Dear Wife Who Struggles Hearing Criticism
It wasn’t an audible voice. Yet, I knew the Lord spoke loud and clear, “Karen, check your heart.”
My husband does an amazing job taking care of our lawn: mowing grass, weeding the unwanted stuff, blowing leaves, and so on. And the yard usually looks great.
It was the lack of mulch—really no mulch, that had me complaining. Especially around the bushes in front of the house where no re-mulching existed for two years. Now, there was only dirt—dirt!
So I made the point to my husband of how wonderful the yard looked right after he finished working on it. Then, I said it. “But around the bushes looks horrible. We need to re-mulch. I’m really surprised you’ve let it go this long.”
Was it true we hadn’t put mulch down in two years? Yes. Was it true I had mentioned it a few times before? Yes. Did my husband agree that it had gone neglected? Yes. But was it also true that I had a hidden issue of insecurity in my heart? YES.
As wives, we often have hidden issues lying in the deep places of our hearts, and the Lord knows.
You see, the day before my mulch comment, my husband made an observation of his own about the shower in one of our bathrooms. “The shower looks awful around the handle and faucet—lots of build up of something.”
(Well!) Insert a sigh and eye-roll here.
Oh, yeah, my insecurity kicked in. Insecurities I’ve struggled with my entire life: my need to be seen as good enough and my efforts also viewed as enough, to be secure in who I am and in my roles…especially as a wife. “I guess the maid (me) didn’t scrub it hard enough on the last cleaning. It won’t be there the next time you take a shower. You can count on that!”
Because my husband pointed out the shower issue, I pointed out the lawn issue. Because he questioned an area I’m responsible for, I questioned an area he’s responsible for. All because of insecurity.
And the Lord saw it in my heart long before it formed a thought in my head, and way ahead of when a pay-back comment rolled off my lips.
There’s no question my approach and communication with my husband could have been handled more respectfully. When communication is driven by insecurities, it cuts rather than connects. I was only trying to do to him what I felt he did to me.
Instead, I could have taken my hurt to the Lord and not blown my husband’s criticism out of proportion, and not made a retaliating remark.
When we go to the Lord first, He reveals what the real hidden issue is. That I am sometimes insecure as a wife, I don’t have it all together, and that’s okay.
There’s no need for me to feel threatened by admitting I didn’t do something right, because it doesn’t make who I am wrong, or even less than. It just makes me human.
The honest truth: I want my shower to be clean and mulch to line our landscaping so the outside of my home looks its best. The honest insecurity: when my husband communicates a flaw in our home, I feel personally attacked.
But beyond these honest feelings, I desire a heart like Christ. A heart that humbly admits to being in progress, that maturely receives input, and that is confident enough in Christ to not respond with a defensive attack.
All the ways of a woman are clean and innocent in her own eyes [and she may see nothing wrong with her actions], But the Lord weighs and examines the motives and intents [of the heart and knows the truth]. (Proverbs 16:2 AMP, Emphasis mine, changes from man to woman and his to her and she, also mine.)
Your friend, Karen.
Grab your copy of Dear Wife: 10 Minute Invitations to Practice Connection with Your Husband, to help building a stronger marriage today!
Wife Step: Pray this prayer: Father, You know the hidden issues of my heart. You know when I am insecure as a wife and not viewing myself in Christ. Speak to me and point out when my heart is off base. Give me a heart like Christ in my marriage. In the name of Jesus. Amen
Karen Friday is a pastor’s wife and women’s ministry leader. As an award-winning writer and avid speaker, she loves words and God’s Word. For over a decade, she has balanced the busy life of church ministry with working from her home office in marketing where she is frequently referred to as Girl Friday. A blogger, Karen “Girl” Friday engages a community every week, Hope is Among Us. She has published a number of articles and devotions in both print and online media, and is currently working on her first book. Karen’s writing connects family life experiences, Christian ministry, and real life scenarios as women to the timeless truths of Scripture. Vulnerable about her own marriage journey, Karen knows life never gets more real than as a wife. Karen and her husband Mike have two grown children and a grandson. The entire family is fond of the expression, “TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday.” They owe Monday an apology.
Visit her blog at KarenGirlFriday.com