Using our ability to compartmentalize for good.
God made men exactly how He planned. I know it seems like a stupid statement but I have heard many women stating how stupid men are and yes even their own husbands. I’m sure there are some that are just brain dead, but most of the issue isn’t that we are stupid its that we don’t think like her. The things important to her are not always to him. So guys…. What can we do to better our relationships and start stepping into more leadership areas?
If you have never read the book Men are like Waffles Women are like Spaghetti by Bill and Pam Farrel. You need to asap. In a nut shell, it like looking down at a waffle is how a man thinks. Everything has a box and none of them touch. We can open the “kids” box without touching the finances box. To us they are separate, the maybe related, but are still separate issues. We do this with everything in our lives. Wife, car, insurance, work, everything has a box and a place, we pull one out, we talk about that one then put it away and get another. When our wives come in, before long she has 20 boxes open rummaging through them and to us this is too much and we check out. We can’t focus on that many separate issues at once. This does not mean we are stupid. This means we process things different. We are made to be focused, to hunt and reach for goals. That’s why we miss many things that are at our periphery, because our goal and main focus is on one thing, at the moment that’s the most important thing.
My question is why can’t we use that natural tendency to box things up, to better our role as a husband? The answer is we can, and we should. I love my wife to pieces, I mean seriously love her beyond words, but she can move through topics and switch idea streams faster than a politician scrambling for votes. I have learned also that her mind never shuts off or slows down. Its continually thinking of possible things that are based on a countless number of variables.
This is where leadership and our ability to put things in boxes can be a huge asset.
Ok as a husband we are to lead the family right? Imagine, an argument starts, doesn’t matter who started it, why its happening or who is even right. Its here and you’re in it. We all have weak moments and say things we wish never would have left our mouths right? Yes your wife says them too, because honestly they usually have much more success in arguments than we do as a whole. Its usually something said that cuts us down as a man or is a very disrespectful statement that cuts us the deepest. These are the ones that make us react and usually in a bad way. After that the argument is fruitless because neither of you are hearing the other. Guys, use your boxes. Put this stuff in a box and put it away. You know she was mad, heated or was feeling some emotion that came out at us legitimate or not, it doesn’t matter. Now pull out the box of your wife’s heart. Pull out those memories when you will see a look in her eyes for the rest of your life, one that melts your heart even 10 years later. I’m not saying gloss over bad behavior. I’m saying use these boxes to control your reactions to keep truth at the forefront and not let anger or hurt or disrespect get your goat so to speak. God gave us this ability to compartmentalize. So lets use it to the betterment of our marriage. Its far too easy to lash back out when you have been hurt. That’s the devil constantly stirring hate and anger, bitterness and resentment in your mind. Do not feed those even a little. Use the tools God gave you as a man to lead. Lead you ask? This isn’t leadership. Oh but it is. You lead by taking the heat out of the situation. You lead by being the first to step up and take the hits to get the relationship back to a conversation rather than 5 days of silence. Guys it’s a big deal. I wish I could say I learned this early on and put it into practice every time I need to, but I don’t and haven’t. I have said some very hurtful things to my wife because she had said some very hurtful things to me, but that most defiantly does not excuse y actions or my response. When I think about those, tears come to my eyes because that’s not me and that’s not her either. To know I caused a level of hurt in my wife because of some stupid thing I said in the heat of an argument is very condemning to me. I never want to be the source of pain for my wife, She has lived with enough of that, she doesn’t need anymore especially from me. So even if I fail. I will come to her with my apology. Sometimes I really have to make sure my boxes are put away to do it, but when I open the one that has her smile and I see her heart. It makes that apology much easier and honestly that’s where the truth of it all rests.
So when I talk about using your boxes. Put the argument in one, put the mean words in one, put the disrespect in one (this does not mean to dismiss unhealthy treatment or abuse. Never ignore that) Remember who your wife is, she is an emotional being. Every thought she has comes from a place of emotion and they can get very heated. Put each grievance you might have in a box and put it away. Pull out the “love your wife” box and embrace that one. You may have to do it over and over because those other boxes can justify your feelings to strike back. Don’t do it. You love her like Christ loved the church! You sacrifice your need to be right in that moment and box those things up. If need be, deal with them later when things can be talked about in a calm manner. Just remember. Don’t hold onto the wrong box just to justify a feeling. It will never end well for you. Be the man, suck it up and use the tools God gave us.