Your husband is giving you the silent treatment. You immediately think he’s angry with you, and you want to call him on it. You feel yourself getting angry in return. “Why won’t you talk to me?”

Your wife is irritable and distracted, and hasn’t taken care of what you asked her to do today. You’re frustrated, and want to lash out at her. “Why can’t you take care of something so simple?”

Such moments can quickly deteriorate into an evening, a weekend, or a month of fighting and misery. And if there are too many of those moments, the whole relationship can fall apart.

There’s a chance your husband is angry with you. There’s a chance your wife was irresponsible. But there are so many other possibilities that may have nothing at all to do with you. Before getting upset yourself, consider that your spouse may be struggling with something else entirely.

Here are some things that could lead your spouse to respond to you in a way that’s less than “perfect”, but that absolutely nothing to do with you:

Your husband may be:

  1. Worried about an unexpected bill
  2. Reliving a conversation at work that made him think his job is in jeopardy
  3. Trying to keep moving despite physical pain
  4. Frustrated over a problem he can’t figure out
  5. Feeling like a failure because of a child’s misbehavior
  6. Facing his own mortality, and doesn’t know how to tell you he’s worried
  7. Exhausted after a physically or emotionally draining project
  8. Angry with himself over a mistake he made
  9. Planning how to talk to you about a difficult decision he has to make
  10. Mulling over some of the big problems in the world
  11. Wrestling with something God is asking Him to change in his life
  12. Trying to take a mental break and not thinking about much of anything

Your wife may be:

  1. Overwhelmed with too many things in her schedule
  2. Fighting a migraine headache or a painful period
  3. Trying to juggle her mom’s doctor’s appointment, junior’s dental visit, missy’s dance lessons, and still get the grocery shopping done
  4. Exhausted physically or emotionally
  5. Feeling old or fat or unbeautiful (is that a word?)
  6. Feeling like a failure because of a child’s misbehavior
  7. Wondering how and when to tell you the washing machine needs fixing
  8. Worried about a girlfriend’s medical problems or troubled marriage
  9. Trying to figure out why her boss doesn’t seem to like her
  10. Feeling drained and used up from helping everyone else
  11. Struggling with guilt over not getting everything done
  12. Worried about the spiritual state of her family

Yes, your husband “should” talk to you even if he’s worried, tired, or angry about something else. Yes, your wife “should” do what she agreed to do, and be generally pleasant regardless of what’s going on. But life is complicated, and sometimes those complications mean your spouse will not respond to you in the “perfect” way.

Don’t you want a little grace when YOU are upset about something? How about considering what else may be going on with your spouse, and extending the same grace to them.

It may truly NOT be about you!

Your Turn: Do you know what “stuff” is most distressing to your spouse? How does that impact the way you view their response to you? Leave a comment below. 

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