One of the most read posts on my blog is written by my wife.
It doesn’t surprise me that one of her posts is viewed more than any of my posts. She has her own blog site, Peacefulwife.com, that gets 10 times the views in a day that my site gets and she pretty much has a new post up daily. Her content is almost always right on target and she checks and double checks that she hasn’t left out anything of value about the topic.
I decided to read through that article again because it had been a little while since I had looked through it. Among the list of things a husband does that make their wife feel unloved, one caught my eye and it read like this:
For many of us – if we leave the room upset, and you don’t follow us to check on us, we feel unloved. – I know you are doing the respectful thing and giving us time to chill out and calm down, but we feel unloved! That’s why we follow you so disrespectfully when you leave the room, we are trying to be loving and show we care. Confusing, isn’t it!?!
My wife is, or better said, was a leaver. When we couldn’t come to terms over something or we were just coming at an issue from two totally different directions she wanted to get away. That could be in a remote part of the house, the yard, the car, or another planet. She just didn’t want to be in the same room with me at that time. Let me point out that I am not violent, scream, or abusive to her in any way during an argument or disagreement. I just happen to be right or even sometimes wrong in these situations. But why did she leave? And also, if she did leave why would she want me to come find her? Didn’t she leave to start with?
If I were to leave it would be to calm down and get a hold of myself. I just need to get away for a little while and blow off some steam so I don’t do anything stupid. Give me a little space and then I will get over it.
But my wife said that if she was to leave the room upset she would not only want to be checked on, but would feel unloved if I didn’t check on her. My big male brain has a hard time figuring that out. My thinking is that she would already feel unloved or she wouldn’t have left to start with, but she says that not checking up on her would make her feel unloved or “more” unloved. So by my math, we are striking out twice with one argument.
How can I try to explain this?
Well, I went to the source: my wife.
I asked her to try to explain what is going on in a situation like this. Her explanation is that the issue is usually not the problem. The problem is that the way men handle arguments or disagreements often comes across to women as being unloving or even hateful. So, even if we aren’t trying to come across this way, that is how your spouse may see our actions. The idea is kind of like “How could he love me if he treats me like this?” and this creates a lot of doubt in your wife about her role in your life.
As a man, we like to solve problems and so we often take that journey solo. This works for us, but a wife will feel like they do not have a purpose in the marriage. She may feel that she is not needed in the marriage. She may feel isolated and alone. So, when she feels unloved, it triggers all of these emotional alarms in her head and most of a husband’s logical ways of dealing with this just reinforce her thoughts. Sometimes, our actions even create more alarms for our wife and we even pour more gas on the fire.
In the midst of conflict, your wife has to deal with all of these alarms starting to go off so her easiest response is to flee. It gives her a chance to get out of the heat and fortunately it gives her a chance to get away from our leaking gas hose. The problem is that the alarms are still ringing. Not about the issue probably, but alarms of doubt about our love for them. So after she has left the room, the clock begins to tick.
As a man, it is perfectly fine for us to sit in the room and just wait for our wife to come back to us. That is good and logical because that is how we think. She left the room on her own and why should I make the effort to go to her. If she wants to come back and work through things I would be happy to do that. That sounds really logical and right.
Your wife has left the room, and all of these alarms are popping up everywhere. Remember that she left the room because she felt unloved. If we leave our wife alone without going to check on her we are just reinforcing to her that we do not love her. Every alarm that is ringing in her head is just getting louder and sucking the life out of her spirit. Something as simple as just finding her and showing that we care enough to find her can shut off some of those alarms. If we can show her that despite any still open problems we love her and that she is important to us, we can almost eliminate the firestorm that is raging in her head.
She needs to know that you love her first and foremost above any issues that are at hand. If she feels loved, she will trust your leadership through the issue and you can make it through together. Simply making that effort to show that she is important to you can solve many of the problems in your marriage.
I can’t remember the last time that my wife left during a disagreement. I think we have learned a lot about making sure that we go through problems showing each other the respect and love we each need so that the problem is just something that we take care of. We don’t have to have any fear that the issue is bigger than our marriage or our love for each other.