here to support me. She is not an enemy, and she never (I mean never) speaks poorly of me. So why do I take it so personally when we disagree?

If I can back up, take a breath, and find the humor in the moment, then we may both be able to enjoy the conversation. Making this choice sends us into a more playful mode rather than argue. If we choose to argue, it could worsen our attitudes for  the remainder of the day. Often times it is more important to have a good day with each other than it is to be right about whatever it is we are arguing over.

I encourage you, friend, to find the humor in situations this week. Start enjoying each moment with your spouse and kids. Enjoying the moments is almost just as important as having the moment. If you are devoting your time to your family, make it a pleasurable experience so that you will stay committed to it.

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