He Must Be Teething – By Michelle Weiner Davis
QUOTE: When our mates are cranky or crabby, do we assume their motivations to be benign? Do we tell ourselves, “He must be sleepy,” or “She must be hungry”? Heavens, no! We assume the worst! We nail them! We convince ourselves that they are undoubtedly out to spite us at every turn. When our partner arrives late for dinner, do we tell ourselves, “He must have gotten caught in traffic,” or “Poor thing, his boss probably detained him after the meeting,” or “I’m sure there must be a good reason he’s late”? Hardly. We think, “He never takes my feelings into account,” or “Why does he have to be so insensitive?” “That’s it, I’m never making dinner for him again.”
I THINK you may be missing her point. She’s not excusing anything only suggesting that your response be non-critical. A soft answer still turns away wrath which was what happened in the example she gave. The 7 times 70 rule always applies. I’ve been cranky with different people and when they respond graciously it always convicts me and I often have to apologize and I avoid crankiness with them in the future.
God is always trying to use the irritants of marriage to develop the character of Christ in us. – long suffering…patience…unconditional love…forgiveness, etc. If we look at it that way we can even thank God for it. That may be the main reason He created marriage.
BTW – Women aren’t exempt from being cranky. This works both ways. I’m learning to respond graciously to DW when she’s being a crank. I’m giving her lots of practice, too 🙂
The main point of don’t assume the worst is big. This can apply to our spouse and also everyone we deal with. It is very easy in our insecurities to see someone else’s mood, thought, attitude as being related to what we are focused on (our insecurities). It is also easy to assume the worst in others, like a person with a half glass empty approach to life, one can be a half glass empty approach to other’s intentions. We need to be careful with these things. Always assuming the worst about someone communicates how we feel about them, and likely leads to them thinking you are against them.
I think with couples, sometimes the un-talked about, un-worked out about, un-pleased about can turn into an attitude of “being against” where being negative and assuming the negative becomes the standard way to operate. We have to guard our hearts against this.
On the other hand, sometimes one is right that someone isn’t being cool. Sometimes they need to be rebuked. I see this as a try to have faith in the person (be for them!) even if you disagree with what they do/think sort of thing. Ultimately, having a heart of being for someone and not against them is something that I think honors what Jesus commanded.