This weekend Brian and I were driving and an ad for a new book came on the radio. Now, I can’t tell you exactly what the name of the book was or how it was worded but it was something about how to deal with a dominant wife.
I was busy doing who knows what on my phone and Brian turned it up and laughed and goes, “hey Meg, order me that for Christmas.”
Disclaimer, Brian is the most kind-hearted person I know. So my rational head-knowledge tells me… “He means no harm by this comment.” But my mouth & pride can’t get there in time. All of the sudden dominant wife turned into crazy wife and I started to question & defend, “what exactly do you mean dominant wife?!?!” I didn’t quite lose it on him like I wanted to but it felt a lot like salt in my wounds and here’s why.
I know I am dominant. I’ve read a lot of material about being a good wife and all the experts say a lot about respecting your husband, submitting, not emasculating him, or nagging him. So when my husband makes a harmless joke about wanting a book to help him navigate a marriage to a dominant woman I feel like I’ve failed. Why do I feel like I’ve failed? Because I made the comment something that it wasn’t: an insult.
This isn’t a one-time thing. I’m guilty of having my own dictionary of meaning in all relationships. When my almost-sister-in-law asked me to be in her wedding (with a thoughtful gift & note) suddenly I had “done it wrong.” I never got my bridesmaids a gift so I’m not thoughtful or intentional. Brian asks me if I want to go on a run—suddenly I’m fat when really he knows running keeps me sane & he wants what’s best for me. When my neighbor sees me walking Franklin and says, “Oh your Franklin’s mom! I’ve only seen his Dad walking him.” (Yes, this is a true story that happened this morning). Immediately I thought, am I an absentee dog mom? Insert your own triggers here but we all have those insecurities that butt in where they shouldn’t be.
So what now? My hope is we can all take things a little less personal. How do we stop taking things personally? See things the way they are. How do we see things the way they are? Ask someone you love if what you hear is truth. Give yourself grace and reflect on how you’ve developed the lens you see yourself through.
Most of the time I would passive-aggressively pout for the rest of the day and sink into a mood until I forced Brian to ask me what was wrong. Immature? Yep. Counter-productive? Absolutely. But gosh it’s just second nature! I’m so sick of being that way! So I swallowed my pride and said, “Bri… I don’t know why but that hurts my feelings. I don’t want to be more dominant than you. Do you mean I should be less dominant? Or that I’m doing a bad job?”
It’s incredible what kind of fruit you get when you are honest and respond in a way that is pleasing to God. It’s as if Jesus was whispering in Brian’s ear telling him exactly what I needed to hear, “No Meg, you are independent & strong. God knew I would need you in this crazy lifestyle and I am so grateful you are so capable.”
Now not every conversation ends in a smooch & a laugh. It’s hard for me to shrug off hurt feelings because Ms. Dominant here has a tendency to argue her point. But Brian can’t read my mind. I can’t hold him accountable to what he doesn’t know. And he’s my husband for goodness sakes! We’re in this for the long run & I know he loves me. So anytime I am thinking or feeling something else, I need to call it out for what it is—a lie—and leave it where it belongs—in the past.