Dare 9: The Value of Deep Breaths

breatheThe Unbroken Woman blog is hosting The Respect Dare. Starting July 10, participants will be using Nina Roesner’s The Respect Dare: 40 Days to a Deeper Connection with God and Your Husband as a guide, posting about their journey. And I will be doing it with you!

Dare 9 instructs us thus: “While being slow to anger, slow to speak, and quick to listen, actively choose to extend grace to your husband. If he says something that hurts your feelings or forgets something of importance to you, actively choose not to take it personally.”

This is hard to do, but it’s something I’ve been working on. The “working on it” process is hard and involves me intentionally slowing my breathing and holding back tears—although sometimes I’m not so successful at this. My husband knows that I’m working on it and is working to recognize how I respond and what I’m feeling. I appreciate this.

We had an incident this evening where our young adult son unexpectedly arrived home when we were making love, quite loudly. I am incredibly embarrassed to know that my son heard my sexual response. Of course he knows we have sex, but he now has those sounds in his head.

After he left the house again (he high-tailed it away as fast as he could), I found myself telling my husband over and over, “I’m so embarrassed. I can’t believe I let him hear me.” After he listened to these same words several times, my husband said, “There’s no point talking about it. It’s over and done with.”

Um . . . those are the exact words he used to say to me as my refusal was beginning when I would try to talk about some things that were on my mind. My mind hears those specific words as “your feelings don’t matter.” I could feel my heart starting to race as I began to feel devalued—and then I chose to take a deep breath. It was what helped me break the patterns of response to my husband’s overtures for sex a few years ago, so I figured deep breaths couldn’t hurt now. My body and heart were instinctively reacting, but deep breathing seems to interrupt reactions.

I reminded myself that my feelings do matter to my husband. Still, it’s hard for me to simply not share my thoughts or feelings at all (you know…all my “not suppressing my own self” stuff), so I decided to respond. However, I decided to respond intentionally, with thought rather than gut reaction—just once, and then I’d let it go. “Honey, I disagree. The point for me is that talking about it is how I feel better.” I waited for his response. “I know,” he said, “and I love you.” And then I got a big I-just-had-awesome-sex grin.

Surprisingly, although it wasn’t what I wanted or thought I needed, it was good enough to do the trick. It reminded me that he and I are a team and that what we’d been doing was mind-blowingly wonderful.

Ladies, what choices did you make about how to respond to your husband today?

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6 Comments on “Dare 9: The Value of Deep Breaths”

  1. Wow!
    That was a challenge!

    My son is only 11. But I go to great lengths to try to keep him from hearing or seeing anything!

    So I totally understand you would feel mortified.

    When I read your husband’s response to your very normal emotions – what I heard was him trying to make you feel better. In a man’s world, as I understand it, men say things like this to try to help others move on and not keep reliving the hurt. They are actually able to stop thinking about things if they do this. I am sure jealous of that ability many times!

    I see a loving husband trying to protect his wife and help her stop hurting.

    But I like the way you responded and told him what you needed respectfully and I love his response back to you.

    Thanks so much for sharing!!!!!

  2. I KNOW my kids have heard me a time or two… I have a hard time being quiet. Sometimes I just grab a pillow and put it over my mouth to muffle it a bit. I sure to like the times that we know they are all gone and dont have to restrain ourselves! Yes it is embarrassing.. and I remember thinking it was kinda gross when I heard my parents a few times.. BUT I also knew they loved eachother.. or they wouldn’t be doing that! And my kids know that my husband and I love eachother very much.. even though we have hurt eachother.. We are affectionate in front of them (hugs and kisses) and we tell eachother “I love you” in public all the time.. My favorite thing (and it reminds me of my grandparents who had the BEST marriage ever) is when we kiss goodbye when one is going away over night or for several hours.. Three small kisses.. and a hug.. I don’t recall when we started doing this.. Perhaps he heard me say how much I liked seeing them do it and how special it was to them… Somewhere along the road he started doing this with me..

    1. One of our sons has said that his friends have told him he is lucky that his parents still have sex with each other. They have said that the environment at home is very tense because of their parents’ difficulty.

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