Sometimes I feel like a fake.
I write about wifing and respecting your husband and stuff like that. And I believe every word I write. Down to the letter. But sometimes in the heat of the moment, I don’t always take my own advice.
I can be stubborn. Like trying-to-get-an-ink-stain-off-your-favorite-shirt kind of stubborn.
Stubbornness is like a drug. It affects how you think, feel and act. You never expect it to become a problem. But it does. The more stubborn you are, the more tolerance you build. Soon it takes on a life of its own, and you’ll struggle to control your thoughts and actions.
Maybe you can relate. Do you ever let pig-headedness get the best of you? Do you ever waste time being angry over trivial things instead of cherishing the time you have?
A few weeks ago we were having one of those discussions in which I was right, but my husband hadn’t realized it yet. The simplest way to describe it is an argument.
But it wasn’t an argument. That’s the word you’d use to describe an oral or vocal disagreement. But that’s not what I did. I didn’t holler, swear, call him names or insult him (out loud). This is the best way I can describe what I did– I pretended he didn’t exist.
I Pretended He Didn’t Exist
That’s the game I play to let him know I’m really ticked. I can’t remember how it started, which tells me it was pretty insignificant.
But after it started, I was all in.
For the next 48 hours I said nothing to him. Regardless of what he said to me.
After about a day (or less), I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to be “right” about. (Still can’t.) I should’ve let it go. But I couldn’t be the first one to break the silence. (I told you I can be hardheaded.)
Instead, I chose to keep playing my game: He doesn’t exist.
So for the next two days I talked to my kids. I talked on my phone. I even talked to my dog. I ate, and I slept as if he wasn’t there.
Two nights I got into bed and stayed on my side, teetering on the edge rather than giving him the privilege of touching any part of my body, even by accident.
I’m a firm believer that making up before going to bed is the best policy, if you can do it. When I get stiff-necked, all rules–no matter how good they are–go out the window.
Not something I’m proud of.
On the third night, after we’d gotten in bed and just before I hit the REM stage, he reached over and pulled me close to him. In my semi-conscious state, I considered resisting. But I knew he was saying, “I’m done. I don’t care what you’re mad about, I exist and you’re going to stop pretending I don’t.”
Within seconds, we were spooning. It was over.
The next morning when I woke up, he was looking at me. He leaned over and kissed me. I sheepishly smiled back. I wanted to whisper “I’m sorry” but didn’t want to ruin the moment by blasting him with morning breath. So I just snuggled closer to him, but my face burned with embarrassment. I always feel like a goofball after I’ve played that game. What a waste of time.
Stubbornness is Like a Drug
A stubborn fool considers her own way the right one (Proverbs 12:15). I felt like a fool.
Stubbornness breeds disrespect. It makes me push my husband away instead of pulling him close.
I know better. That’s the embarrassing part. But no matter how long you’ve been married, you’re not immune to humanness.
I can respond differently. But I have to choose to.
Replace Stubbornness With Grace
- Be a good steward of your time.
At the heart of stubbornness is a presumption tomorrow is a promise. It isn’t. We’re not even promised the rest of today, and we shouldn’t take one second for granted. We’re all only given one moment at a time. It’s crazy to assume every day is guaranteed. It’s not. Make the most of the time you have.
- Have an attitude of gratitude.
Stubbornness takes our attention off gratitude and places it on us. It’ll stop us from being thankful for what we have. Each one of those days could’ve been my last or his. We wasted time we could’ve spent eating nachos, binge watching Law and Order or drinking sweet tea instead of stewing over a non-issue.
- Forgive quickly.
Stubbornness won’t allow you to forgive quickly. It wants to convince you that you’ve been wronged and you’re owed something.
- Show unconditional love.
When we insist on being stubborn, we’re really putting conditions on our love. It’s selfish. Our love becomes performance-based, and we withhold it when he disagrees with us.
Replace stubbornness with grace. Life is delicate. We see it taken away every day. Sometimes in the most unexpected ways.
Life is like a vapor. Here one minute. Gone the next. If you’re in that place right now–in the heat of something right now–make the first move. Pull him close to you. Let him know he exists, and he’s important to you.
Where do you need to retract stubbornness and extend grace?
Need skills to build intimacy?
- Get on the waitlist for my next group coaching session–Change Your Mind; Change Your Marriage.
- Visit my website, like my Facebook page and join my private Facebook group.
- Check out my FREE resources and download How to Be A Wife No Man Will Ever Want to Leave.
- Apply for private coaching with Sheila.
Also known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls understands how tiring a tough marriage can be.
She went from the brink of divorce to having a thriving marriage by translating timeless truths into practical skills. She’s helped women just like you turn their men into the husbands they want.
She and her husband Kendall live in Minnesota with their five children and their Black Lab, Largo.
In addition to coaching, Sheila is a member of the MOPS Speaker Network. Her work has been featured on the MOPS Blog, The Upper Room, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Beliefnet, Candidly Christian, Crosswalk.com, The Mighty and on various other sites on the Internet.