Whenever my husband proposes that we change something, I feel like tiny ants have burrowed under my skin and are trying to wriggle their way out.
Because staying the same feels so much safer.
If I come up with an idea, I usually think about it for a while before telling anyone, making sure my ideas and dreams make logical sense in my own mind. When I do spill my thought beans, I’ve already weighed a number of pros and cons. Basically, I’m secretly hoping for a stamp of approval when I present my idea, tied with a pretty red bow.
Now if I were a hermit, this plan would work perfectly, but relationships tend to throw a socket wrench in my thought-out plans.
I’m so thankful for the wrench called Christopher. He’s strong in a lot of areas I’m not. His passion for life and easy-going spirit are two qualities that first attracted me to him.
The trouble comes when he excitedly shares an idea with me and I think he’s thought through it the same way I would have. I go into panic mode, and as my face registers horrified shock, I see him begin to deflate.
Here are seven things I’ve tried to do when I feel the fear pushing out its ugly head.
I don’t usually think of myself as someone who interrupts, but when I get scared and our future is involved, my tongue starts flapping with objections before my husband can even finish his sentence. As women, we long for security, so it’s a legitimate feeling, but one of the ways we can show respect to our husbands is to really listen (rather than spending most of the time figuring out what we’re going to say next). Like Jasmine, we can step onto our Aladdin’s magic carpet and try to enjoy the scenery of his dreams.
Do I really believe my husband is going to take the money out of our account tomorrow to buy a powered para-glider? It’s important to remember the trust that we’ve built up together over the past years of marriage. Warning flags may be popping up everywhere in your mind.
“This could never work.”
“What would we do about ____?”
“This is crazy!”
Remind yourself that you are in this together and that if he is a believer, you both serve a God who is able to direct each season of life.
3. Suggest an Alternate Time
Since our most focused time as a couple is before we go to sleep, Christopher would often share ideas and dreams for the future at night. I’d be so tired from the day that I couldn’t cope emotionally with listening to the ideas. My mentor Natalie suggested that if I felt I couldn’t handle a conversation, I could suggest another time to talk, (and prepare myself for it). It communicates that we value what our husbands are saying, but can listen and support them better by getting a little sleep first.
4. Be thankful
Our husbands’ passions often flow into their dreams. If I’m shooting down every idea he shares with me, he’ll find someone else to share them with, and I’ll miss out. I believe God gives us gifts to bring Him glory, which can also give us a sense of fulfillment as we pursue Him. When I feel overwhelmed, I should take a moment to reflect on the man behind the idea.
5. Pray with him
I’m often amazed by what my husband says when I ask him what I can pray for. It opens a peephole into his soul, and helps in the process of joining together in what God is doing in and through us. And it might even reveal what parts of his dreams he’s really serious about and which involve striking gold in order to happen. Who knows? It might open up the way for him to invite you to share your dreams.
6. Pray for him
God is ready for you to pour all your emotions and fears. (Just page through a few of the psalms if you don’t believe me). He’s the only One who can bring true peace no matter the circumstance. And if you’ve arranged another time to talk about your husband’s dreams, by spending time before God first, you can be more emotionally prepared to hear him out. It may also be appropriate to share your feelings with a trusted friend or mentor, (while still speaking respectfully of your husband).
It’s a beautiful thing when we feel free to share our dreams with our partner and get to share in his. God has given my husband the authority to lead and protect our family, and if we’re both in it together, we can move forward confidently in the roles God has placed us in. It takes lots of grace and help from the Holy Spirit, and may look a lot like compromise. If you want to read my post on being selfless through compromise, click here.
Relationships take time, effort and a whole lot of love. It’s why the Father let His own Son be sacrificed–so that our relationship with Him could be possible. And whether we feel like we’re succeeding or failing, we can always call out for help. Because the Spirit is right there, cheering us on.