When You and Your Husband Are Not On The Same Page
It was the middle of a busy week when our evening plans were suddenly cancelled. I let out a sigh of relief, happy to have a quiet evening at home with our kids, perhaps followed by a movie in our pajamas.
Meanwhile, the sudden availability in our schedule prompted my husband to text several families to see if anyone would like to get together. As you can imagine, there was a bit of tension when our miscommunication and opposite personality preferences met each other at the end of the day.
It is no secret that opposites attract. While we did expect to one day find our differences to be challenging, we were surprised to find that being “united as one” doesn’t mean we always grow, change and mature as one.
One of my first encounters with these differences had to do with our attitudes. I discovered that our moods didn’t match as much as they had while in our season of dating. One of us would be having a great day while the other was what we call “feeling blah”, in other words, indifferent with a touch of gloom. Unknowingly, we started playing the mood game, where one tries to cheer the other up but usually gets sucked into the negativity, or worse, becomes resentful and frustrated.
We have also experienced differences in our growth when one of us feels personally challenged in a particular discipline, such as diet, exercise, and routines. Last year after a busy fall season of full time work and night classes, my husband felt run down and in need of a healthy change. He decided to try a new diet two weeks before Christmas. As the insufferable sweet-tooth that I am, that news came at the worst time. I’m usually open to trying new healthy habits, but this was right in the middle of baking and feasting season! How could he suggest such a thing?
Moods and diets are minimal, though, compared to not being on the same growth trajectory in our life journey. “Different” takes on a whole new level when a couple goes through something difficult together, and navigates the difficulty in different ways.
A few years back my husband and I experienced an extremely difficult year, full of loss and unexpected job transitions. Everything in our life changed and we could not understand what God was doing in our life. We entered the foreign land of grief with little more than the hope that someday it might all make sense. We were told that grief hits you in waves, that the long journey out of there is full of ups and downs. What we didn’t know was that those hills and valleys weren’t going to necessarily coincide for both of us at the same time.
We found ourselves frustrated when one of us experienced some breakthrough of peace and trust in God, while the other was still wrestling with confusion and discouragement.
For you, it may be the loss of a job, a difficult move, marriage problems, or the loss of a loved one. Maybe it’s a struggle with infertility or health. As people going into marriage, we know we will sometimes face hard times in life. The unexpected part is that we each respond and heal from these experiences in different ways.
The Potential Threat
Whether it’s serious life-altering situations, or mere annoyances, not being on the same page hurts. It hurts because it highlights the fact that although we are made one through marriage, there is still a deep ache inside that our spouse cannot fill. We all want to be fully known and fully loved, and yet we will experience moments and maybe even seasons where we feel alone in our marriage journey. If left here without redirection, resentment will grow.
In our most unhealthy moments, we can let the reality of our differences define our worth, spiraling into insecurity or shame. But in our healthiest moments, we can find freedom in our differences, taking our human brokenness to the only one who can help us, our Heavenly Father.
Those dark moments of disparity between us have taught me that my belief in God has to be greater than my belief in us as a couple. I believe in us, in the divine combination of our strengths and weaknesses to yield results beyond our dreams. Together we have a purpose that we couldn’t achieve alone. But when my husband doesn’t make sense, or I did that thing again, or we just can’t get each other out of the murky mess we find ourselves in, there has to be someone greater. And there is.
Whether we have exhausted all the arguments or withheld all the words in stony silence, there is One who is more interested in our harmony than we are. When our hearts are committed to God, He is faithful to bring us back to peace. But often this path back to peace involves an unseen process inside each of us in the areas where we need growth. Instead of trying to “fix” our relationship ourselves, we can trust God to grow us and love us in our unique way.
What a reunion of our hearts it is when we’ve trusted God to do in us what we cannot do ourselves. When we allow each other the mental and emotional space to hear from God and to gain His perspective, we come back to each other full of joy and appreciation for the friend we get to journey life with.
Even after twelve years of marriage, my husband and I still find ourselves on different pages sometimes, both in small things and in serious things. On our better days, we have learned to speak truth with humility and love so that we can reset and find peace again. As a wife, I have grown so much in trusting my Heavenly Father because I have seen Him change things in my heart and in my husband’s heart that we could have never achieved on our own. I encourage you, friend, trust Him with your story.
Wife Step: What can you do to turn your focus towards trusting God with your differences rather than trying to fix them?
Joy was born and raised in Mexico, but fell in love with a Minnesota guy. More than a decade, many geographical locations, and four kids later, they are currently settled in the city of Minneapolis, MN. Together they love helping couples discover the incredible adventure marriage was intended to be. They have led many marriage small groups, ministries and retreats, but their favorite way to connect with other couples is by simply sharing life together. Although homeschooling, parenting and helping run their vacation rental take up most of her days, Joy is always finding ways to sneak in time for writing, reading, design and coffee with friends. You can find her posting on Instagram @joy.ballard or @theriverlodgemn. Photo credit: Woodford Sisters Photography