Remember the book Men are Like Waffles, Women are Like Spaghetti
? I wrote about that in my syndicated column last week, which I forgot to post (just realized that now, I'll put it up for tomorrow); but basically here's the issue: we women are multi-taskers. When we're doing the laundry, we're thinking about what we're making for dinner, we're talking on the phone, and we're trying to plan the route we'll take to drop kids off at various houses, pick them up for soccer, and get grocery shopping done, all without running out of gas.
And that's just when we're trying to hold the household things in our head. We're also worried about our work, our church, and all kinds of other things that weigh on us. And through it all, our relationships remain at the forefront. If we're worried about a child, we're thinking about that when we're teaching Sunday School, when we're taking a bath, and even when we go to bed at night.
Men, on the other hand, tend to be quite compartmentalized, which can be very annoying to us multitaskers. If you ask them what they're thinking about, chances are they're not thinking about anything at all. They're not trying to keep four balls in the air at any one time. When they're thinking about work, they're thinking about work. When they're thinking about family, they're thinking about family. So when we get upset when they're in a different sphere and we're not foremost on their minds, they don't get it. But they don't have ten things they're thinking about at any one time like we do.
This obviously has the potential to be hurtful in a marriage, if we interpret it to mean that they don't love as much as we do. That's not true; it's just that they express things differently.
But it can also be helpful to us as women, and that's the question I was posing yesterday
on this blog: can he bring you peace?
I don't mean perfect peace; that's a role that only Jesus can play. But I do think that when we stay plugged in to our husbands, they can take some of the weight off of our shoulders, or at least tell us what we can stop worrying about.
So often when I feel myself overbooked or overworked, I just sit down with Keith and he tells me what to get rid of in my schedule. He's not ordering me around; he's just providing that second set of eyes that often isn't as emotionally invested in my life. And quite often I'll resist it. I remember him telling me at one point that I had to give up teaching Sunday School for a while. Boy was I mad. Didn't he understand what a ministry this was? I had to serve God, after all. But eventually I realized he was right.
He told me something even bigger this year, which I can't go into in a public blog, but I resisted that one for months before realizing, again, that Keith was right. Too often I take on responsibilities that are too big for me to handle, and eventually I just have to say no.
Often, though, it's not that Keith tells me I need to stop something. It's that he's learned how to listen without always solving problems, which is a wonderful gift for a man to have. I think because we women think so hard about all the people in our lives, we have a tendency to overanalyze. We did it when we were dating, analyzing everything he said or did. We did it when we were pregnant, analyzing every feeling. And now we do it with the kids, and with friends, and relatives, and teachers. We analyze and take offense and worry.
Sometimes, when you just speak these things out loud to someone who is not as prone to analyzing, you realize that you're overreacting. Talking to a girlfriend doesn't always do it, because she can make it worse if she's an analyzer, too. But talking to a man helps you see that perhaps it isn't the big deal that you were making it out to be. It's not even anything Keith says, either; it's just in speaking it out loud to him, I start to see it through his point of view. And then it loses the ability to consume me.
These are some ways that Keith brings me peace, and why I'm glad I'm married. But I know in the comments below, when I first raised the question, some women were talking about how their husbands are too preoccupied to do this. Good point. That is the case in many marriages, and in mine, when Keith was going through his medical training and was really busy, I did carry much more myself.
But can I suggest something? No matter how busy your husband is, and how busy you are, you need to make time to connect and talk about life at least once a week. He may resist, but it is vital for the marriage. It comes before kids. It comes before work. It comes before church, school, or other family. If your marriage falls apart, you lose everything. And your marriage is the best tool you have for encouragement in the human realm.
So once a week, eat dinner, just the two of you, even if you have to do it after the kids go to bed. Go for a walk after dinner. Retreat to your room and tell the kids not to bug you because you're talking. Hire a baby-sitter and go out for coffee (much cheaper than dinner) and talk. But do it, once a week, no ifs, ands or buts. Some of you may not have to schedule it because you have lots of time together. But if you don't, you need to make it a priority. Start talking again, and build that companionship, so that he can start bringing you peace.Now, would you like to participate in Wifey Wednesday? We'd love to hear from you! Does your husband help you feel more peaceful? Does it bother you when he seems not to care the same way you do? Do you have creative ways to connect during the week? Tell us!