Social media, has been a great way for me to quickly write down and communicate what is happening in my marriage and what I am leaning through my experiences. I also hope that those who read my updates are inspired to evaluate and really look at their marriage, but more importantly their impact on their marriage.
Recently I posted an update on Facebook, shortly after hurting my husband and getting us into a bit of an argument.
After going through some of the comments in response to what I said, a few women simply stated they did not understand what I meant. When I saw that, I thought I would take a moment to explain it further, right here!
Validating feelings is something I know all wives crave from their husbands, however, I don’t know if many wives seek to intentionally validate their husbands, or even know what that looks like. I admit I am one of those wives! I constantly fall short of considering my husband’s feelings or what he is feeling about a situation. It is much easier, my life is much easier, if he remains constant, if he doesn’t need me.
I guess it is a challenge for me to know how to think of him, before myself. Ouch!
We had been traveling for quite some time and my husband’s patience was wearing. I could tell by the things he was saying and how he was saying them that his heart was faint. He leaned back in the hotel chair and said, “I can’t wait to get home.” However, instead of sincerely asking if he was ok, or how I could help him relax a little, I insisted that he refrain from negative talk so we end our trip on a good note. I aimed right past his defeat, asking him to disregard how he feels so that our entire memory of the trip is a positive one – that my view of our trip is not tainted by his exhaustion. I was selfish in this moment.
My husband stopped me by telling me how my words hurt him. I didn’t want to be a wife who hurts her husband so I tried to defend what I said in a round about way to justify why I said what I said, but truth be told, I wasn’t making any sense…and I was further hurting my husband by not acknowledging how he was feeling.
I could have encouraged my husband to stay positive during his time of defeat, but what I needed to do was validate his feelings. As I thought about what validating my husband’s feelings even look like, I considered what I would have wanted from him if the roles were reversed. I believe the ways I list below are general ways a husband and wife can validate each other’s feelings. And I am learning it is oh so very important to do this!
When we validate another person’s feelings, we contribute to the building of trust, peace, and love in the relationship. This is vital for marriage.
If you sense something is wrong, or if your husband reveals his emotions by doing something you would rather he didn’t do…don’t jump straight to a lesson on how to improve or ask him to change…take a moment to be intentional…
– Acknowledge: Sincerely inquire about how he feels without interrupting.
– Respond: Listen to the grievance and then graciously empathize.
– Converse: Talk about the situation calmly.
– Serve: Offer assistance that will serve and bless your husband.
– Pray: Say a quick prayer for him in your heart or invite him to pray with you.
Additional things I would love from my husband and should be willing to do for him include:
- Physical touch (Holding hands, hand on back or leg, a tight hug, or even massage, ect.)
- Eye contact and closeness (Leaning in to show interest)
- Encouragement (“Its going to be ok”, a Bible verse, lyrics, ect.)
- Hearing the words “I validate your feelings!”
I am not good at any of this. When I see my husband distressed, impatient, or being negative, my initial reaction is to TELL HIM what he needs to do, out of frustration that he is not doing things my way in the first place. I recognize how selfish this is and I am praying God transforms this area of my life! I believe He will and I believe that I can consider these ways above to help me be a better wife, a wife who intentionally validates her husband.