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Annoyed, but Muzzeled- June 26th, 2010
September 2, 2010

Dear Sam,

  Tell me - am I a bad person whenever I let my husband know that something is bothering me? I try to take responsibility for my own feelings and make every effort to approach him respectfully, but then he says that I am just trying to make him look bad. It’s as if he expects that I (or anybody) will be perfectly fine with absolutely everything he does. I’m not talking about abuse or neglect, just the usual “I’d prefer that you turn down the TV sound when I go to bed” stuff. If we can’t manage this small item, God help us when something major comes along. Should I put up and shut up?

Annoyed, but muzzled

Dear Muzzled,

  If you only knew how common this issue is, you’d at least tone down on the “I’m such a bad person” self-talk. Could it be that your husband chose you as a partner because you so easily buy the package? The life-script here is: husbands are right, wives are wrong, or the other way around. Why? Surely it cannot be true. All human beings are sometimes right, sometimes wrong. But not all human beings can accept this reality without losing their self-made identity. What happens to your husband’s sense of self if he is shown to be less than reasonable or considerate? Obviously it lessens him, weakens him and forces him to live in and into the relationship rather than acting like he is independent. And this scares him, makes him angry so that he pulls away to become independent again, where he is safe. Well, good luck at trying to lasso him and force him to be connected to you.
   So, the ball is in your court. You can become independent, too (which will scare him even more). Or you can pursue him and smother him with demands to relate. Or you can under-stand his reaction, but not allow it to injure you. In the end, we all have to work out our own destiny. You show him what relating is all about by actually reacting to the way he is and what he does. How about balancing that act by reacting to the good things, the helpful ways he is with you? If all he knows of relationship (and this may be the case) is that it is judgemental and accusatory, then of course he will fight against it. But there are also the comforting, I’m-with-you parts that make it all worth while.
   Whoever said that marriage is smooth and easy? God created us to be completed by others. That means that we can only be whole persons in relationship. How can anybody know what they are really like without the input of others? The question is, then, do I want to be whole; do I want to live in reality; am I willing to be changed by the fact that others impinge on my being?
   You are being impinged on by a husband who wants to live parallel to you rather than into you. Can you live into that? I don’t mean put up and shut up. I mean rise to the reality that when you are real, he will fade out. This is really your life. Keep being real. You never know when he will realize that it is safe to hear you, be challenged by you, and become a more developed person. Don’t buy into the illusion that you are inferior, or that you are a bad person just because you are unique. Trust God to get his attention on this issue, and just love your husband into greater life.

INSIDE THE ISSUE is authored thru Resurrection Lutheran Church, 250 Quarry Rd, Pembroke. Sunday Worship at 10:30am. Look us up at www.


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