One of the most frustrating parts of my marriage is when Joe doesn’t understand me.
Yes, this happens a lot.
Joe is the most amazing man ever. I adore him and desire him and love being with him and but when he does not get me, my first instinct is, I’m done, why do I even try to talk to you?
Now small caveat to all this: of course when we met and fell in love, that level of understanding, that YOU GET ME was soooo very prominent. There was no one else in the world that got me better than he did. But now? You will never understand. Why don’t you understand this by now?
Know what the problem is with needing to be understood in every circumstance? When I’m convinced I am not understood, it gives me permission to pull away. I put up walls rather than pursue connection.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be close to somebody who doesn’t get me. Really, now. If I feel completely out of touch with somebody or a group of people and get the sense they they just don’t understand where I’m coming from, what I’m saying, I usually think, nahhhh I don’t need those people.
But what if that happens in your marriage?
Should we pursue understanding each other in our marriage? Absolutely positively yes! I do aim to spend my lifetime trying to better understand my husband. As I understand him better, I can love him better. It takes a lot of time and effort to understand someone!
Joe knows me better than anyone else. He listens and tries to learn about me on a consistent basis. But I cannot insist that he completely understand me. That is really is a step outside my circle ask and putting expectations on my marriage that is completely unfair. When I need him to understand me in ways he cannot, I’m making that need an idol in my life. Letting my happiness and peace hinge on how well he understands me.
Let’s not put that burden on our spouses, or anyone for that matter. Jesus is the lover of our souls, the one who knows us completely. When I’m disconnected from the love that God has for me- when that is not what is sustaining me, I place impossible requirements on my husband: Know me perfectly. Understand me at all times and in all situations. Those are things only the Lord can do for me.
When you’re feeling misunderstood
Accept what he can and cannot understand. A little bit of grace here goes a long way. You and your spouse are different people, different genders, from different backgrounds. Be patient and don’t add additional pressure. Understanding will not always be easy for either of you.
Refuse to let resentment sink in if you are misunderstood. It is frustrating when someone truly doesn’t understand, or if you feel like they don’t even want to understand. You can choose to love your spouse regardless instead of becoming bitter.
Seek to understand your spouse. There’s a good chance your spouse also feels misunderstood. Instead of focusing on how you are misunderstood, focus on understanding your spouse better. When I make that shift, I feel less misunderstood and I grow in empathy for Joe and where he is coming from!
Pray and seek the God– He knows you best! Ask Him to search your heart. As you seek Him, He will give you grace for those times you feel alone and misunderstood.
Living in that place where you feel perpetually misunderstood will eventually deteriorate your marriage.
Are you ever tempted to live there? Thinking that your spouse will never understand you is a small slide to “irreconcilable differences”. You will have differences. Difference perhaps you feel like you will never get past or understand. That’s okay. That means there will be ample opportunity to offer grace in your marriage and demonstrate selfless love. That you have the rest of your life to pursue understanding your spouse more, all while knowing you are not the true lover of their soul.
Lord, you have examined me and know all about me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I get up.
You know my thoughts before I think them.
3 You know where I go and where I lie down.
You know everything I do.
4 Lord, even before I say a word,
you already know it.
5 You are all around me—in front and in back—
and have put your hand on me.
6 Your knowledge is amazing to me;
it is more than I can understand.