One woman who had left her husband said, “I just can’t stand the thought of going back into that situation. He offended me in so many ways, and then he never comforted me when I needed it. I just can’t go back.” I asked her if she’d be willing to teach her husband how to comfort her. She gave me a funny look and asked, “What do you mean, teach him?”
“When you are in a stressful situation, or when you’re discouraged, how do you want him to treat you?”
“I’d like him to put both arms around me and gently hold me. Then I’d want him to tell me that he understood or at least that he was trying to understand.”
“Well, why don’t you teach him that?”
“You’re kidding! He’d think I was crazy. And besides, why should I have to teach him? He should do it on his own. I’d feel stupid having to tell him things like that.”
I changed my approach a little. “Has he ever said things to you like, ‘Honey, I don’t know what you want me to do when you’re discouraged. Should I cry, or kiss you, or …?'”
Her eyes lit up and she said, “Yeah, it’s amazing the number of times he’s said that he didn’t know what to do, or how to act, or what to say. I even remember him saying, ‘You just tell me what you want me to do.’ But I always thought he was being sarcastic, and I was offended because he couldn’t figure it out by himself. I thought if I had to tell him it really wouldn’t mean anything anyway. Do you mean some men really need to be taught the little things, like how to hold a woman tenderly?”
My answer was an obvious “yes.” A lot of men avoid soft words and tender comfort because they have never been taught how to use them. Also, they simply don’t understand the positive effects they will have on their wives and the sense of well-being they themselves will receive. I have found that once a man has learned why and how to comfort, he gains a real appreciation for the role it plays in his marital relationship.
© Smalley Relationship Center. All rights reserved. This article was reprinted with permission.