I was going through older blog posts from some of my favorite marriage bloggers when I found a gem. It’s an article by Kate with One Flesh Marriage, that she wrote in March of 2012 titled, Emotional Alphabet. She shares the secret of helping our marriage grow more intimate as the years pass, and I offer a hearty AMEN to everything she said!
Please take a moment to click over and read it, and then come back to read how this truth has played out in our marriage. You may discover a new secret, or be affirmed about something you’re already doing.
Did you read her article? Wasn’t it excellent?
Now for how Tom has learned to do this in our marriage. From the beginning I always knew Tom loved me, but he didn’t understand me. I was overly-sensitive and would cry at the drop of a hat. Okay, maybe not that, but I have been known to cry watching Kleenex commercials. <sigh> Most times Tom couldn’t relate, but he always wanted to. He wanted to be there for me to comfort me no matter how silly the circumstances were that were causing me grief.
Fast forward to a few years ago when we were standing in the lobby of our church talking with a dear friend. He asked me a question that evoked deep emotions that I didn’t expect. I couldn’t talk as I was trying to hold back the explosion of tears when Tom said the most amazing thing–at least it was to me. He said, “Give her minute. She’ll be okay and gain her composure enough to tell you what she’s thinking.”
I know this sounds like such a small thing. Especially if you’re the husband who has never understood your wife’s emotions. And it can also be the other way around. We’ve counseled with couples where the husband was more emotional than the wife, which is actually a lot more difficult because it is so unusual.
But in that moment I realized how much Tom really knew me.
He understood the process I went through in dealing with deep emotion. I felt cared for and deeply loved. And no one was more surprised than Tom to hear me say this, for it wasn’t something where he took a class in to become a better husband. It was simply loving and caring for me in the only way he knew to do–letting me express myself in the way I needed to in the moment.
How well do you know your wife? Or how good are you at expressing your heart-felt emotions to your husband? Is it awkward? Do you feel that he doesn’t care to know? As a husband do you really not care? Are you more comfortable letting her get this need fulfilled through her girlfriends? Sadly, this is what our culture elevates as normal. You’ve most likely seen episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond where his wife Debra constantly laments the fact that Ray doesn’t care about her emotional needs. He only has two things on his mind–sports and sex. And spends all his time trying to get both as often as possible.
There’s nothing wrong with sex or sports! God created sex and sports are our country’s favorite past time. But there is nothing that can compete with the intimacy that comes from connecting on a level where both a husband and wife are vulnerable with each other, yet safe.
We encourage you to work on understanding your wife’s emotional alphabet. She most likely uses words as hints all day long. Next time, pay attention and ask her how that made her feel? Then, be a gentleman and listen. You might just realize what an amazing gift God has given you in your wife.