My husband and I are not compatible.
Oops! Did I actually just write that?
Alright, don’t freak out, everyone. I love my husband with all my heart and I actually think he’s pretty much the coolest guy ever. He also gave me his full permission to publish this blog post, as he struggled to regain control of his incredibly loud and obnoxious laughter after reading it. Are we all satisfied now? If not, I will repeat: My husband is awesome!
For all who know me, and you don’t even really need to know me that well, you know that I am brutally honest. When I say brutal, I don’t mean I walk around calling people fat. I’m honest, not rude. If you know me, you know where you stand, and if you’re unsure, then you really are not paying attention. Most can read the emotions on my face like a full-out encyclopedia. I hide nothing and secret keeping is not a strength. You can probably even tell that from the information I reveal on this blog.
I am not necessarily saying this is a good characteristic, but I’m also not ready to label it as a bad thing. Being a painfully honest person has gotten me into trouble in the past, but it also has allowed me to build amazing, lifelong friendships with people I can trust, and in turn, they trust me.
My husband is not a brutally honest person, farthest thing from it. He’s not a liar either. The existence of his opinions is questionable most of the time, simply because he chooses not to reveal them. He would much rather stay silent than speak at all, a phenomenon I am still trying figure out. Sometimes, I wish I possessed even a minuscule amount of his self-control. Even when asked, he will rarely reveal the truth to you, until you’ve asked about 99 more times. This is not because my husband has no opinions, does not care, and hates to tell the truth. This is because he generally has not developed an opinion the first time you ask him. He does not spend time thinking about things that don’t concern him, and it usually takes him a couple conversations before he feels confident enough in his opinion to reveal it.
I, on the other hand, do not need to feel confident in my opinion before I reveal it. It is my opinion. Take it or leave it. I may change it or I may keep it, but if you ask me how I’m feeling I will tell you with little to no hesitation.
A good portion of these differences between myself and the man I married could probably be blamed upon the fact that I am a woman and my husband is a man. This is no longer a guarantee amid out society, so thank goodness for that. However, we seem to take the opposite way in which we choose to communicate to a whole new level, a height that would terrify most. In fact, it terrifies me a little bit.
I will tell you now that my husband and I do not have it all figured out. We even, dare I say, fight about this very thing on occasion. There are times when his silence becomes so deafening that my opinion cannot be kept to myself any longer, which usually results in me exploding all over him. Poor guy. Through three years of marriage, we have found that brutal honesty and silent resignation are a dangerous combination—a very dangerous combination indeed.
As a wife who strongly desires to serve and honor her Father by serving and honoring her husband, I have found that a certain amount of patience must be employed when I set out to unpack my husband. When I wish to know what he is thinking, which is mostly always, I must peel him away layer by layer, like an onion.
I absolutely should not expect any results for the first few weeks. I must be the one to resign, and I must resign myself to the fact that I will not get any answers until a proper amount of effort has been instituted. If my patience becomes frayed, and my loud mouth takes the driver’s seat, all of my hard work will be for not as I watch my husband shut down all of his emotions, opinions, and even his ability to express basic words. In a man who is hard to read, it is painfully obvious when I click his power button—he pretty much goes blacker than a television set and I am left to wait it out until the power returns. When I choose not to wait, and force the issue, a dreaded fight ensues.
God has taught me some extraordinary lessons in my first years of marriage. The confusion with which I view my husband at times has put me through some torturous moments:
Is he going to talk?Is he going to talk?
Is he going to talk?!?!?!?
OMG is he EVER going to talk!??!?!?!?
This is roughly the progression of my thoughts as I stare into the face of my husband, after speaking for several minutes, wondering if I would have received more feedback had I been talking to the wall instead.
Alas, I must admit, with much indignation, that being married to a silent human has, in turn, made me a better human. There. I said it. I don’t know that I will ever learn to entirely rely upon my patience as I wait my husband out: it is just so much easier to allow my smooth talk and extremely large mouth to monopolize a conversation, somehow hoping that the more I speak, the more likely he will speak—Obviously no logic is employed with this technique and it never fails to further exasperate my original dilemma.
So in those moments that my husband does not offer me the truth and conversation I desire, I will depend upon God to not only provide me with what my husband cannot, but also to teach me how to control my tongue. After all, anyone who has ever opened the book of Proverbs knows that one’s tongue can be one’s folly.
Marriage is hard. Oh, it is so hard. However, the Lord created it and fully intends for it to glorify Him while setting an example in a world that so easily gives up on it. That is why us wives (this is me hoping I’m not alone), as we stare into the face of our onions, must remember that despite his shortcomings and his imperfections, we are called to be his helpmate, his support, his encouragement—and more than that, we are to submit to him. If that means that we must guess what it is he needs instead of hearing it from his lips, then so be it. A little challenge never killed anyone, and everyone knows that peeling an onion takes some patience, and sometimes a few tears.
And finally, if after much effort, the skin refuses to release from the onion, just grab the knife and start chopping… 😉