It hurts me to see and hear couples be highly critical, complaining, demeaning and demanding of each other. The husband feels like he can never please his wife no matter what he does because of her constant nagging.
He starts spending less time at home because the message he constantly feels is “I am not good enough” and “I am failing”. On the flip side, at work his efforts are admired and his accomplishments are praised. Is it any wonder why he pours more time, energy and effort into his work life and less into his home and family life?
“It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife.” Proverbs 21:9
“A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike” Proverbs 27:15
I am NOT saying a wife can not bring up issues or concerns. But I think the tone, timing and words used are of critical importance!
I had an opportunity to put this into practice recently. When Blake and I began dating he rarely opened the doors for me. I grew up with a chivalrous father who always opened the door for my mother and me. My dad also taught my younger brother to do the same. I began to expect this polite gesture and was accustomed to men opening the door for ladies. I really appreciate that small act of care that demonstrates kindness and respect. (Even when a man is leaving the gym and holds the door open for me I feel immense gratitude and respect).
I know this is a small example but the lack of opening the door was enough of a concern to bring it to Blake’s attention and talk about it. I did not stuff my feelings and ignore the issue.
I could have said “Blake, why don’t you act like a gentleman and open the door for me?” But this is phrased in a way that is discourteous, disrespectful and demeaning.
I pondered how to communicate my request in a way that would be considerate. So what I said was, “Blake, I really feel respected and loved when the door is opened for me. Could you do that for me and be my knight in shining armor?”
Can you see how the tone is different? Yet, the heart of the request remains the same- Can you open the door for me? The second phrase respected his masculinity and asked him to rise to the occasion while the other squashed his character. Do you see the difference?
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29
Before you bring a request or concern to someone consider how to best phrase it so that they will be open and receptive to the message.