July 1, 2008

For Her Peace Of Mind

One of the marriage blogs I enjoy keeping up with is Marriage Actually written by Kerri and her husband, um, Bald Man. A few days ago Kerri wrote a post titled "I Want It To Matter To You That It Matters To Me." One line that stood out to me was, "I find the thing that frustrates me most is not that he doesn’t get why I’m upset, it’s that he’s seemingly not upset that I’m bothered."

I know all husbands can relate to this situation. I am again reminded about how differently men and women think. Men tend to think about one thing at a time, and so if we don't happen to be thinking about what our wives are thinking/worried/upset about, it's very hard for us to show that we care.

This reminds me of when we are getting ready for a trip in our house. I'm someone who can wait on packing and can take an hour to pack for a three-day trip because of all the other more interesting things going on in the rest of the house. My wife, on the other hand, needs to get packing done early. She needs to have time to pack in order to have peace of mind. Did you catch the key word there? Needs. As in, something that must happen for the desired result.

Though I don't like packing early, I can do it and be fine with it. Yes, she could wait and get ready for the trip later, but she will feel on-edge and stressed before, during, and after. Saying something like, "Don't worry about it, it'll get done" is only making things worse. Though we are trying to help her be carefree, she feels we are simply being careless.

To help with these situations — the ones where I'm having a hard time caring about what she's caring about — I have forced myself into the habit of saying, "If you really need me to do this for you, I will." And my wife has learned how to sincerely ask, "I would feel a lot better if we could sit down and do this right now."

If she needs it for her peace of mind, we need to get on it whether we think it's a big deal or not. We might not naturally care about what she is concerned about, but we must choose to. We must learn how to care, not because we necessarily care about the issue, but because we care about her.


  1. I can relate to this pretty well. My wife definitely likes to get things done early so she can rest. I tend to be more of a procrastinator. It definitely adds to the tension at times. Thanks for reminding us that we need to put ourselves in her frame of mind in order to help things along at times. :)

  2. Exactly. I make things important in my life that are important to my husband (whether or not it would be important to me otherwise), yet getting him to return that level of respect and care is a never ending battle.

  3. I do this too. I think one aspect of our male response of being uninterested is an attempt to show her how foolish her being upset is over something so silly. That if we act cool, then she'll calm down and realize that it's not a big deal.

    The better response is to acknowledge her upset and find the right way to show that we care, whatever that is depending upon the situation and the couple involved.

  4. Thank you, a great article.

    I fall into the same poor behaviour myself. Though I am not married, my girlfriend and I are moving in together in a scant month and I am now realizing that I really need to do what I can to sooth her nerves. She's already told me that she does not move well, that it affects her greatly, so I must do what I can to assuage the problems that I can staunch.

    Once again, thank you.

  5. Similar thoughts posted at another blog i read: http://maximeyer.blogspot.com/2008/07/real-marriage.html
    This is all very good stuff.