Are You Too Good At Keeping Quiet?


Jono and I stood in the parking lot of the shopping plaza across from the beach with our 4- and 2-year old kids, cooler in hand, looking forward to getting home and putting the kids to sleep after washing the sand out of their hair. I squinted my eyes against the sun, thinking my eyes were playing tricks on me.

Our car wasn’t where we had parked it that morning.

Jono and my cousin who had come with us stood behind me. “They towed the car,” Jono said in disbelief. “They towed the car?” I repeated dumbly, still not believing what my eyes were seeing.

“Dang!” Jono exclaimed. I turned around, trying to fight the irritation that suddenly flooded me.

“This is my fault,” Jono said, shaking his head regretfully. “Yes it is,” I quickly responded. My frustration bubbled out before I could stop it. “But everyone makes mistakes.”

See, that morning when my husband first pulled into this particular parking lot for our family beach outing, I had warned him that it might not be a good place to park. He dismissed it as me being overly cautious, while reminding me that we had parked there before when we’d come to the beach.

“That was years ago,” I’d told him. “They may have gotten stricter since then.”

But then I convinced myself that maybe my husband was right, maybe I was being overly cautious.

Now we were paying for it. Literally.

An hour later as we were driving home after paying for our towed car, our pockets $151 dollars lighter, my husband apologized for being presumptuous and causing our finances to be affected by his decision. I got over my feelings of irritation, but it reminded me of something that I often have to keep telling myself.

Don’t keep quiet.

There have been times in our relationship where I didn’t agree with what Jono was doing, but instead of speaking out and sticking to my guns, I quieted my voice and convinced myself that it was better to just stay quiet.

Each of those times, I later realized that I should’ve stuck to my guns instead of playing the “submissive” wife.

There are definitely times to be quiet and let the other person learn from their mistakes, but when the decision affects more than just that person, when it affects the family, that is not a time to stay silent. Decisions that affect the family are definitely battles worth fighting, even if in the end, you end up at a standstill.

Making your voice heard in your relationship is about more than just equality. It’s about the fact spouses are supposed to complement one another’s characters. There’s stuff you’re great at that your spouse needs your help with and vice versa. By keeping quiet, you’re robbing your relationship of the richness that comes when two people learn from each other and make each other better people.

Getting your car towed may not be a hill to die on for you, but there are other things that people keep quiet about that have more serious consequences. In our relationship Jono tends to be the homebody who likes to save money by-you guessed it-staying home. In fact, you can read about our tug-of-war over finances here. I like making memories, and sometimes that does involve spending money. Now, I’m not a crazy spender, but my husband grew up poor and the idea of us experiencing that gives him anxiety. But I can’t let that make me keep quiet. He knows how to go without and be content with what he has; I know how to have fun for cheap, and I’m not into having lots of stuff. Together we balance each other. He helps me not to go out of control when I go to the store, and I help him loosen up and enjoy life instead of just working all the time.

If I keep quiet and let him make us homebodies, I would be very unhappy, and that unhappiness would ripple into the rest of our family’s well-being. If he let me buy everything I want, he’d live in a constant state of worry and stress, trying to clean up after my (potentially) irresponsible spending decisions. That too would eat away at our relationship. Submission doesn’t mean keeping quiet. It means doing the work to get on the same page with one another.

By coming together and constantly having conversations about the things that matter to us both, we figure out ways to compromise and make each other happy. That’s what God had in mind when He made Eve from Adam’s rib. We’re supposed to stand side-by-side, tackling life together through communication and love.

So don’t keep quiet. Keeping quiet means that your marriage is missing out on major growth and fulfillment. Keeping quiet means that you’re not being true to yourself and that you’re being stifled. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made. You bring something of value to the table.

So speak up.

P.S. I wrote an article a while back on what to do when your husband is doing things that damage your relationship and refuses to change. You can read it here. Remember to speak up! It may be the thing that saves your relationship (or you!).

Make your relationship better by working on yourself!

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5 Things You Should Tell Your Spouse Every Day

1. Thank you. 
It’s so easy to focus on the things our spouses don’t do right, like leaving the toilet seat up or spending too much money. It’s easy to tell yourself that your spouse doesn’t appreciate you enough. But I’ve discovered that focusing on the positive aspects of your spouse can do wonders for your marriage. Make a list of 10 things your spouse has done in the past couple of days that you can thank them for. It can be as simple as saying thank you for putting out the garbage on time, or folding the laundry. The little things that keep your lives running smoothly are often easy to forget. So take the time to thank your spouse, and you’ll see that your interactions with one another will start taking on a more positive tone. 

2. I admire you because…
Your spouse needs to know that they inspire you to become a better person. Qualities like honesty, integrity, determination, and creativity should be applauded. Write down qualities about your spouse that you admire, and tell them why you admire those qualities. A note or a text telling them this will surely brighten their day and make them feel important. 

3. Would you like me to…?
Sometimes we focus on what we want from our spouse instead of what we can do for them. Is there a chore that you know your spouse particularly dreads doing? Is there a particular meal they like to eat or a show they enjoy watching? Do something nice for your spouse, not to get anything in return, but just for the sake of showing them that you care. Selfless acts do tend to come back to you, but don’t do them expecting things to change immediately. Do it for the sake of showing your spouse some love.

4. I was wrong. 
Showing humility is essential to a successful marriage. If you want to work out disagreements, this is one of the first steps. Being willing to admit your fault disarms your spouse’s anger and helps to diffuse the situation. It doesn’t make you a doormat, or weaken your position. It shows your spouse that your relationship is more important than winning an argument. 

5. You are beautiful (handsome).  
Whether you’ve been married for 20 years or 2, it’s nice to know that your spouse finds you physically attractive. So take some time out of your day to tell your spouse how attractive they are to you, that they still make your heart beat a little faster when they come around. 

Doing these things every day will go a long way to improving your overall communication with your spouse, because you're establishing habits of patience, gratitude, and forgiveness. Better communication also increases intimacy, both emotionally and physically. You can only gain from doing these exercises. Incorporate them one a time every week. As one becomes a habit, add