Is it any wonder that men struggle in trying to understand women? I sometimes can’t understand myself. It seems I’ll get mad over some silly little thing, and in no time, it escalates into a dramatic, emotional outrage. (Only with my husband though.) How does that happen?
Having been in marriage ministry for almost 20 years and holding all the correct answers for a joyful marriage in my hand, how could I possibly still experience moments like that? Granted, they are rare anymore, but it frustrates me that they would ever occur again. Okay, so I’m not perfect.
I’m the first to tell men and women that women don’t always know how to communicate directly. We may rant about the proper placement of the toilet seat, but the emotions usually stem from another issue. We have so many thoughts going through our brains at any given time and are so busy multitasking that it becomes difficult to recognize the root of the problem. Men, if you want to know how a woman thinks, just open 2,368 tabs on the computer…at once. That’s about it!
God gave me a visual image the other day, of what I mean here - an onion. There are numerous layers we have to peel until we get to the core of the onion.
I realized that as women, most of us have a “thorn in our flesh”, you might say, of something that once hurt us. It still remains sensitive in our soul, the core of our being, even though we’ve attempted to erase any evidence of its existence. (Paul said his thorn in his flesh kept him humble. I Cor. 12:7-10)
For example, I felt neglected by my father as a child and at one point, when that became an issue in my marriage, I almost left my husband. By the grace of God our marriage was saved, but lack of attention from my husband, for me, can still be a volatile issue when I feel that my need for it is not being met. Unfortunately, as a woman, I don’t always recognize that as the culprit when I’m stressed out by him.
When we marry and have children, we not only take on the weight of our own issues, but also those of our children and our spouse. Along with worldly problems and day-to-day challenges, we continue to add layer upon layer of troubles until we reach our “can’t take anymore” limit. Usually, the topmost layer appears to be the cause of the meltdown. It may be something as simple as “Can’t you replace the empty toilet paper roll?” Then starts the reminders of all other thoughtless actions committed in the past month, or the peeling of the onion layers.
It’s not the silly acts that cause the problem; it’s the buildup of the numerous acts coming together to point their ugly finger at the core of the problem. That’s what it’s about. For me, it will usually originate with the feeling that Rick and I aren’t spending enough time together. I don’t notice the little things when that need is met. I don’t build all the layers when my emotional tank is full of quality time with my husband.
You need to discover what your “thorn in the flesh” is. What is the most delicate issue to deal with between you and your spouse? You may think you have already healed it, but often times it will need to be revisited and refreshed in a rational manner so it doesn’t turn into a big issue again.
The old devil knows our vulnerabilities and will use all he’s got to attack us at our core. Don’t allow him to penetrate your spiritual bond with your spouse that you need to maintain your marriage. We do this by staying open and honest with each other, and by not allowing the layers to build up over the root of the problem.