Wives: We can dish it but can we take it?

You know how in the midst of fighting with your spouse you get so frustrated you forget what started the fight in the first place? That is not me. I almost always instigate the fights. I am the finger wagging wife.

I have a list of lectures I routinely visit with my spouse: toilet seat DOWN, putting the dirty dishes in the sink isn’t putting them in the dishwasher and a trash bag doesn’t just appear in the trash can, someone has to put it there.  And when we’re dealing with a real issue, I almost always “win” by passive aggressive control (I stay silent till he breaks!) And while it’s not the most mature way to handle my marriage it’s the way that usually works–until this weekend when out of the blue my spouse decided to open up on me. It wasn’t yelling but suddenly he decided he wanted to share some issues that had been bothering him. Apparently when you lecture your husband enough about sharing and feelings it does seep through and one day, like Sunday, he may just ‘share’ with you when you least expect it.

He had some concerns he wanted to address with me that he’d been holding back (because he doesn’t like how I respond in fights). I laid in bed while he shared and this time I was on the receiving end of “you don’ts” and “I wish you woulds” and “it makes me feels.” I heard him and felt my temperature rising. My feet hadn’t hit the floor yet and already I was hearing this stuff? I listened. Barely. And the  more he spoke the more defensive I got. It’s one thing to disagree with someone about something, it’s another thing to have someone say they don’t like how you are a) acting, b) treating them, or c) they want more of something from you. These are things I say! I’m the lecturer. I’m the wounded wife. Since when did he get the right to turn the tables and start sharing his issues. I didn’t handle the discussion well and ended his speech with a brave, “Well, you’re not exactly Mr. Perfect either!” That made him feel devalued, upset and things pretty much went down hill from there. (Follow me at www.chicktalkdallas.com)

To be fair, I didn’t disagree with everything he said to me. But when you share with someone you want them to just hear you sometimes. And many times I get more upset when my husband tries to defend himself during our fights. And even more upset when he’s over it 5 minutes later. After a few hours on Sunday, my husband wanted to high five and started making cat hissing sounds in an effort to get me to laugh. He was done dumping his feelings. I was not finished with them yet. And no matter how hard I try, if something really gets me, I shut down and simmer like an angry pot roast. I’m not sure where I learned that but I know it works. It’s painful to maintain and harmful and while I’m trying to learn different communication techniques, this is all I got for now. I need my time to process.

And last night during day two of silence I got to thinking about how hard it is to take it from your spouse. Is this what he feels like when I lecture him? Is this what wives do when we dig into our husbands about issues we don’t like? If my husband complained to me as often as I complain to him, I don’t think we’d last much longer. I don’t know if it’s a societal thing or an environmental thing but the saying ‘Happy Wife Happy Life’ implies that the marital feelings are dictated by the wife. We don’t like, we want change, we want more etc. And men, as I experienced, often do feel defensive or just say, “Yes, dear.” And we win but do wives really win if we’re the emotional bully in the marriage? I didn’t feel like a winner when I texted “I’m sorry” this morning. And I wasn’t doing a victory lap when I saw him sleeping on the couch again last night. (Read more at www.chicktalkdallas.com)

My married ladies need a reality check: How often do you dish it to your spouse? Are you the emotional, manipulative bully in a pink cardigan? And if your spouse nagged as much as you do, would you stick around? Marriage is ‘A Different World’ and if we dish it, we better be able to take it, too!

You can read more at www.chicktalkdallas.com!


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