Husbands don’t understand the nuanced language of passive aggressive. I learned this last night.
After watching March Madness for most of the morning and afternoon with Brodie, and later watching the Jets take on the Capitals that evening, sports overload started to kick in. If you want a girl to watch a game with, I’m there, but this was starting to become a little too much. In an instant, I became upset. He was ignoring me! He cared about sports more than quality time with his wife!
I picked up my Kindle and stormed down to our bedroom. I was going to make a statement and he was going to know I was mad. He was going to be sorry for this!
Clearly, this was a strategy that had worked so well for me in the past…………….
After a few minutes Brodie came downstairs. “Honey, whatcha doing?”
“I’m reading.” Stone faced.
“You don’t want to watch hockey?”
“Would you like to do something instead?”
“No.” (Obviously, I did).
“Ok, I’ll let you read then!” And he bounced back upstairs.
DIDN’T HE KNOW I DIDN’T WANT TO WATCH HOCKEY AND I WANTED TO WATCH A MOVIE WITH HIM INSTEAD?! How could he be so dense? I had made it so obvious with my reading and my stone face.
Brodie continued to watch hockey, happy as a clam, and I stewed in our bedroom, trying to read. After a while he came back down, and my passive-aggressive nature corroded, turning into yelling and obvious frustration.
“How didn’t you know I wanted to watch a movie with you? Couldn’t you see I was mad??”
“Well, I know you like to read, so I thought that was making you happy.”
I continued to tell him how stupid he was for not understanding me, even though I never actually told him what was wrong. How didn’t he just know? I believe “get a clue” was used. It was one of my better moments, for sure.
In a way only my sweet Brodie can, he said, “Honey, I’m awesome if you just tell me what you want me to do. I made breakfast, swept the house, went to the gym with you, hung the hooks on the walls like you asked. I’ll do anything you want tonight, you just need to be straight with me.”
I instantly regretted what I had said and done. We had the perfect day together. He’d been the doting husband, as always. Things weren’t going the way I had envisioned for a few hours and I was a passive-aggressive mess, ruining our evening.
This morning, a pastor named Quincy spoke at our church. Upon turning to the passage that he intended to preach on, I timidly pointed at the title and whispered “Me” to Brodie. James 3:3-12, “Taming the Tongue.” Sometimes sermons speak to you in particularly profound ways. This one screamed at me. There might as well have been a flashing neon sign. James has a way of teaching in “short, metaphorical blasts” as Quincy called it. You can’t miss what he’s getting at. The passage reads:
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
I humbly write this blog post, showcasing my own inadequacy, in the hopes of teaching others to learn from my repeated shortcomings. It’s by God’s grace and my husband’s forgiveness that I am improving each day. I am slower to argue, accuse, ridicule and lash out in passive-aggressive anger than I used to, but I still have a long way to go. I pray that “He who began a good work in (me) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
For any guy reading this: Brodie got to watch the Jets beat the Capitals and PVR’d the UFC fights, so everything turned out ok.