To this day, some of the most helpful marriage-related teaching I've ever heard has to do with the differences in the way men and women receive, process, and respond to information. Even after 21+ years, I occasionally have to remind myself of the differences between myself and my darling hubby in the way we interact and communicate.
The last few months, as we've been transitioning out of full-time ministry and into God-knows-what (I mean that VERY literally!), my beloved Audi TT decided to have "issues." As money is tight these days, we opted to try a fix-it-yourself on the car.
During the multiple days he spent battling my tiny auto, I would occasionally wander out to the garage to see how things were going. Attempting to interact with a man while he's working on the car (or working at any task, but particularly those he doesn't enjoy) is not conducive to marital bliss. My normally easy-going, happy-go-lucky hubby was testy, short-tempered, and generally not very pleasant. In my younger years I would have been traumatized and taken his bad attitude personally, then been offended and upset later.
Thanks to messages like the one below, however, I know better. He wasn't mad at me. He was in his own personal "auto zone." No, not the car parts store ... that zone of the male brain that is set apart for working on cars.
Men have lots of "zones." There's the pastor friend who told his wife not to talk to him in the morning before he ministers because he has his "game face" on. Or the young newlywed who loses himself in video games for hours on end – his response to pressure at work. And all the fellas whose wives have declared themselves "football widows" or "hunting season widows" or "golf widows."
When hubby responds in ways that seem out of character, or ways that seem short-tempered, or when it doesn't seem like he's paying attention to me at all, I need to remember it probably has nothing to do with me personally. It has to do with the "box" or "zone" he's in at the moment. Much the same way I hope and pray that when I burst into hysterical tears because my car is broken and I can't fix it and I don't contribute financially to the household and I feel guilty because I'm selfish and I know I'm not thankful enough because my mother called me an ingrate once when I was eight ... yeah ... I hope he remembers the plate of spaghetti (you'll have to watch the video...)
My prayer for you is that you'll remember, when the opportunity arises in your own marriage, this funny and fitting word picture... Enjoy!
About the Author: Niki writes fiction, blog posts, articles in the local newspaper, grocery lists, and Facebook status updates. She can be found at her own blog, In Truer Ink, in addition to posting here and at The Pastor's Wife Speaks. She was a 2009 finalist in the Faith, Hope, and Love "Touched by Love" contest. She and her husband pioneered a church plant in 1998 and pastored that church until 2011 before turning the work over to another couple. Nowadays, she's enjoying being a grandma to her first grandbaby and waiting to see what God has in store for the next season of life!