I have this annoying tendency with my husband that starts an argument faster than a ten-second post disappears on Snapchat. You see I try to read his mind about what he is feeling when he doesn’t give me a lot of information or an overtly positive response about a request I’ve made. I’ve taken this as my cue to then try to interpret his body language, facial expressions, or even his quietness on the subject—often assuming the worst about his motives as a result.
So instead of believing the best about him, like the Bible reminds us to do:
“Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person . . .” (1 Corinthians 13:7a AMPC).
I have tended to believe the worst about him.
Recalling a Monumental and ‘Revealing’ Argument
Years ago, my pastor husband and I were attending, of all things, a marriage conference for pastor’s and their wives. This conference was in New York and on the day following the conference we were planning to go to the taping of the Today Show on the plaza. But that was really what “I” wanted to do and not so much what my husband wanted to do. He had indicated some hesitancy about it, but was willing to do it, though he wasn’t quite sure the best way to get down there.
So on the first day of the conference we were standing around talking with a few of the conference workers before going in to the first session, when my husband asked them about things to do in New York. Immediately, I noticed that he didn’t ask anything about the Today Show or how to get down there. This led me to assume the negative about his reasons for not asking.
As we made our way into the conference room, I asked my husband if the reason he didn’t ask about the Today Show was because he didn’t really want to go. This did not go over well with my husband one bit! So he began to discuss this publicly with me in what I was “assuming” was an irritated way (A “mind-reader’s” job is never done!).
Of course, his irritated tone sent my anxiety through the roof, because I surely didn’t want any of these other pastors and pastor’s wives to hear us bickering as we entered the “marriage workshop.” I hope you see the irony and humor that I now feel and see about all of this. Mind you, I didn’t feel like it was funny at the time—not one bit—but I’m happy to say that I’ve learned so much from that one encounter that I can now look back and laugh.
Truly, at the time, I wanted to pin this on my husband. But after much prayer and processing, I came to some important realizations about myself from that argument.
What this Argument with my Husband Revealed about Me
1. The wounds of my past and upbringing were in the mix.
I discovered that my motives were entangled with fears that I had let take root in my heart. My mother was a good woman, but had this one fatal flaw—she often managed others using guilt to get them to do what she wanted. I’ve done that myself a time or two, but mostly, I struggle to do things from a place of willingness, rather than obligation.
So I tend to fear that my husband is doing the same thing with me, especially when he appears to be reluctant in any way, shape or form to what I have requested of him. This has formed something of a trigger for him. He will admit that freely to all, so I’m not guilty of reading his mind on that one!
2. I needed to take my husband at his word—trusting that my husband is trustworthy.
My husband has never given me reason to doubt his trustworthiness, especially when it comes to the vows he made to me on our wedding day. I’ve just struggled so much to trust myself to say “no” when I’ve needed to, that I placed that mantle on him as well.