Why We Fight with Our Husbands...and How to Stop

"Arghhhh!" That's what I found myself voicing in my head with almost every word my husband uttered aloud.

Nothing he said pleased me.

I disagreed. I knew a better way. He didn't see the whole picture. He wasn't doing it right. I felt offended. Even his voice grated on my nerves.

If he said it was green, I said it was chartreuse. If he said we should leave at 5 o'clock, I said we'd better head out at 4:50. If he wanted to grab a burger for dinner, I pouted because we never go out for steaks. And when he paused to think before replying to a question, I grew angry because he wasn't processing fast enough for my speed.

Every little thing he said or did set. me. off.

Do you ever have days like that? Weeks even? Or maybe you've been going through a season in which you and your husband are bickering, barking and biting more than you're laughing, loving or listening.

Why exactly do we tend to get into some of the worst relationship ruts with the very man we fell head over heels in love with once upon a time?

Ahh, life happens. And if life happens...the paying the bills, replacing the washer, cleaning up the dog poop, running late for dinner, picking up stinky socks, and finding the freezer door open kind of life...in the context of absolutely no fun or funny, then that life stinks...and we take it out on the man across the table.

Just yesterday at a young women's summer Bible study that I've {graciously} been asked to join, I listened to beautiful, sweet-hearted, and godly gals lament the fact that they seem to bicker with their men more than they do anyone else in their lives. Why? they wondered, why do I bark at and bite the one I love...but I talk sweetly and patiently to everyone else, even strangers and sticky-fingered toddlers and testy cashiers and needy friends?

Here's what I think:

Recently I've actually drawn closer to my husband than I have in recent years past. Going through a bit of an emotional hiccup in life {ok, more like an emotional throw-up}, I found myself needing the steadiness of my man. He's not emotional and whackadoodle like I am. He's dependable, faithful, strong and wise.

So, like a drowning swimmer with lungs full of water clinging to the ladder on the side of the pool and trying to catch her breath, I've grabbed hold of my husband...literally...by the hand...to go for walks, pray, sit close beside, pour out my heart, and laugh. I told a Facebook friend just yesterday, "We've been courting again."

On Mondays we walk a couple of miles to one of a variety of fastfood places to eat dinner, and then walk slowly home.

On Tuesdays we eat an early dinner together at Subway before my husband teaches his Old Testament class at Wayland University.

On Wednesdays we sit close on the sofa and laugh {or grimace} at The Middle.

On Fridays we sometimes go out to breakfast or take a hike in the nearby mountains or sit on the back porch and talk.


And as we've been "dating," I've noticed a fresh and lovely affection growing between us. Or maybe it's rekindling. I've realized how much I need him; he's enjoyed being needed a little more by this usually independent woman. I've poured out my heart...he's listened...I've listened to his advice {whereas normally I would have rolled my eyes because what do men know, right?} because I was desperate.

My desperation drove me to seek the company and kindness of my husband. And he responded with patience and love.

And here's the kicker. We haven't fought or even bickered or dickered about a thing in weeks, maybe even months. We talk kindly to each other. We are patient and gentle and sweet.

Sappy? Maybe, but it's better than biting and barking.

The bottom line?

Practicing a little affection keeps your heart soft and your voice gentle.

Because we're busy and life happens and finances are tight and children are demanding and jobs cause stress and things break down around the house and men and women truly are different...we have to work at keeping affections alive.

Here are a few tips for building affection into your otherwise testy marriage:

Do you have other ideas for simple ways to rekindle the affection in your marriage? 

PS - I'm not implying that all marriage problems or a pattern of quarreling can necessarily be cured by simply holding hands. If you and your mate are in a seemingly irreversible habit of arguing, you may need to seek wise, Christian counsel. Nothing wrong with that at all!

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