Monday, January 23, 2012

A Soothing Word

You know, we all have a bad day now and then. Things go wrong; we get up on the wrong side of the bed; we have a bad hair day; whatever. Regardless of the cause, bad days happen and when they do, it generally clouds our disposition.

Of course, when it happens to us, we expect the world to understand and tread lightly around us. But, do we do the same for others? More specifically, do we do the same for our wives? When they have a bad day, are we considerate of them or do we see it as an infringement on our lives?

I remember hearing years ago that the woman sets the emotional atmosphere of the home. Oh how true that is. I remember days where I came home from the office and as I walked in the door I could tell my wife’s mood, without seeing or hearing her or the kids. Why? Because her bad mood had created a negative atmosphere in the home.

We need to be sensitive to those days, recognizing them for what they are and being ready to help our wives overcome their bad mood. That’s not necessarily the same as solving her problem. Solving the problem may not help her mood. Nor will helping her mood necessarily solve the problem. In a sense, there are two separate, but interconnected problems, whatever put her in a bad mood and her bad mood.

I guarantee you that if you walk in the door and find your wife upset because the washing machine broke down, telling her to call a repairman isn’t going to help her mood one bit. You could even call him yourself or fix it yourself, without helping her mood one bit. Yes, the washing machine needs to be fixed, but that’s not what’s bothering her. The emotional problem which the washing machine caused is the big problem; that needs to be dealt with in a totally different manner.

Remember that you always need to treat her emotions as something important. Whether or not the thing that made her upset is important to you is immaterial; what is important is that she’s bothered by it.

So, how do you help her in this situation? Like I said, don’t start by giving her a solution to her problem; instead, give her a soft word. Change the focus of the situation by talking about something else. Tell her you love her. Pray for her. Give her a big hug and a kiss. Remind her of something funny that happened (that she thinks is funny). Talk about something positive. More than anything, it’s your words that are going to help her overcome those negative feelings; so pick them with care. Let your words be words to build her up and soothe her; taking her mind off her problem and helping her feel secure and loved.

No matter what you do, don’t focus on the problem; at least, not until you help her. Granted, if the house if flooding, you might need to deal with that first, I’m not talking about those major crises’; I’m talking about the small to medium sized things. Don’t discount her emotions, either. They are hers, and if you invalidate them, you’re telling her that she’s invalid as well.

The other thing you never want to do is internalize her words. There’s a pretty good possibility that she’s going to end up lashing out at you verbally. Don’t sweat it; she really doesn’t mean it; she’s just expressing her frustration. If you allow yourself to accept those words, they will hurt, and instead of helping your wife, you’ll end up fighting with her. That’s not going to help anyone.

Remember, a soothing word, that’s what she needs. As King Solomon once said, “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Pro 15:1).

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