Don’t Let This Ruin Your Marriage

Don’t Let This Ruin Your Marriage March 29, 2018

Keep your stupid chocolate bunny!

That’s what I heard anyway.

Do you ever hear your husband’s words through the filter of your hurt and not the way he intended them?

Don’t let this mistake ruin your marriage: Listen with your ears instead of your feelings.

And learn how to cope when you think your husband has rejected you.

how-to-cope-when-your-husband-rejects-youI thought an Easter “basket” would be a nice surprise and a way to show my husband how much I appreciated him. I collected gum, mints, socks and other useful stuff I thought he’d like, and put them in a gift bag. As a final gesture I topped it with a chocolate bunny, and left it on his sink before going to bed.

The next morning, the chocolate bunny was sitting on my sink. Chocolate bunnies don’t hop.

“Why’s the bunny on my sink?” I asked him.

“Keep your stupid chocolate bunny,” he said. Or at least that’s what I heard.

Has that ever happened to you? Do you ever listen with your feelings?

Your husband says something and you think you know what he really means but just doesn’t want to say it. Your belief is based on the way you feel.

Well that’s what happened to me. I listened with my feelings. Feelings are reinforced by a voice in our heads reminding us of the hurts he’s caused. They also tell us we’re unlovable, inadequate, or stupid.

Pools forming in my eyes, I snatched my bunny off the sink and crushed his hollow soul. Shards of his chocolate head pelted into the trashcan. His aluminum foil suit partially hung his torso.

I slammed his decapitated body into the trashcan and walked hard down the stairs. “I’ll tell you what you can do with this chocolate bunny,” I mumbled.

Bunny situation escalated to DEFCON 1 in a matter of minutes.

Extreme? Yeah. Extreme hurt causes extreme reactions.

It was just a chocolate bunny. Why did I overreact?

We go to extremes when we feel rejected, ashamed, or unappreciated. Because of past hurts and resentments in our relationship I heard him say, “Keep your stupid chocolate bunny. How could you be dumb enough to give me a chocolate bunny when I’m cutting back?”

He actually said something like, “Thanks for the bunny. I want to eat it for breakfast. But, I’m trying to cut back on the sugar. I’d like to keep it all to myself, but would you mind if I shared it with the kids and you?”

When his words were filtered though my hurt, their meaning was lost in translation. So every time I thought about the bunny that day, I got madder.

I felt like I needed to be super angry to let him know he’d hurt my feelings. I slammed the ham on the platter at dinner. And I silently ran my own commentary with God alongside my husband’s prayer.

“Lord, we’re so grateful for your son Jesus Christ. . . “

Grateful? You’re talking about grateful? You weren’t thinking about grateful when you threw that bunny back in my face.

If I’d moved my feelings out of the way for a second and listened to what he’d really said, I could’ve responded differently.

Bottom line. If you find yourself feeling hurt over something your husband says, be sure you heard him with your ears not your feelings. Even if he is wrong, I choose how I’ll respond.

Instead feeling hurt or angry:

  1. Ask for clarification.
  2. Repeat what you thought you heard.
  3. Explain what you thought you heard and how it made you feel.
  4. No matter what the offense, decide it’s not more important than your relationship.
  5. Even if he is wrong, I choose how I’ll respond.

Should my husband have handled the chocolate bunny situation differently? Maybe. There was no easy way out of the situation, so he decided to be honest with me.

DEFCON 1 dropped to DEFCON 5 by bedtime. But I wasted the day being mad when I didn’t have to.

I felt even worse when he got into bed that night, snuggled up next to me and whispered, “Where’s the chocolate bunny?”

Can you name a time you listened with your feelings instead of your ears?

 

 

 

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7 responses to “Don’t Let This Ruin Your Marriage”

  1. My husband and I tend to do this way too often. My daughter and son-in-law attended a marriage Bible study where they actually had a listening exercise that helped couples work through the listening issue.

    Thanks for being so transparent, but sharing the post with a sense of humor. “Devcon 1” made me laugh out loud.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is so true! We often don’t really listen. We assume we know the true meaning behind the words because of our expectations weren’t met the way we pictured it our heads. Loved this!

  3. Wow. Yeah, this goes both directions. All too often I hear Alean speaking to me as the voice of past criticism, whether from parents, peers, when that is not at all the way she intended me to hear her. We both do it, and from both sides. We speak without sensitivity to how it will be heard, and we hear with our emotions rather than our ears.

    Well said, Sheila. Very potent lesson.

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