Feb 052014 2 Responses

What Every Husband Needs to Know at Least Once a Month

I don’t have to understand it to believe it.

When Jenny and I first got married, we were like every other newlywed couple. We were merging two sets of understandings and expectations to form a new family. These differing backgrounds led to many moments in which one of us would look at the other with a doggie-head-tilt kind of look. (See: You Aren’t the Perfect Couple)

When I said Saturday mornings were for sleeping in and she said they were for work, we looked at each other confused.

When she said she saved a few cents by buying the cheaper toilet paper and I said ‘you always should splurge for good toilet paper,’ we looked at each other confused.

When I said we should take the car to the shop to get a battery fixed and she said she could do it herself, we looked at each other confused.

In each instance, we came from different backgrounds with different understandings and the thoughts or actions of the other was confusing. And this is where a marriage either fails or succeeds: just because we didn’t understand the other doesn’t mean we disbelieved the other. See: What Nelson Mandela Taught Me About Marriage)

I knew her actions were completely logical in her mind; she knew my actions were logical in my mind. We both knew there was not a definite right or wrong in the issues we were discussing (except with the toilet paper, never scrimp on the toilet paper).

Many couples, especially husbands, fall for the deception of thinking that for us to believe something we have to understand it. We don’t.

I believe my car will get me where I’m going even though I don’t fully understand how it runs.

I believe my surgeon can make me better even if I don’t really understand what he is about to do.

I believe my keyboard will allow me to type this message even though I have no idea how it works.

I don’t have to understand something in order to believe it.

So whenever your wife feels something, you don’t have to understand the feeling, you simply have to believe she actually feels that way and give her feeling the respect it deserves. And the same is true with wives toward husbands. (See: How to Stay Married in the Tough Times)

Just because we don’t understand something does not mean that the feeling, belief, or action is necessarily wrong. It could be wrong, but it is not necessarily wrong just because we don’t understand it.

We foolishly believe that anything we don’t understand must be wrong. It’s a false belief. And it’s a belief which kills marriages.

The pattern goes like this:

We don’t understand our spouse.

We assume our spouse is wrong.

The more times we think they are wrong, the less respect we have for them.

The less we respect them, the more we don’t understand them.

The less we understand them, the more we assume they are wrong.

Sadly, I’ve just described a good number of marriages. (See: Respect–A Necessary Ingredient for a Successful Marriage)

Ironically, if we would simply provide our spouses with the same common courtesy which we provide a vast number of people in our lives, the cycle would stop.

I don’t have to understand everything. I don’t have the capacity to understand everything. But I do deeply love, trust, and respect my wife. I know that my lack of understanding does not guarantee that she is wrong. I could be wrong, ignorant, or simply coming from a different perspective.

I should seek to understand, but understanding is not a prerequisite for belief. Because I trust and respect her, I trust and respect her feelings, ideas, and actions even when I don’t fully understand them. (See: Stop Making Fun of Your Wife)

2 Responses to What Every Husband Needs to Know at Least Once a Month
  1. dennyneff Reply

    Wonderful wisdom Kevin, but allow me to ask you a question. How does one go about teaching, or better yet persuading a spouse that just because he/she does not understand me, he/she can still trust me? Is the absence of trust a reflection of something broken or maybe damaged in the relationship? Trust is so vital to any relationship and if trust is ever broken in one area, does that lack of trust pop up in almost ever other area where trust is needed? I know, or at least I think this blog has more relevance to newlyweds or those in the beginnings of a relationship, but when one begins to pick up of a lack of trust in a relationship that is 5 or 10 or 20 years into the relationship is that an indication that trust has been at least damaged and the spouse who isn’t trusted needs to begin some serious self reflection or examination of their life to locate where that injury is and begin seriously looking for ways to help heal it, even if that means marital counseling or at least sitting down and talking about it.

    Trust and understanding are so vital, I think, to any relationship that they should always be watched over and protected. Just thinking about what you had to say and other ways your wisdom can be helpful. Thanks again.

  2. […] There is always more going on than what you see. (See: What Every Husband Needs to Know at least On... kevinathompson.com/going-see

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