Last May, my husband lost his position with the company he had served for over 14 years. While there had been some hints and clues in previous months, the news still came as a surprise. One day he was employed, then a few days later it was all over. Company cutbacks, and our family wasn't the only one affected.
We were incredibly blessed with a severance package, limited but extended insurance, and there was a savings account to fall back on for a time. In reality, our situation wasn't exactly hopeless or disastrous. Besides, God is our ultimate provider!
But, I don't think my heart got that entire message. Not at first.
Even though I knew all of this information, my emotions went into overdrive just a wee bit. Okay, a BIG bit. We were smack dab in the middle of a large home improvement project and stress levels were already at premium.
I stressed about the project, thinking we would have waited if only we knew....
I became overwhelmed by the question will it be easy or difficult to find other employment?
I tossed and turned over many thoughts, except the ones I needed to be focused on from the start.
What is my husband feeling? How is he doing?
And to take it one step further -- How can I bless him right now?
As wives, it's so easy to become carried away with our concerns and to forget or neglect considering the heart concerns of our spouse.
I'm not suggesting you totally disregard your emotions or feelings, but I do think it's incredibly tempting to think of ourselves first and get stuck there. In this situation, both my husband and I had questions. Both of us were thinking about the future and wondering next steps. Both of us needed understanding and compassion for the road ahead.
But being initially stuck on my own swirl of emotional response wasn't exactly helpful overall.
So today, I offer just a few things I learned about being a compassionate wife from this experience:
1. PAUSE. Before jumping the gun, turning molehills into mountains, or bombarding our spouses with whatever is on our minds right now -- hold off for a bit. If this seems incredibly difficult, well...it is. But, not impossible.
2. PRAY. We need discernment ladies. Sometimes we're asking our spouse to help and listen to every little detail when the Lover of our souls is available to hear us out. God will help us filter through the pile of reactions and calm our hearts, maybe before approaching our husbands.
3. PAY ATTENTION. Take note of his needs as well as your own. It's scriptural to think of others and not only of ourselves (Phil 2:4), especially in a marital relationship. Your husband desperately needs to know his heart is safe with you, and that you care deeply enough to pay attention to what's going on.
4. PRACTICE. Yes, in order to make it stick...we probably need practice. I know I do! Apply these steps to real life situations, asking the Holy Spirit to change your way of response.
Being a wife who is compassionate towards her husband's needs is not only a godly goal, but one which will benefit and enrich your marriage!
Are there other steps or suggestions you would add?
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