Lisa’s thoughts on offense vs. needs…
When I have a concern to share with my husband, I want him to listen and hear what I have to say. This doesn’t always go the way I plan because usually the thing I want to talk to him about is something he is doing that is hurting me. This same scenario plays itself out when Greg approaches me about something I am doing that is hurting him, I often get offended and then I don’t really hear what is going on that is hurting him.
So I had to ask myself, is my offense getting in the way of me meeting Greg’s needs?
Approaching each other about things that hurt is not easy, the response is usually one of defensiveness or offense. No one wants to hear that something they have been doing is hurtful, in fact, we usually will throw out an insult about something our spouse has done that is either similar or hurts us in the same way and before we know it we are in conflict!
Why is it so hard to just listen to what our spouse is telling us and say sorry?
After an encounter like this I sometimes have to stop and take a long hard look in the mirror and say “you’re not so perfect either there princess” and quit picking my husband apart in my head. If I am really feeling mature that day, I will seek God for assistance and let Him show me where to go. These two proverbs have corrected me more than once.
Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back. Proverbs 29:11 NLT
Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish. Proverbs 18:13 NLT
If I get truthful with myself about it, I usually don’t let Greg finish sharing with me what is hurting him before I decide to take offense and just hurt him all over again. And the kicker is, all I have managed to do is hurt him more and make him far more hesitant to approach me again when he has something else to share with me.
I guess the answer to the question I posed is yes, my offense does get in the way of me meeting my spouse’s needs and it get in the way of him meeting mine.
I remember hearing about a speaker who told a group of married couples at a seminar that the person who will move forward first in conflict is the one who is “more mature” and I find that this isn’t always me. I am going to try to pay more attention to what I am doing that is hurting my husband and I bet it will make him more willing to pay more attention to what he is doing that is hurting me.
Someone has to take the first step…