Not Stupid, Different
“Stop talking to me like I’m stupid,” my husband said to me. “I hate that tone.”
I didn’t respond because if I said something it would have had the same tone.
Honestly, this exchange occurred too often.
I needed to figure out what was at the root of my tone, so I decided to pay attention to what I was feeling when I used it. I discovered it was irritation, impatience, and annoyance.
My husband doesn’t catch on as fast as I want him to. He doesn’t listen to details, so I tell him the same thing multiple times. He asks me to help him with the same things—day after day—things that aren’t that hard to do. He doesn’t intuitively get things like I do, and he doesn’t often understand emotions and people. He doesn’t move as fast as I want him to either, and he doesn’t think ahead about what needs to be done next. Should I keep going? I could and I bet you could too if you were listing the things that annoy you about your husband.
So why is it like this? Why is it often so easy to fixate on all that our husbands could do differently?
Besides our different personalities, which do play a role, we are different genders—male and female. And science shows men’s brains differ from women’s brains in an important way. They have more gray matter and we have more white matter. This means that men are programmed to do one thing at a time by focusing on that to the exclusion of other things. Women are the opposite. White matter connects parts of the brain, so we have pathways that connect different areas which allows us to do lots of things at the same time. Bottom line? God made us different. Not wrong, just different.
Different only becomes a problem when we allow it to become a problem. Far too often women put down men for being different instead of appreciating how they are different. This dynamic leads to a breakdown in marriages and families, impacting generations.
What we can do instead is appreciate our husbands for who God created them to be. Our husbands aren’t stupid, they’re different. The sooner we understand this, the sooner we’ll give grace and show respect for the men they are. A loving tone conveys mature understanding of celebrating differences within a marriage union.
I’ve changed my thoughts and gotten rid of the condescending tone. Will you do the same with yours?
Wife Step: When does your tone of voice show your husband you are annoyed? How do you need to adjust your thoughts so that your tone changes?
Karla Downing, the founder of ChangeMyRelationship.com, offers Christian marriage help and Christian relationship help as a speaker, author, counselor, and Bible study teacher. Karla grew up in a dysfunctional family and then found herself struggling with Christian codependency in her own difficult marriage. Through her personal struggles, she discovered biblical and practical principles, which she now teaches to others. She also trains counselors, pastors, women’s ministry leaders, church leaders, small-group leaders, non-profit ministry leaders, and individuals to minister to Christians in difficult relationships. Karla’s passion is to see individuals, marriages, and families set free from the chains of dysfunction, misunderstanding, and emotional pain through a correct understanding of what the Bible teaches about relationships.
Karla Downing is the author of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association 2004 Silver Medallion Award winner, 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages. Her second book, When Love Hurts: 10 Principles to Transform Difficult Relationships, applies the same principles to all family members. Her third book, The Truth in the Mirror: A Guide to Healthy Self-Image, offers a unique and life-changing approach to looking at self-image.
She holds a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy from Hope International University. Karla also holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in Communicative Disorders from California State University, Fullerton. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a licensed Speech Language Pathologist. Karla was also the director of Friends in Recovery, a Christ-based, Twelve-Step recovery program.
Karla lives in Southern California. She has been married for over thirty years and has three adult daughters.