In marriage one spouse tends to assign blame to the other for starting the marital troubles.
For example, in courtship the husband was very talkative but after marriage he talked less, even withdrawing and stonewalling during conflict.
From the wife’s perspective, this was a bait-and-switch trick. He tricked her into thinking he was a communicative person but after marriage refused to meet her emotional need to connect via sharing hearts and feelings.
Looked at another way, however, could it be that his “closing down” after marriage is simply because of him not fully understanding how to love properly? Even as a goodwilled husband, could it be that he was unaware (though willing to learn) that his wife needed this emotional connection through talking?
Have you applied the message of love and respect, found in Ephesians 5:33, to your marriage and reaped the benefits of a fruitful and rewarding relationship with your spouse?
If so, as you probably have done with a wonderful recipe or a highly effective diet, you most likely look to share this message with all of your married friends and desire that they, too, would discover this not-so-secret “secret” and have the flourishing relationship with their spouse that you have with yours.
Unfortunately, though, it’s not always as simple as we hope it would be. You will constantly hear from friends things like “I’m glad respecting your husband unconditionally worked for you, but you don’t know my husband . . .” and “Loving your wife is easy, with her temperament. But have you ever met my volcano of a wife?”
This is a common question I receive from many husbands who have become intentional about opening up more often to their wives and sharing their hearts and needs. But when her response isn’t what they expected—in some cases the situation even worsens—they wonder, Why is she reacting this way? Can’t she see how I’m trying?
The following is my typical response:
I am uncertain why your wife has reacted in this way, but let me offer several possibilities.
One, you want her to understand why you did what you did and that you do not want to be that way. That is commendable and honorable. However, if she hears that as self-justification and blame placing she will react. You can be sincere but you should ask if she feels assured that you really want to understand her. If she feels you’re disinterested in really understanding her and more interested in getting her to understand you, and you have hurt her far more than she has hurt you in the past, she will react.