You Gotta Speak Up!

This one is not a guy thing, it is a human thing. (But guys may be less willing to work on it.)

He does something that bothers you. Either you say nothing, or you mention it once or twice then let it drop. However, it keeps bothering you, and it bothers you more and more every time until you cannot stand it anymore and you make a big deal about it. He reacts by looking at you as if you are crazy.

Just wait © David Castillo Dominici

Think about it from his standpoint. You have said nothing about it the last 283 times he did it, and now “suddenly” you are livid. That does look a bit crazy, does it not? From his point of view, his actions were fine with you for months or years, and now you expect him to change right now!

If you can learn to live with something, keeping quiet is fine. If it is not going to drive you bonkers this is a loving way to deal with small things. However, if you cannot learn to live with something, do not try, and do not let it go on unchallenged. Speak up early before it becomes a deeply ingrained habit.

What if you have been silent about something for a long time and you have reached your breaking point? Again, understand it from his point of view: you are “suddenly” making a big deal out of something that he has been doing for a long time. Admit upfront that you have been silent. Tell him you thought you could live with it, but you realise now it really bothers you and it always will. Let him know you understand you are asking him to make a change for you, and that it is going to take some effort on his part. Be sympathetic to that, and to the fact that he will slip into his old habit at times without even thinking about it.

What if you bring it up and he ignores you? Stand your ground. Keep telling him it is a problem for you. Ask if there is some way you can help him change. If he continues to ignore you, let him know you will seek outside help if necessary. Do not threaten; just state it as a fact. If he still makes no effort to change, prayerfully consider where to get help. 

A late addition: The Warrior Wives post for today fits nicely with this – Confrontation Is Not Anti-Submission.

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6 Comments on “You Gotta Speak Up!

  1. Ah, this is a familiar one to me. For years, my default was to avoid conflict over little stuff until it was too much. Then, came the anger, the lecture, the period of more passivity, and then more anger and another lecture. I felt badly about being upset, so I always held back my true feelings in a way that kept me from honestly putting it all on the table. After some God-healing a couple of years ago, I found that I was less able to lie about my feelings. I was more quick to share concerns but still with great intensity. Thus began the journey to share concerns without running the other party over. Recently, my workplace hosted a class on communication and confrontation. The 60 second confrontation method has helped me to be honest, put everything on the table, and then search for understanding.

  2. But if you’ve already mentioned it once or twice, then to keep mentioning it would be considered nagging.. and men hate nagging…

      • A perfect set-up for what? I’m genuinely confused about how to draw the line between nagging and following up on his “ignoring” so that he sees that this issue is important to me. help?

        • The perfect set up for a post on nagging. I will attempt to draw that line in my next post.

          In short, yes some women nag, but some men use the word to try to keep their wife from saying things she should be saying. If a woman does both, avoiding the first will make the second more effective. If she’s not doing the first the issue is his, but she might be able to find a way to communicate so he can better hear her.

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