Should I Remain Calm, or Curse Him Out?

It’s a known fact that when you’re in a relationship, at some point you and your partner will disagree. That doesn’t mean that each time you disagree it will rock your foundation. In my opinion, a disagreement in a relationship is the outcome of two completely different people trying to either make the other conform to their ways, or the two are trying to understand one another and meet on common grounds. Attitudes soar in disagreements and then it turns into an argument. In those intense moments, it’s super important to think about what your response or reaction will be. Effective communication is best. A screaming match, sleeping in separate rooms, going out drinking, or cheating won’t correct any issue within your relationship. Another mistake people make is talking about their partner terribly to family and friends when an argument has taken place.

We often make the mistake of dogging our spouse out to others behind their back. Simply put, words hurt. Even though you’re not saying it to them directly, you’re planting seeds about them in other people and putting it out there into the universe. Your words hold weight. Scripture says that the power of life and death lie within our tongues. We have to remember that old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” No matter how mad you are, no matter how sad you are… Think about what you’re saying before you say it. This doesn’t mean you have to sit quietly and suppress your emotions. It’s more so the act of practicing self control and loving your spouse through your pain and/or anger. Most of the time it’s not what our partners are saying, but it’s how they’re saying it that truly affects us.

Our words tend to be a reflection of our heart.

I don’t know how many times my friends and I and have had to reset our thoughts about each other’s boyfriends because we only spoke about the negative aspects of our relationships. We share all of our negative thoughts about our partners, never putting an emphasis on the good they do. In turn, we’re sowing a seed in ourselves and those around us. Now, if you’re in a relationship with a jerk, it is what it is. There’s no good to report.

So… should I keep calm or curse him out? Usually my initial thought is to curse him out and throw something at him, but I choose to stay calm. Why? Because although my feelings are valid, they may only be for the moment. I have to take the necessary time to assess what my husband has said to me to see if I truly agree or disagree. If I respond the wrong way immediately, it makes it hard to come back and remedy the situation.

This isn’t always an easy task. Most times I feel like I’m shutting down my feelings and letting him “win.” However, when I take the time to calm down, I’m able to come back to him and ask pertinent questions about what he said. Afterwards, I’m either able to confirm the feelings I felt or realize that I didn’t hear any of what he said correctly. I tend to shut my husband out after I hear the first point that I disagree with and my emotions naturally take over.

A few months ago, my husband and I were in a deep debate about the future of our family, and it was taking a toll on both of us. I was seriously sick because it was the first time we actually disagreed and neither of us were hinting at conceding to the other. We couldn’t see eye-to-eye, and I was confident in my feelings. I had no plans of backing down. We eventually softened our hearts to one another, but it was after a lot of prayer and guidance from my spiritual mentor. Guess what? My stance was valid, but my way turned out to be the wrong way.  Had we gone with my decision, we would have surely suffered. I gratefully stepped back, and let God and my husband do the work. I wanted to curse him out every time I spoke to him, and I wanted to run to my mother and friends and talk badly about him just so that I could hear “yeah you are so right.” I’m glad I didn’t. Instead, I prayed without ceasing and sought godly advice from those loved ones.

Over the years, I’ve matured gracefully and gained a great circle of accountability. I had no need to speak ill about my husband to my support system because they were able to offer sound advice rather than just their opinions. Get your mind right, learn how to communicate effectively, pray without ceasing for yourself, your partner and your relationship, and get your circle in order! Lastly, “be sure to taste your words before you spit them out.”

 

 

A Different Perspective

The other day I watched clips of an interview of Pastor John Gray where he sat down with the women of Sister Circle. He adorned his First lady, in her absence, with beautiful words about how she is the reason he is the man he is today. He referred to his wife as a “coat” because she was his covering during the rough times of their union. He used the metaphor that she is “two sizes bigger than him, and he is still trying to grow into her.”

My wife has endured more pain birthing me than both of our children. She has sacrificed these last eight years uncovering the painful areas of my manhood and covering the areas that could have exposed me. She deserves anything I can give her… I’m going to live the rest of my life to honor her because she gave me what I couldn’t give myself, which was a chance to heal while still seeing the God in me. “

In the comment section, there were many women who received his message with passion and loved the point he made about his wife being a “covering” and not a “lid” where she would “cap” him. Others weren’t so amused and found it offensive. From what I’ve concluded, many of the opposers felt like Pastor Gray’s statements boasted a message of measuring a woman’s worth by the amount of pain she endures. One man’s response questioned how did Pastor Gray’s wife turn out after having to go through those same eight years of struggle? He wondered what affect her sacrifice had on their children. Another woman expressed her feelings of being fed up with women sticking it out with men who expect their wives to do the things their mothers should have done… raise them. 

While I respect the opinions of those commentators, I absolutely disagree. As a wife and Christian, I disagree with those perspectives. I think those points stand strong when a couple isn’t married, but things change once you exchange those vows. You are standing in front of one another in the presence of the Lord vowing to love one another and build one another up during each high moment and every single low moment. With the right person, your commitment is solidified when you get married. A long-term relationship is not the same. 

For most, divorce is not an option and has been taken off the table. So, because one runs into trouble that doesn’t clear up in a few months or even a few years does not determine their need to leave. Now of course, if your life or your children’s lives are in imminent danger, YOU MUST GO. No ifs, ands or buts. 

In my opinion, many people viewed the clips with the expectation that he should have grown up before he decided to marry. Yes; it is clear that one should be mature and ready for marriage, but let’s go a little deeper. As adults, we do our very best to confront any issues or areas of our lives that need healing and growth, but how does one know how to remedy something they never knew they had a problem with? When you’re married, some seasons force you to deal with different aspects of your life (I.e. childhood) that you never knew would cause you trouble later in your life. You can be well put together and then an argument triggers a childhood trauma. It wasn’t an issue in the beginning, but now it is. Do you leave? Do you leave the person that you vowed to love through sickness and health because it took them longer than a year to deal with an underlying issue that took 12 years to create?

In marriage, you are commanded to be your spouse’s strength and helpmate. There are moments when one is up, and the other is down, when both are down and when both are up. If your foundation is sturdy and rooted in the right things, you’ll both be able to cover each other where needed. Those 8 years of sacrifice for Pastor Gray and his wife could have been him choosing to quit his job to pursue being a pastor full-time, leaving the financial burden on his wife. Let’s assume things turned sour in the mist of this because he felt like less of a man because he wasn’t providing for his family. His attitude was poor, and it was a rollercoaster every day for his wife. Life happens. Bad times happen. Look at what position they are in now! They are financially secure, and from the outside looking in, their marriage is stronger than ever. Should she have left? If they weren’t married, sure! 8 years is a long time to figure things out with someone who isn’t your husband or wife.

What I saw in those clips was a man acknowledge that he wasn’t always the man he is today. That he wasn’t always the husband he is today. That it took him longer than he wanted to get it right, but he eventually did, and his wife stayed by his side while he got it together. When he said she endured more pain with him than birthing their children, I imagine it was because the pain it took for her to birth their children was quicker than it took for him to get his life together! If there is no abuse, that’s what a wife AND a husband is supposed to do! You’re supposed to go through rough seasons in order to grow through those seasons. There is no time frame on trials and tribulations. 

Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot. Is it ok for a husband to leave his wife because of the toll her postpartum depression took on their marriage. Let’s say postpartum depression then took a turn and triggered anxiety issues and more within her, so now she’s not the same as she was when he first married her. It takes her more than a year to feel normal again. Should he leave? No? It’s not okay for him to leave her in a vulnerable state and in a rough patch of their marriage, right?

Those opposing individuals are right. As a girlfriend, it’s not necessary to be someone’s “ride or die chick” for eight years. However, as a wife, it is extremely necessary to be your husband’s lifelong partner and confidant. The one who helps build him up during times of weakness. The same goes for husbands. Marriage requires 100% on both ends. You both have to give 100% of your love and effort. Every day, every month, every year, we grow as individuals. That doesn’t stop when you become married. You continue to learn about your spouse every day for the rest of your life. 

Pastor Gray showed people that marriage isn’t a walk in the park. Sometimes you’re on cloud 9, others you’re ready to call it quits. He also showed gratitude. He vowed to make it up to his wife by serving her the best way he could for the rest of their lives. I challenge you to change your perspective when it comes to marriage. Have high standards but try lowering those expectations. We’re all human and need a little grace. 

Standards vs. Expectations

After days of scrolling through social media, I HAD to blog about my experience and thoughts on a few posts. They all had a similar tone. If your girl or man don’t (fill in the blank), you can’t marry them. Here’s the most recent post that sent me running to my blog. “If yo mama cooking and she don’t go in there to help you can’t marry her.” Of course there were thousands of responses, but you know I had to go to my husband to see what his thoughts were. His response (not verbatim), “The fact that he associates a woman in the kitchen being wife material is a problem to me.” He totally stans for women and I adore him for it!

As we dove deeper into conversation, I began to think about the difference between having standards versus expectations. We both agreed that there is a difference between the two, and find it to be one of the leading causes to men and women missing out on a good woman or man.

In my opinion, standard is the measure of the quality or value of someone. It’s the determining factor in whether you decide to pursue someone or allow them to pursue you. Expectation is what you believe someone should be or will do. If one does not meet your expectation, you may be disappointed, but not completely turned off.

Here’s a snippet of what my standards looked like:

  1. He can’t smoke cigarettes.
  2. He has to believe in the same God as me.
  3. He has to have good hygiene.
  4. He has to be taller than me.
  5. He has to be able to hold an intelligent conversation.

AND MORE!

Here’s a list of what my expectations looked like:

  1. He must be able to cook like my father.
  2. He must be great with his hands (plumbing, mechanic, building, DIY).
  3. He must have a nice haircut. (Preferably like Morris Chestnut in The Best Man)
  4. He must be a football player.
  5. He has to be bigger than me. (Gotta be ready for this jelly)

AND MORE!

I wouldn’t budge with my standards, but my expectations were things I could soften up on. Maybe he’s not the best cook, but he’s responsible with his money. Okay, so he’s not that great at fixing things around the house, but he’s willing to learn. I love haircuts, but men with curls and locs are just as handsome. He may not be a football player, but he’s healthy and athletic. There’s a rebuttal for them all.

In the post earlier, I immediately thought “what if his girl didn’t know how to cook, but planned on helping her set the table and clean up?” Is she still not capable of being a wife? Maybe she’s not confident in her cooking skills, but is willing to take lessons? What if her mother never allowed her in the kitchen growing up, so she doesn’t even think about helping out in the kitchen? There are so many factors. I believe it is when we set high expectations in individuals that we become severely disappointed. Humans disappoint all the time! We’re not perfect. That’s why we have to simply view our expectations as a hope, but not a determining factor.

For example, a woman who is pregnant is not told that she will have her baby on a specific date. She is given an estimated due date. A date that she can expect to have her child(ren) on, before or after. When a business has a job listing posted, they list skills that are required and skills that are preferred but not required. That means that if one does not possess the preferred skills, the business will not turn them away. They simply hope that the candidate will have them. In my experience, the employer will say something like, “skills are preferred or candidate must be willing to obtain training.” What if we applied that in our relationships? I prefer my girlfriend to be able to cook, but if she’s not able to in the beginning, she must be willing to learn. That is actually a mix of expectation and standard. It allows each individual involved to be honest and determine which direction they will go in.

Now, as usual these are my thoughts and opinions. Some of my standards may sound like expectations to others and vice versa. All in all, I think we as people need to know the difference between standards and expectations, and make sure that we are putting emphasis on the more important one. I believe that expectations can be discussed with one another, while standards cannot. We also tend to set high expectations but take offense when we do not meet another’s expectations. “My man has to make sure that my hair, nails and toenails are always done,” but you can’t even take the car to a drive-thru car wash. Honestly, sometimes our standards are a bit extreme too. “My man has to make more than me, and I make $70,000 per year.” Okay, so this woman marries a man who makes $115,000 per year, but he loses his job because the company goes bankrupt. What next? Do you divorce him?

This post is not to persuade anyone to lower their standards. However, I am definitely one who says, lighten up on your expectations of humans and shift them toward the Lord (or whoever you believe in).