I think I’m being petty…

    My husband has a skill that he freely shares with whoever asks, in the service of the church. Since I also serve the church, I have in the past had to ask for his skill. Sometimes men ask him; sometimes ladies old enough to be his grandma ask him; and sometimes women younger than me ask him. The men and the older ladies ask him one way, and I, since I am his wife and have a special relationship with him, ask him in a much more familiar, expectant way. I have an understandable certainty that he will comply with my request, which those NOT within our circle of two don’t–or shouldn’t–have.

    I sometimes feel like the younger women ask him in the same I-know-you’re-going-to-do-this-just-because-I-asked-you-and-the-idea-that-you-wouldn’t-never-even-crossed-my-mind way that only I should be gifted with. I admit right up front that I can’t put my finger on anything specific and I don’t believe they are thinking of him in any improper way. It’s likely they don’t realize it feels that way to me, and DH does not see any problem either in what or how they ask him.  Part of it might be that each of the women who have been “guilty” of this have been so in the same service position I once held and the things they are asking of him are things he always did to help me.  But then maybe that is part of it: they are assuming he will do for them what he did for me. I feel ridiculous and childish and petty but dagawnit, I feel like they are appropriating my DH and I don’t like it!

    It happened today, and I’m not really mad at DH, just…feeling a little pissy toward this other woman. It’s not like I could even talk to her about it, because how stupid would I sound? Ugh.

    Advice?

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    9 Answer(s)

      Duchess, I feel your pain. Although DH wasn’t asked to do things for anyone except by one couple, it just smoked me. And I would get so terrible furious. I could ask him to do something, and he wouldn’t have time. They would ask him to do the same thing and he was over there doing it in an evening, when he should have been at home. Meanwhile, his DW was at home and beyond upset. I have no answers. But when it got bad enough that someone stepped in to help the situation, the older man asked DH if he felt caught between a rock and a hard place. DH said yes. The friend than told him his place was with his wife, not keeping the other ones happy. That was 18 years ago. And the situation is long gone. But the hurt remained for years. And it was something DH had to work with through the years in other areas, and I had to learn to say things nicely, but super plainly!

      Under the stars Answered on July 21, 2020.

      I should also add that later DH finally really admitted that he hated the situation, but they so expected it of him that he could never ever say no. And he admitted he would rather face my wrath than theirs. Which doesn’t make sense, because their wrath would have been a lot milder than mine!

      on July 21, 2020.
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        What skill? I missed it. Is it a God given gift? I had a friend once who had a prophecy or word from the Lord” That he had for a church he visited infrequently. It was for one time, not repeated.

        Hammock Answered on July 22, 2020.
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          Sometimes petty things are a non-issue. But, definitely not all of them! Clearly this one is impacting you big time!  I’m sorry to hear that. Have you figured out a way and a time to discuss it with your DH?

          I think Brynna raised some good points and her experience seems similar. As I read your post and hers, several instances came to mind when similar things happened to me. It is a huge struggle to know what to do in the moment. On the one hand you want to be gracious and helpful. And you feel like you’ll be a jerk if you say no to someone asking for help. But on the other hand, by helping out you are “requiring” your spouse to be understanding, give you the benefit of the doubt, deal with her own feelings of “why wouldn’t he do that for me? etc.  And to say why you won’t help out is touchy too. I want to be truthful, but what do you say without putting your DW in a bad light. To make things worse, usually you can’t talk to your spouse when you are making  the decision.

          I’m praying you’ll feel better soon!

          Under the stars Answered on July 21, 2020.

          One thing that has helped me and DH is responding ” I can’t give you answer yes or no right now. I’ll need to check my schedule and let you know if and when I’m available. ” most people are usually pretty understanding of that response because they themselves have their own responsibilities to take care of.
          If they are unhappy with that reasonable response , then that tells me a lot about whether I want to help this person or not. Most who are unhappy with a response like this usually have unreasonable expectations or are maybe even toxic. I steer clear of those people, because if you help them once then it seems to be expected that you’ll help whenever they call.

          on July 22, 2020.

          That’s a good idea, FS.

          And thanks, OWM.

          on July 22, 2020.
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            @Duchess – I’ll also add: in a ministry household, his main/first ministry is to be to you and his/your household and your main ministry should be to your husband. Yes, you both have God-given spiritual gifts to serve the Church universal and church local (and you should) but Scripture is clear about caring for your household when in ministry. On top of that, how many ministries have been destroyed because of not taking care of their internals and their own house and marriage? Sadly, too many, including some great mentors, people I’ve known, and one I’ve worked for.

            Without a personal conversation, Duchess, I can’t completely read what’s driving you and your feelings, an internal struggle? Marriage struggle? Or an outside influence?  SC also asked a great question too. Another few come to mind: Is your love bucket full? Is it lacking and  therefore, it’s creating an internal struggle and a vacuum? Is there some jealousy because of the time spent serving others or the feeling inside that he’s given his best to others before you? Is he giving something more personal to others and you need to feel like he’s giving something to you FIRST that he’s so gifted/talented at?  If so, could you be feeling the lack of special personalized/special gifted attention which is creating for whatever reason, some insecurities in your relationship?

            My heart breaks for you Duchess because I know the struggle and I will pray for you as God brings you to mind. I know what it’s like to do ministry. I have had  a spouse make sinful choices and walk away and I know what it’s like to be in a God-honoring, fulfilling marriage all while in difficult, stressful seasons of life (personally and with ministry). I also have parents who are married 58 years and have done full-time  ministry and leadership at the local, regional, and denominational level together from wedding until retiring from vocational ministry. They are still VERY active in local church ministry and community service. I’ve seen the best and the worst in people, marriage, and churches over my lifetime.

            Hang in there. It’s worth it!!!

            Under the stars Answered on July 22, 2020.

            These are some very insightful questions that are going to require more thought.

            on July 22, 2020.

            If I remember correctly, March and April were tough in your household and if it’s like mine now, NOTHING has been the same. I’m researching and solving new problems every single week. My routine has changed every 2-3 wks since March with no end in sight. I’m involved with two physical campuses as well as the online experience and just trying to hang on till the end of next month to get a study break, vacation and conference and unplug for three weeks.

            Carey Niewoff wrote something last week that rocked my world, “your time off won’t save you when the problem is how you spend your time on”.  MIND BLOWN!!!

            Duchess, would the following article be helpful for your husband to read?

            https://careynieuwhof.com/why-your-time-off-will-never-be-enough-to-truly-destress-you/

            on July 22, 2020.

            I quickly read that just now. He made some excellent points! Two things will keep my DH from getting as much from it as I would like:  1) he doesn’t think of himself as a leader (he’s not a pastor or teacher, which is the audience the article seemed to be written for) and 2) he doesn’t think his time off will fix him because he isn’t taking any time off.  He says he’s too busy. But maybe that will make him all the more interested in living a little more relaxed every day. I would love that.

            on July 22, 2020.

            @NWNL,  I really appreciated that link and just copied it and sent it to my husband!  It’s one of those things that would be nice to have a discussion around with those involved in some form of ministry.  Too bad we can’t have a group like that.

            on July 24, 2020.
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              Duchess, only you and God know your heart…and then there’s something to do from there: talk to your husband and  see how he responds to your feelings. Two, is there an emotional hurt to work through with him that’s deeper than you realize and needs to be processed with God and/or hubby?

              Or God forbid, your woman’s intuition is picking up a vibe that needs to be addressed with your husband and at least his interactions with this woman needs more careful attention from you & him.  If you didn’t feel comfortable, you could even do it with your hubby or for your hubby?

              If my wife’s radar goes off, God has gifted her to me for a reason and we have to figure this out together. She is provided to me by God for myself and the ministry’s protection.

              EDIT: I should say protection and encouragement  (spiritually, emotionally and sexually).

              Under the stars Answered on July 21, 2020.

              You raise some excellent points that I had not considered. I actually am a BUNDLE of emotional hurts that need to be processed with God. None of them are hubby’s fault, but they are the kind that are all too easy for me to find triggers in the most innocuous things hubby might do!

              As to my intuition or radar, I just don’t know. We kind of have a reputation at our church for being that adorable couple who are still completely in love after 26 years. It just seems so unlikely that anyone would even think to mess with that. I also tend to think the best of people and have a really hard time thinking she would be intentionally going after him. But then again I have discovered my own naivete in other situations, so I am at a loss.

              I’m giving serious thought to these questions.

              on July 22, 2020.
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                But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.

                On the floor Answered on July 22, 2020.

                I feel like this might be a movie quote? I don’t know which one though.

                on July 22, 2020.

                It’s by Liam Neeson in ‘Taken’.

                on July 22, 2020.

                GREAT movie series…just can’t get DW to watch them with me due to the storyline. I get it.

                on July 22, 2020.
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                  I appreciate everyone’s thoughts. The thing is, (in general response to some that came from several) he DOES do the same for me. He would do and does do it for anyone and I don’t have a problem with that (at least, I’m working on being less frustrated with the extra time it sometimes takes. )

                  I honestly don’t feel that DH has done anything wrong at all.

                  I’m not even sure the women (really, there are only two that come to mind and only one still goes to the church) consciously did anything amiss.

                  I admit I am assuming an internal attitude on behalf of (let’s bring it down to the one today) this one woman, that I can’t know exists. I’m pretty sure I’m objectively being unreasonable. But (to continue the stereotype of women as cats or catty) my hackles are raised, my claws are out, and I want to hiss at her.

                  I guess it’s possible that since DH is such an easy-going, friendly, accommodating guy  she could be using him like a “hit” of fantasy of what it’s like to have a dependable man in your life. Pretend she can boss him around since the men in her life have proven to be rather UN-dependable.  If that’s the case I can understand and have compassion for her but still want to say, “BACK OFF! HE’S MINE!” But then I feel silly, because she could simply be kind of bossy naturally and it has nothing to do with DH.

                  So to summarize, I’m pretty sure I’m wrong, and making a mountain out of an ant hill. And yet I’m still hissy.

                  We haven’t had a chance to really talk, but will try to do so soon.

                  Under the stars Answered on July 22, 2020.
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                    Could it be that you are feeling something similar to your drive-thru, special order situation? Could you be longing for him to just take a stand, and show some strength in going against the “nice thing to do”?

                    Under the stars Answered on July 22, 2020.

                    This is a possibility. I can’t really wish he would refuse to help, but maybe he could make it seem less like it’s a given. Because yes, I want to be the special one; no one else should get to ASSUME he will help.

                    on July 22, 2020.
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                      Two positive options:

                      1. Let It Go!  If you have no reason to doubt your husband, or his total fidelity to you, and he is not neglecting his first responsibilities to you and his family – then just be proud you have a husband with a servant’s heart. Anything else is just a manifestation of jealousy. Nothing good will come from that.
                      2.  See #1.
                      Blanket on a secluded beach! Answered on July 22, 2020.

                      You may well be absolutely right. I might just be jealous. And I AM–EXTREMELY–proud that I have a husband with a servant’s heart.

                      If reflection doesn’t reveal something like some other issue masquerading as this, I will attempt to make like Elsa. (Some of her ice would be kind of useful right now in our 90 degree weather! 🙂 )

                      Thanks.

                      on July 22, 2020.

                      Predicted 94 here today, with high humidity. As the old southern saying goes – “It’s hotter than a June bride around here!”  ….and just as moist…. 😉

                      I have experienced a version of this  dilemma myself. It wound it’s way into our discussion this morning in fact. My DW gets really irratable when she has to work on an animal of our own, especially if things don’t go perfectly. It ramps up very fast if I say ANYTHING about it. If I ask why she does this or that, in complete innocent curiosity, she will blow up. I finally, recently as yesterday, called her on that BS. I know she will act completely different with a paying client.   ….WAIT A COTTON PICKING MINUTE! I’m your husband, don’t I deserve at least as much respect as a stranger?!

                      What I think is happening is we all tend to make a lot of assumptions on our loved ones. We let our guard down and often end up hurting them. It’s not intentional, but we’re blind to it. I would suggest if this situation lingers in your heart, seek a soft way to indicate to your husband how you feel. But be careful. You don’t want to cause problems where there are none.

                      on July 22, 2020.

                      We finally had RAIN today! Bliss! 🙂

                      That does happens sometimes. It is easier to be casually rude to people we love because we know they will always love us. But that doesn’t make it right!

                      I will be careful. He’s a good man. I guess that’s why I feel possessive of him. 😉

                      on July 22, 2020.
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