I used to slam cupboard doors. Ken would ask, “Is something wrong?” and many times I would honestly not know the answer to his question. I’m embarrassed to admit I was SO unaware of my own emotions. I didn’t know myself well enough to be able to understand what was going on inside of me.
For example, one afternoon, Ken went golfing with a friend. I cooked supper. He didn't come home when I expected. Kids were hungry. The clock kept ticking. He came home. I was slamming cupboard doors and almost throwing his plate of nearly burnt food on the table. I wanted to be sure he knew that he was late and that it had disrupted the whole evening.
Well, it was obvious to me that I had messed up, and that Janine was not happy. It didn’t seem like she was open to talking about it, so I just stayed quiet to keep the peace. Needless to say, peaceful was not what I was feeling that evening. Now we were both upset. We each spent the evening doing our own thing - and not talking. I wondered, “Why can’t we just talk about this?”
The Game Changer in our marriage came years later, when we learned that we need to figure out what’s going on inside (feelings) and then express that to each other… in a constructive way. It’s not about blaming or fixing or getting even. It’s about understanding each other.
We can TRY to keep our feelings to ourselves, but it usually doesn’t work. They’ll seep out (or maybe even erupt) in inappropriate ways (like slamming cupboard doors, or sarcasm, or maybe the cold shoulder treatment). Now when Ken asks me, “What’s wrong?” I take a step back and figure out what’s bothering me. When I recognize that I’m upset or stressed or angry and simply tell him that in words, it makes all the difference.