Saturday, July 30, 2016

Legitimate Concerns

Last Sunday, while driving to church, a plastic bottle fell onto the floorboard underneath my feet.  Sara wanted me to pull it out from underneath my feet because it could have gotten stuck under the brake or the gas pedal causing a potentially dangerous situation.  At the moment of her remark, my defenses went up immediately.  Doesn't she know I can handle a little bottle underneath my feet?  What business does she have interfering with my driving.  Why doesn't she respect me enough to handle this on my own?  Does she think I can't handle it?  These subconscious thoughts rattled through my subconscious brain in about .35 seconds.  I responded with a batch of silence and grunting indicating I could handle it on my own.  

"Don't worry, the bottle isn't next to my foot.  It's away from it," I said.  

After about six or seven seconds of silence, I realized my stubbornness as well as the truth of the situation, which was that the bottle posed a real threat. 

 Unfortunately, as I fumbled around for the bottle, I let my demeanor be known - that I wasn't happy about listening to and following through on my wife's concern and request.

After a few moments, she said, "I'm sorry I'm interfering."   

In this moment, I realized my complete blunder.  My wife had posited a legitimate concern, not an illegitimate one.  

Thus, I said the following: "No.  You're right.  I need to listen to you.  This isn't you trying to control my driving or something like that.  This is you voicing something you think could be dangerous.  You were right to say something.  I'm sorry I was resistant."

When our spouses try to manipulate or control us, that is not a good thing.  However, when they simply want to warn us of a potential danger, we should listen to them even if it triggers feelings of shame and disrespect.  Try to separate control and manipulation from warnings of true danger.