Responding to Hurt
My husband had been out of town for three days and didn’t call me once. All I got were a few short texts telling me “Landed,” “At convention” and “Leaving.” That’s a lot less than I usually get.
Normally, I can overlook little things like that by just letting them go, but this time, I chose to be mad. As a result, we ended up having a stressful weekend with arguing instead of doing the fun things we had planned.
Driving to the store on Monday, I was silently praying and asking God to make me willing to take the first step to reconcile things if He wanted me to (dumb question) and literally a few seconds later, I see this sign on the side of the road: “Treat others the way you want to be treated. Try it and see what happens.”
I came home and hugged my husband and said, “I’m sorry for being mad and arguing this weekend. I was really hurt that you didn’t call.” He hugged me back and said, “I’m sorry.”
It was done. That’s all it took.
What is the takeaway from my mistake? When we are hurt, the best way to respond is to simply let our husbands know how we feel in a loving way. Pouting, ignoring, getting mad, and punishing only make things worse. Of course, if we can overlook the little things– the things that aren’t a big deal, that’s an option too. Complaining about too much too often makes us seem naggy and petty.
Proverbs 19:11 says, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is his glory to overlook an offense” (NIV). When you can overlook an offense by offering grace, it brings peace to your relationship.
There are things though that must be brought up. Speaking the truth in love means you care enough about your marriage to confront what matters when necessary. Responding to your hurt can bring peace and reconciliation in the long run, even though it might stir things up in the short run.
Here are examples of when to not let something go, and you need to communicate hurt:
- You will be resentful if you don’t say anything.
- You can’t let move past it without talking with him about it.
- Someone is being harmed.
- It is a clear matter of right or wrong.
When you need to speak up, you can do it in a way that is respectful rather than argumentative. You can use “I” statements that take responsibility for your own feelings and thoughts. You can avoid attacks which increase defensive responses.
Communication is healthy. Conflict resolution is healthy. Nursing your anger and arguing rather than owning your feelings and taking responsibility isn’t healthy.
The next time you are hurt or irritated over something that your husband does, ask yourself: Is it a little deal or a big deal? If it’s a little deal, let it go. If it’s a big deal, speak the truth in love to your husband by owning your feelings and using “I” statements.
Wife Step: Is there something that you are upset with your husband for? Is it a little thing or a big thing? If it is a little thing, choose to let it go. If it is a big thing, decide how you will bring it up with your husband.
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.