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So I’ve always been kind of a sensitive person (my family members are thinking: Kind of?!).
I take things that people say to heart and allow myself to be easily insulted, hurt, and offended. While this is not a good thing, by any means, I was pretty much able to get through life this way before I was married. When you’re single and live on your own, it’s easier to avoid situations and people that you feel have wronged you (I’m definitely not saying it’s right to do so, just that it’s easier).
So what happens to the overly-sensitive woman who gets married? I’ll tell you (from experience): Either you continue to be easily offended, making both you and your husband miserable in the process, or you adopt the ways of an easy-going nature.
At some point early on in our marriage, my husband told me that he didn’t want to feel like he was always having to walk on eggshells to avoid hurting my feelings. And who could blame him? I didn’t like hearing it at the time (did I mention I’m sensitive?), but he was right.
Being overly sensitive in your marriage is harmful for many reasons.
It makes your husband less likely to open up to you for fear of upsetting you, decreasing transparency and emotional intimacy.
It puts stress on the marriage, as your husband never knows what “wrong” thing he’ll say next, and you are on edge, just waiting for the next offense to occur.
It breeds negativity as you’re both so focused on what’s wrong with the marriage rather than all the things that are right with it.
“Do not take to heart all the things that people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you. Your heart knows that many times you yourself have cursed others” (Ecclesiastes 7:21-22).
“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11).
Think about the people in your life who never seem to get offended. These people are always a breath of fresh air, a blessing to be around! What’s different about them? If you’re not sure, ask them! How do they manage to be so easy-going, so willing to overlook an offense? For me, this meant talking to my husband who has always been incredibly easy-going with me. I asked him how he does it. He told me:
“You can always find a reason to be offended, some perceived insult, some negative way of looking at a situation. I just choose to believe the good rather than the bad.”
It’s not hard to see the blessing an easy-going nature can be to a marriage!
Instead of responding to things out of your sensitivity, actively work on being more easy-going. Your initial reaction might still be one of sensitivity (hurt, angry, offended) but that doesn’t have to dictate your response. Before you respond, work on changing your mindset. Change how you are viewing the situation.
Stop assuming the worst. Stop examining every sentence for an insult. Stop looking for an offense at every turn.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).
“Let your speech always be gracious” (Colossians 4:6).
Instead, start giving grace. Give your husband the benefit of the doubt. Look for the good in what he says or does. Choose to believe the good rather than bad.
“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).
Listen to what’s really being said and open your heart to the possibility that it’s not meant to upset you. For example, sensitive people tend to really dislike being called sensitive by others (or at least I always have!). But it’s true, isn’t it? And, if it’s true, it’s something that needs to change. When my husband told me he felt like he was walking on eggshells, he wasn’t trying to hurt me. He was trying to help our marriage. And I’m so thankful that he said what he did! It led me to start making changes that benefit our family. If sensitivity is an issue for you, I urge you to do the same!
Adopting an easy-going nature isn’t easy; it takes work. There will definitely be times when you stumble. But choosing to let go of things rather than to get upset will make you a blessing to your husband and the rest of your family.