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What Do I Do Now? When Being the Mature One Doesn't Seem to Help

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Oftentimes, a husband or wife recognizes where he or she has not been loving or respecting their spouse as they should and honestly seeks to be intentional about getting off the constant Crazy Cycle they feel they have been spinning on for a large part of their marriage.  They make significant changes in their previously harsh and unloving tones and words, they pursue peace with their spouse at all times instead of seeking only their own will, and they learn how to better communicate to their spouse’s pink or blue “hearing aids.”

But then . . . nothing seems to help! In fact, the situation may even feel to worsen, because while the Crazy Cycle is still spinning relentlessly, the one attempting to be the mature one only grows more frustrated with their seemingly failed efforts to better love and respect.

What, some may ask, should I try next?

Can you relate to this husband who wrote me recently?

My wife and I are going through a difficult decision, and throughout this process I have been a “yes man” in fear of seeming not supportive. Recently I was convicted to express some things on my heart that I had sought counsel on and prayed about. I made sure I found the right time, spoke in a loving tone, and was tactful with my words. Everything I said was from a point of concern and not demanding. I was stonewalled and then insulted, disrespected, and belittled. I did not respond negatively; instead I tried to clarify what I was concerned about. Well, I have been ignored ever since and do not know what else to do. I am trying to find what to apologize for and I cannot find my fault. I am usually very good at finding my fault.

What do I do now? I’m afraid she will ignore me until I break down and manufacture an apology to restore the peace.

Though in a perfect world, we would hope that our spouse will always recognize our efforts to change for the better, to seek peace, to love and respect according to scripture’s command, to better communicate according to our spouse’s pink and blue hearing aids and megaphones, sometimes they have simply spent too many years with us and our broken selves to see past our many glaring faults and differences.

That is why I recommend actually putting into words the efforts you are attempting and making absolutely sure he or she knows the intentionality you are now trying to put into your marriage and what you are hoping to hear back from them in return. Perhaps something like this should be said:

I am sorry that I have taken a back seat for years in speaking out when I should have been leading our family in a multitude of ways. I may have put you in a role that wasn’t fair to you. For all that, I repent.

I sense in a new and deeper way that God is calling me to be the spiritual leader; I am certain of this. I also believe I am under condition before Him and that I must give an account to Him one day as the spiritual leader of this family. Moving forward, I will seek to do what I do “unto Him.” As I am seeking to love and reverence Christ, my intentions are only to be loving and respectful and no longer selfish. I intend to be the man God has called me to be in imitation of Christ.

Moving forward, I am going to try to lovingly enter into a better role of being a leader, and it may be difficult for a while. Please be patient with me. IN FACT, you may really struggle with it. I promise to be considerate, kind, and loving, but I cannot revert back to being passive or un-involved. During this time that I am attempting to become the spiritual leader God has called me to be, I still invite you to disagree and even debate. I know I am still far from perfect and definitely need your assistance. But I ask that you do so without contempt or stonewalling.

-Dr. E

Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider