From Tense To Tender
A kind answer soothes angry feelings, but harsh words stir them up.
Proverbs 15:1 CEV
Cindi and Hugh began this chapter talking about a date night that Hugh planned, and yet things were certainly not going as planned … for either of them. When they should have been enjoying their time together, instead they were at odds with each other.
Have you ever had a situation like this? I know I have, and actually, something similar just happened at our house last night. We didn’t have a date night planned as in going out to dinner, but instead, we were going out to feed the horses so they would be well satisfied when we decided to go horseback riding later that evening. The horses normally do great, but on occasion, they will become aggressive at feeding time. There is a pecking order with the horses, and the lowest one on the totem pole was getting bullied every which way she turned! No matter where I tried to feed her, the other horses came swarming trying to get her food. We have five horses, so my anxiety was getting up with trying to keep them away from her so she could get enough to eat while not having any of the horses – or myself – get hurt! Pretty soon I was aggravated (and mouthy, which is something I am not proud of), and my husband was feeling stress, too, due to how my mood swiftly changed.
Cindi and Hugh ask, “How do you redeem the moment when it looks like everything is quickly going downhill?”
Someone has to be the bigger person and extend grace. Someone has to try to lighten the situation up and get things going in the right direction. In situations like these, we have to quickly reverse the situation and go from tense to tender in record time if at all possible. That is not always easy, though. What if neither of you want to extend grace at that moment in time? That’s a tough one! Admitting that you were at fault is an even harder pill to swallow.
Cindi & Hugh suggested trying tender gestures when tension is rising high:
1. An inside joke or something only the two of you share together. This will especially help you remember that although you’re aggravated at this moment in time, you’re still on the same team and are still best friends!
2. A simple touch can help relieve some of the tension. This is hard for me because when I am aggravated or upset, the last thing I want is for someone to touch me. I have to really work at this one. I really like what Cindi & Hugh said about just extending a pinky finger to the other. Cindi said that it softens her every time that Hugh does this.
3. Laughter! In the heat of the moment, if you can get your spouse to laugh, you’ve won half the battle right there to turning this thing around!
I am thankful that love does cover a multitude of sins, and I am grateful that my husband did not hold this against me last night. While it seemed like it lasted forever when it was happening, it truly was only a 15 minute portion of the evening. He grew quiet, although I could tell by his body language that he was stressed feeling as if this was somehow his fault (it wasn’t!).
I drew in a deep breath and made my way over to the shop where he had just walked a few minutes before. I stood in the doorway, as he was at the very back of the shop, and asked for one of his stress-relieving-hugs. He paused a moment, still looking down at what he was doing, before coming over to me. Right there in the doorway of the shop, my husband put his arms around me and extended grace to me. Humbly, I admitted that I was wrong in allowing this situation to aggravate me (and my mouth to spout off) so much that it spilled over to my family. We just focused on holding each other. After that, I went to walk inside to finish making dinner. As I was walking away, he whistled at me, which instantly made me start laughing. Then, he started to move the hay racks and feeding buckets around to help keep the horses at their assigned posts when it is feeding time. (While that sounds crazy to say that they have their “assigned posts,” they do! They know exactly where they are to be fed. Each of our five horses have a spot where they are fed morning and evening. Normally, they will go to their spots. On occasion, though, if one horse (normally our head horse, Arizona) bullies another and moves from their spot thinking the other horse has received more grain than they have, it throws them all off as they start going from bucket to bucket. They swarm around like sharks then, which is what happened last night.)
I am proud to say that despite how things started off, we did have a good evening together … and we did get to ride our horses as we had planned!
Success! I am thankful that we went from tense to tender! (See, day three and this book is already paying off! AND … I am proud to say that my husband is taking it seriously this time around. Not only has he been sticking with reading the book, but he’s even been doing the exercises at the end of the chapters! I am impressed!)
Join us tomorrow for … Praising The Positive!
Buy the book on Amazon: When Couples Walk Together: 31 Days to a Closer Connection
Previously posted in this series:
Introduction: A New Journey (#write31days)
Day One: Enjoying The Journey
Day Two: Leaving Self On The Shelf
The Power of A Note - Light, Love, Hope
October 5, 2014 @ 5:00 pm
[…] Day Three: From Tense To Tender […]