Ep 21: Is my husband being a JERK? Or am I just oversensitve?

Your husband says something that makes you angry and you react in a way that escalates the situation. Then HE gets mad at you. Sound familiar?

Transcript

Spring had sprung and the pollen was wreaking havoc on my kids. 

Stuffy noses and sore throats made sleeping through the night impossible. 

I had been woken between 1 and 2am to administer antihistamine to my girls 3 nights in a row.

On top of that, my husband sets his alarm for 5:30 am and then hits snooze again and again and again. 

Normally this isn’t a big deal, but the disruption of my normal sleep pattern was making me irritable.

Saturday had finally arrived and I was looking forward to sleeping in but the sun rises behind our house and by 7 am, our room was flooded with sunlight. 

I rolled over to face my husband. 

This is how the conversation went...

ME: “Ugh. Our room is so bright."

HUSBAND (in a groggy, half-asleep voice): "That's just your beauty."

ME: "Awww, I just radiate joy."

HUSBAND: "I said beauty. Don't ruin the moment."

And that’s how the fight started.


Actually, the fight didn’t start at that exact moment, but a seed had been planted. 

My mom has always described me as a “rotten tease” and when she first met my husband, she laughed and told me it was about time that I met someone who could out-tease me.  

Generally, I recognize his sassy comments for what they are and let them roll off my back, but that morning and over the next 3 weeks, every time my husband made a comment that was sarcastic, I watered this little seed until the night it suddenly sprouted into a full-grown tree!

I had just received a notification that I had made Podcast Magazine’s Top 50 Mom Podcasts for 2021. 

Seeing how my podcast was only 3 months old and had only a whopping 20 episodes, this was a HUGE accomplishment and I was downright giddy. 

My husband was in the shower and I sat on the edge of our bed, waiting until he came out of the bathroom so I could gush with excitement. 

And when I had the opportunity to share my news, how did he respond?

“Well, how many Mom podcasts are there?”

What difference did it make?! 

Clearly, there are more than 50! 

Why couldn’t he just be happy and say, “Great job, I am so proud of you!” 

All I wanted was for him to share my enthusiasm he completely deflated me instead. I was hurt and angry.

Now, my husband wasn’t trying to be mean. 

It is his nature to ask questions and gather tons of information before reacting to anything in general. 

I often joke that he is my “non-encourager.”

He doesn’t intentionally discourage me, but it often doesn’t occur to him that sometimes I just want or need to be applauded and so he says the wrong thing at the wrong time. 

We’ve been married for over 11 years and, as you might imagine, this has caused more than one fight. 

There have been many occasions where my husband was just being himself and I took his words as a personal attack on my character or achievements. 

It has taken me a lot of years and quite a bit of prayer to accept that sometimes I am being oversensitive and react as if my husband was deliberately trying to hurt me when in reality he just wasn’t being careful with his words.

Have you ever done that too? 

You may not want to admit it, but I would bet there are times when you take what your husband has said and twisted it in your head to make it harsher than it seems. 

In fact, this happens so often and naturally that you may not even realize it is happening because it is a habit that you formed over time. 

Maybe you are incredibly busy, raising kids and managing your home, you could be working and/or volunteering, all at the same time. 

You finally spend a day getting the house cleaned up, the laundry done and the bills paid. 

Dinner is even in the oven when your husband walks in the door. 

You feel so accomplished and he says nothing because he doesn’t notice.

Or, worse yet, he does notice but is dumb enough to point out the one thing you didn’t get done. 

Let the “who did more today” game begin! 

You immediately start tallying up points on your mental scorecard as bitterness cheers you on from the sidelines. 

Or maybe you’ve gained some weight and feel unattractive. 

Your husband pays another woman a compliment and, despite the fact that he never actually compared you to her in any way, jealousy takes residence in your heart, highlighting all the times he didn’t compliment you or poisoning compliments he does give you later.

Maybe you don’t like cooking and feel like you never get a meal quite right. 

Your husband routinely sets up seasonings and condiments by his place at the table to doctor up the meal you place before him.

Night after night, this eats away at your confidence even more. 

(HA - Did you hear what did there with that pun!) 

But seriously, this is a nightly occurrence in my house and it bothered me for years.

There are dozens of scenarios where your husband is oblivious to your hurt or just being himself and your own internal struggle escalates the situation well beyond his intention. 

So what can you do about it? 

First, recognize that this is your issue, not his. 

While it is not that you can’t express that he said something that landed on a sore spot, you need to ask God to help you come to terms with the reality of what is going on in your head and your heart.

So what is going on? 

It could be that you are just plain tired from the demands of being a mom with kids, particularly young kids.

Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion makes you more sensitive than you would be if were well-rested. 

It could also be that your hormones are out of balance.

Pregnancy, post-pardon and during that special time of the month, your hormones can rage making you feel like you can’t stay in control, despite knowing you are out of control. 

While we shouldn’t use our hormones as a blanket excuse for overreacting to a situation, the fact is they do play a huge part. 

Friend, I have been in all of these situations and I don’t discredit any of them. However, there is another, deeper, reason that is likely at the root of all it. 

You are oversensitive to your husband’s comments and react accordingly because you are basing your worth on your husband’s opinion and approval. 

How do I know? 

If you are continuously reacting in a negative way towards someone else’s unintentional, albeit insensitive, words or actions, the fact is you care more about what they say about you than what God says about you. 

What does God say about you? 

If you read through Eph chapter 1, you will see that, through Jesus, God says you are: blessed, chosen, blameless, predestined, redeemed, forgiven, and have been sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit.

Did you hear me say anything about being considered worthy in the eyes of another human being? 

Nope.

Friend, it doesn’t matter if your husband never says a single encouraging thing to you - ever. 

He could never pay you another compliment. 

He may ignore every single achievement you earn. 

But you don’t need to earn his love or approval and your worth isn’t based on his opinion. It isn’t even based on your opinion. 

God chose you to be His and that is what matters most. 

The question you need to ask yourself now is this - 

Is being a child of God and an heir with His son Jesus enough for me? 

Do I love Jesus enough to stay married to a man that continually says things that push my buttons or tap on my insecurities? 

Can He give me the strength to forgive my husband over and over and over again?

If you said “yes,” I now challenge you to think about where there is evidence for that answer in your marriage. 

Do you forgive quickly? 

Do you show forgiveness and grace regularly? Or do you react negatively? 

If so, then you need to rethink your answer and humble yourself before God, asking Him to forgive you for elevating a person above Him.

Okay, so now that we have addressed the root cause and solution to being oversensitive, but what about when your husband really is just being a jerk? 

When he knows what he said was going to send you into a tailspin and he did it on purpose? 

Because it happens. 

I don’t care how “Christian” he is. 

The man you married is a sinner and he is bound to let temptation get the better of him at least once or twice in your marriage. 

Joel and I like to banter with each other and a lot of the time, it is funny and flirtatious.

In fact, I often share our text message conversations in my IG stories because my followers get such a kick out of them. 

But sometimes he isn’t being cute. 

Sometimes he says things that sting and he does it on purpose. 

My husband knows the areas where I am most insecure. 

He knows the sins I struggle with the most. 

He knows which buttons to push that are guaranteed to set me off EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. 

And sometimes he pushes them intentionally.

Our 4th year of marriage was incredibly stressful. We had moved from NC to IN and had been living in another family’s basement while we waited for our house to sell. 

During that time, my husband started his own business and I became pregnant with kid #4. 

When our NC house finally did sell, instead of buying a move-in ready home, we decided to buy a foreclosure that we literally took down to nothing but an exterior shell and completely rebuilt inside.

I once read an article that listed the top 5 life changes that stress out marriage the most and we were experiencing 4 of them all at once. 

It really shouldn’t be a shock when I tell you that there was a lot more fighting than flirting going on during that time.

Then came the morning Joel pushed the button that made me explode.

I am a numbers girl. As I mentioned in Ep 7 on submission in marriage, budgeting is “what I do.”

I was just a couple of weeks away from giving birth to our daughter and was anxious to finish the house but there were still so many decisions to make and materials to buy.

I just wanted to get it done. 

No more research. No more delays. It was time to move forward at warp speed. 

My husband doesn’t make decisions at warp speed. 

As a said, he asks a lot of questions and gathers information, sometimes to a fault. 

In this case, the more I pushed to move forward, the more he dug in to slow down and it all came to a head one morning before church. 

We got into a “heated discussion” about paint colors and my husband went for the kill. 

He told me that I had been wasting our renovation money. 

Me, personally.

I had been irresponsible with our construction loan. 

BOOOOOOOM!!

That was below the belt and he knew it.

I walked over to the dresser, picked up the 3-page spreadsheet that showed where every single dime we had spent had gone, and literally threw it at his face.

I grabbed the kids and stormed out of the house. 

Anyone close to us at that point in our marriage knew how volatile things had been between us for months.

I was uncompassionate to my husband’s level of exhaustion and frustrated with the slow progress on the house. 

On the other hand, he was never around and didn’t see how living in another family’s house for a year has slowly been driving me crazy. 

By God’s grace, our two families really did get along very well most of the time, but the ice was thinning faster and faster every day.

I was reaching my breaking point.

So I would push and he would push back. 

He was a jerk and was a b-, well, you know. 

We were both focused on what our own needs to be happy regardless of the cost to the other person or our marriage. 

And the cost was higher than any budget could handle.

Can you sympathize with me?

Guess what? 

The solution is exactly the same. 

No matter how mean-spirited, intentionally hurtful, or brutally honest (emphasis on the brutal) he is, your worth is not based on his opinion of you and his words do not matter a much a God’s. 

Now, if you are angry or sad because of what your husband said, that’s okay. 

Go off by yourself and freak out! I’m serious! 

Your emotions are not inherently sinful, it is what you do with them that can be. 

So go sit in your car or lock yourself in the bathroom with the fan on to drown out your tears and let it all out. 

Ask God to comfort you in your sadness. 

Ask Him to remind you that you are loved by Him and that matters more than anything else. 

Ask Him to give you the strength to endure and the ability to forgive no many how many times you have already forgiven. 

Ask God for the wisdom and courage to talk to your husband about what happened and accept the fact that you probably need to wait to do this.

Regardless of whether you are being oversensitive or if he is being a jerk, a cooling-off period gives the Holy Spirit time to work on you both.

Speaking of which, remember that you cannot control your husband’s actions, only your own. 

When you do talk to him, he might apologize or he might not. He might get defensive and angry or be humble and repentant. 

But ultimately, a change in his attitude and behavior must come from within and that is the job of the Holy Spirit. 

While you should not allow yourself to be verbally mistreated, you also should not manipulate your husband with tears, anger, or by becoming withdrawn. 

His sin is not an excuse to sin yourself.

The phrase “eye for an eye” doesn’t actually mean “tit for tat.”

If you need help, speak to an older woman at your church who has been married much longer than yourself or directly to your pastor or a biblical counselor.

These conversations should never be started with the intention of bashing your husband for his past failures to gain sympathy, but to seek help in determining how to handle situations moving forward. 

Here’s the thing, most men know when they are being jerks, but it becomes their habit just like we have a habit of being oversensitive. 

We didn’t change overnight, but we acknowledged that we both knew we were in the wrong helped move us in the right direction.

What is amazing is that we can see just how much we have changed individually and as a married couple. 

Do we slip into old habits? 

Yes, sometimes I am oversensitive and sometimes he is still a jerk.

But do we dive headfirst into our old patterns - no way! 

With the help of the Holy Spirit and our devotion to living unto the Lord individually, we broke the cycle.

So can you.

The specifics of my stories may be unique, but the overarching problem is the same in most marriages. 

Fights start because of things your husband says that make you angry or hurt your feelings and you react in a way that escalates the situation. 

But is it because he is being a jerk, or you are just being oversensitive? Yes.

I hope that you found this episode to be helpful. 

If so, would you do me the kindness of giving this podcast a 5-star rating on Apple Podcasts and, if you have a minute, write a short review? 

Your feedback helps other women find this podcast and decide if it would help them too. 

Of course, you can always tap that share button and send this episode to a friend that needs to hear it too.

Remember, spiritual growth is not a destination, it is a journey. 

And while we are on it, God will continue to remind us that His grace is more important than our perfection.



Categories: marriage