April 28, 2017
by Dan Mielke
0 comments

How to Deal with a Spouse’s Personal Attack

It is impossible for any relationship with more than one person to avoid conflict or argument.  Whether intentional or unintentional every person will hurt another in a relationship.  So what should be a spouse’s response to the accusations of their mate?  If applied these powerful truths will relieve tension and allow for reconciliation.

First off, Acknowledge the hurt before killing the lie.  If your spouse comes to you and shares their fear or observation that you hurt them do not immediately go into a defense, explanation, or confession mode.  All three of the previous responses may in the short term seem like they are addressing the issue, but in reality they are not.

If your spouse were to come to you and say, “I was really hurt by your comment about my cooking when we were with your parents.”  And your response is, “I didn’t say anything hurtful.”  That defense response is the equivalent to a call to war (Pr 15:1).  If your response is, “I didn’t mean it that way, all I meant was…”  Even though is sounds humble and right, that explanation does not deal with the hurt.  Another pseudo humble response is, “I am sorry, I will not do it again.”  Even though that last response sounds like a homerun swing like the other responses, it is laden with problems.  Neither of the responses acknowledge the hurt, they do not allow for understanding, they allow the person to possibly hold onto an illegitimate hurt, and cause the problem to spring up in many other areas.  Instead of a defense, explanation, or confession response, a much better response would be to acknowledge the hurt before proceeding.  “I understand that it must have been painful for you to feel criticized…”  Once the pain or fear has been addressed, the spouse then knows you understand and are on their side and will be more willing to hear a possible explanation.

Second, Work on base ‘needs.’  If a spouse feels (or was truly) hurt, it is not wrong for them to want respect, fairness, or acknowledgement of a wrong.  All of those are actually God instilled desires.  This does not mean how they are approaching you or the tone of voice they use to address the issues is right, it simply is an acknowledgment that certain desires are not wrong.  In fact, the book of Proverbs lists many biblical desires that are not of themselves sinful (respect, reputation, riches, joy…)  The problem lies in whether or not someone is willing to violate Scripture in order to get those needs or wants.  If your spouse is sharing a need or a way that they have felt violated, make sure to address that need before defending or explaining.

Third, Seek understanding.  Many couples ruin communication by substituting their own meanings for others.  The simple question, “What do you mean by?”  Will honor the person and allow for communication followed up by its sister question.  “What I am hearing is…?”  Many countries and couples have gone to war leaving a bloody trail because they misunderstood a few key terms.

Fourth, Do not listen to loaded terms.  It is so easy to get stuck on the intent behind loaded, all-inclusive terms.  “You always… I never… Every time…”  Instead of pointing to the times that you didn’t do or say, swallow the urge to defend and stay on the task of understanding what it is that hurts/bothers your spouse.  (Prov 17:17)

Fifth, Do not impose motives.  Phrases like, “Then you did this because… I know what you wanted…”  All have stepped out of the realm of humanity and are claiming the ability of heart knowing reserved for God (1Sam 16:7, Jer 17:9)  Those types of phrases are actually accusations. 

Sixth, Beware of checkmates.  These types of phrases are subtly scripted ‘winner takes all’ signs of false humility.  “What you did was wrong, but I forgive you.”  “One of us has to be the bigger person, so I won’t push the issue.”  Literal interpretation, “You were wrong, and we are done talking, because I am soooo gracious.”  These types of phrases are most often used by the person who is still clinging tenaciously to their point of view while asking you to put down your saber and surrender.  The phrases are actually one last jab before humiliating the spouse to either agree or be viewed as unloving and vengeful.

Seven, Make sure you do not substitute agreement for listening.  Listening and agreeing are not interchangeable.  If one views agreement and ensuing action as listening, they will feel justified in accusing the other of pride and an unwillingness to listen.

Eighth, Realize you are on the same team.  If your spouse loses, you lose as well.  As one flesh, if your spouse’s pain or hurt is not addressed, it is impossible that you both will not suffer.  Nobody benefits in a civil war.

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18

March 31, 2016
by Dan Mielke
0 comments

Why Men Don’t Listen, and What You Can Do About It

After writing the Womanual explaining the husband’s role of understanding his wife (I Peter 3:7), some have asked why I didn’t touch on the previous command of wives living in silence.  The short answer, is I wanted to help men and their wives by helping men understand women.  Peter has a lot to say, however, regarding the mirrored principle of women understanding men.

“Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, when they see your reverent and chaste behavior.” (I Peter 3:1-2 RSV)

To sum up this article and Peter’s point, men aren’t good listeners, therefore women should learn to speak man language.

Women often think that their primary tool of communication (talking) is the mannag’s primary tool.  Look at the last women’s outing at your church or home, what did they do?  Regardless of the activity, there probably was an unceasing buzz of conversation.  Compare that to the last few man activities I have been to.  Splitting wood, field dressing a deer, playing basketball… Not much chatter, but a whole lot of unspoken conversation.  Even when men do sit around and chat, there is very little personal sharing and lots of action.

The man’s primary tool of communication is action.  This is why Peter commands the wives to speak in guy language, the language of action.  Do not expect your man to be fluent in your language.  Men believe what they see.  This principle is made excessively plain and understood be anyone who wears make-up.

Actions are much more convincing for a man.  Your husband may be able to counter your arguments or make excuses for his actions, but can your husband truly hate you for making a meal on time, or bring logical syllogisms to bear when you are availing yourself intimately?

Secondly, everyone hates a convictor.  Men (and women) naturally despise being told what to do.  Let your man wrestle with the Holy Spirit.  Let your man see your unselfish works and actions of love and wrestle with his own guilt.  If you step into his battle and tell him what he should or shouldn’t be doing it is the marital equivalent to visiting a war ravaged country, and you become the primary target.

Those in conviction love to blame it on anyone that makes them feel guilty.

One of the tensions in marriage especially if the wife is more spiritually inclined is that the man feels trapped by despair-513529__180his wife’s conscience.  If the wife is continually telling her husband what he should be doing (going to church, disciplining the kids, quitting a habit, dieting, etc.) the husband’s natural response is going to be defense.

It should be noted that the wife is normally saying all of these statements out of a deep sense of care and concern for her husband (after all, if he smokes his health will suffer, if he doesn’t come to church, his soul will suffer, if he keeps eating junk food his cholesterol levels will spike, etc.) but the problem is the man will invariably see these “love statements” as attacks.

It will not take long before the wife’s good intentions frustrate the husband, and the husband’s refusal to change will frustrate the wife, which will result in more talking which will result in more defense.  The man will do less, so the woman will talk more.  God’s model is much simpler and productive.

It is imperative that we understand this principle in context.  Even though a marriage relationship will be beautiful if both parties are following God’s pattern, contextually Peter’s main point is we are to submit for God’s sake (2:13) by imaging Christ in trials (20-24).

God loves to give his children good things, and wants us to have good marriages, but never at the expense of our marriage to Him.

We are to obey God, not because it transforms our marriages, but because it brings honor to God.  I understand that there are many men who are very difficult to live with and this article is not designed to be a tool for men to be selfish.  I would ask that both genders consider the question, “What better plan can we come up with than what God has clearly prescribed for peace in our home?”

 

 

 

January 30, 2016
by Dan Mielke
6 Comments

Why Women Love Flowers

Why Women Love Flowers

 

Why flowers? This is a question I have asked myself since before I was even interested in a female. Why is it that the accepted sign of a man’s undying affection and loyalty is something that will be dead in a week? I have asked dozens of ladies this question and have gotten various answers. “They are beautiful.” Well so are guns, and boats, and cars. “They show that you were thinking about us.” So does going to a rodeo or remodeling the bathroom. All the answers I have gotten from females in my opinion have carefully skipped over the obvious: Flowers cost money.

Guys already agree with me, but for those women reading this article, let me illustrate. Our church had a funeral on a Friday and the family donated one of the large bouquets to the church. On Sunday the entire auditorium smelled like flowers as the congregation met to worship. The next week was the Fourth of July and the particular bouquet did not fit the color scheme of the decorators, so they were going to throw it away. Being a resourceful husband, I received permission to take the bouquet home to my wife.

When I got home, I had to turn sideways in order to get inside our porch because the bouquet was nearly four feet across. I knocked on our front door and watched my wife’s face light up through the small window. She came jubilantly to the front door beaming with love for her husband, opened the door, stopped, frowned and then said, “Those are the flowers from the funeral aren’t they?”

They were beautiful; they were thoughtful; they were an expression of my love, but they didn’t cost money. Why does that matter? Money is an expression of worth (Mt 6:21). This is the same reason that telling my wife I love her is not the same as taking the time to write her a card.

This is not to say that women should be bribed or bought, but men should invest in their wives. If I am not willing to spend time and/or money on my wife, I am fooling myself that I truly love her. We as husbands should make it a priority to express our wife’s worth, particularly in the area of joint activity.

Life has a way of clawing for our attention, and we wind up feeling locked into dozens of activities that leave precious little time for one-on-one time with our spouses. An understanding husband must be on the look-out for activities that can strengthen a relationship by being together.

Some Bible scholars speculate that if Adam had been with Eve in the garden, the temptations of the serpent would not have worked. Why not figure out some activities that you and your wife can do together? I am not talking about taking a knitting class, or learning how to scrapbook, but it is essential that you pursue some activities that you both can enjoy. Maybe your wife wants to suntan while you go fishing, or you can pull the cord while your wife skeet shoots.

What did you do when you were dating that built memories? If you and your wife are not physically spending time together, you will be drawn apart. There will be stages in your life that will make it harder to spend quality time together, but even in the busiest stage of life, we find time to do what we feel is important, like eat.

Nothing shows worth like time spent together.

 


 

 

Man Challenge

Fill out a list of activities your wife enjoys, and another list of activities you enjoy. Circle the ones that are the same in both lists, and then set a date when you will do them together.

Things My Wife Likes:
___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ __________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ __________

Things I Like:
___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ __________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ ___________ __________

Circle the ones that are the same and then set a date when you will do them.

January 30, 2016
by Dan Mielke
2 Comments

Leading by Example

Leading by Example

     Become a consistent example of what you want her to be. “Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.” (Phil. 4:9) I cannot expect my wife to follow where I am afraid to enter. A true leader leads by example. This is what Christ did. God had every right to tell us to shape up and listen, but He went a step further. He became man, and dwelt among us (John 1:14). There is no honor in belittling our wives into submission. I call this the Al Capone method. We make our wives, “an offer they can’t refuse” by making them choose between submission or ridicule.

When I was on the high school basketball team, for conditioning we would have to run killers. These consisted of running and touching every line in the gym multiple times. After running several consecutive killers the whole team would be panting as they lined up to run another set of killers. Even though I knew the coach wanted me to succeed, even though I knew it would allow me to get into better shape, even though I knew the pain would not last long, I still remember the intense feeling of resentment and anger towards my coach. He would holler the most despicable words, “On the line!” The first few were really not that bad, but as practice wore on and we did more and more, I remember thinking, “Does coach have any idea how it hurts?” Those are the same questions your wife is asking every time you “coach” her on her attitude, her habits, and her thought process.

There is another vivid memory I have of running lines. And that is of the assistant coach. He was in his late forties with a potbelly, bad knees, and a shirt covered in sweat, but he was on the line. He never placed among the top runners, he never wowed us with his athleticism, but he ran the lines, and whatever he said after that, the team listened because he had earned their respect. Incidentally, that man was my dad, and he taught me how to run lines in more than just basketball.

Men, if you think your words are going to be enough to motivate your wife or your children to change, you will breed resentment and anger that will explode when your children reach their teen years, and your wife will never believe you care. The team needed to get in shape, but we all need a leader to show us how it’s done.

January 30, 2016
by Dan Mielke
0 comments

Externalization

Externalization

     Do you understand what a simple task means to your wife? If your wife were to ask you to take out the trash, would stepping over the bag land you in the dog house? Would forgetting to pick up milk on the way home, cause a ruckus? Why is it that seemingly minuscule acts create such a firestorm? If your wife’s reaction confuses you, it is time you learn about the principle of externalization.

Women externalize their feelings. They often place the value of their feelings in an external tape measure. This is why an anniversary card means so much to them. This is not a new concept for men; what man hasn’t felt the external connection to a great sports play or felt the confidence of sitting in a sports car or truck? This is especially true in regards to your wife’s honey-do-list.

The woman whom you love so dearly, has made a physical connection and has tied herself into the item that needs fixing. If you came home and your wife’s arm had fallen off, you would give her immediate attention (I am not really sure how that would happen, but you would be concerned). If you didn’t do something to remedy your wife’s armless situation you would be labeled an insensitive jerk, and rightfully so.

What we as men must realize is, our wives do not see the menial task she asked us to address as menial (taking out the trash, changing a light bulb, picking up milk). They view it as an extension of themselves. Therefore, if you are not willing to address the honey-do-list or some other seemingly minor repair around the house, it is assumed you are not willing to care for your wife. Regardless of the truth of this assumption, the leader of the home is required to understand this principle.

Woman play dirty, but not intentionally. They bring up areas of tangible action (like mowing the lawn, fixing the towel bar, taking out the trash, putting the dishes in the sink, etc.) Even though they ask for things on a tangible level, they are actually working on an emotional level. Men must realize that, deep down, your wife could care less if she had to share your towel bar because hers keeps falling off; what upsets your wife about the unfinished task is that your projects get attention and SHE doesn’t.

In the middle of writing a section of the Womanual, my wife asked me if I could carry down a rocking chair from the upstairs and put it in our room. I decided to test out my theory of personal extension, so I asked my wife, “What would it mean to you if I didn’t take down your chair?” I was completely unprepared for her answer.

She told me that the simple task of moving a rocking chair 20 feet would mean… “That you cared enough about me to listen to my needs, and are willing to invest your time in my life…” I stood there for over two minutes listening to what moving a chair meant to my wife.

Not only does the principle of extension come into play when I am asked to do things by my wife, it also explains why it is hard for my wife to relax when the kitchen is dirty. Women view their houses as extensions of themselves. So any lack of effort or criticism on the husband’s part is viewed as a personal attack.

Maybe this is put into better perspective by a DOT inspection. For those of you who have run trucks, imagine a DOT officer pulls you over for a truck inspection. Everything on the truck passes, except one rear headlight is encrusted with mud. When you explain that you were working in some back roads after a rainstorm and didn’t even know about the muddy light, he proceeds to tell you how to take care of your truck and slaps on a hefty fine. That is what a wife feels when unduly criticized or corrected.

Ask your wife what it means to her when you do a simple task for her and prepared to be amazed at the depth of her answer.