We’d just put the boys to bed, and the preschooler had already been up twice. It’d been a long day. At 38 weeks pregnant, I’d cleaned the whole house, mopped the floors and done laundry. The hubby had taken both boys to their T-ball game, grocery shopping and worked in the yard. We were pooped.
As we opened the door to our master bedroom, ready to collapse into bed, our eyes fell on our unmade bed.
I’d washed our pillowcases, sheets and duvet cover, but they were still laying in a shapeless heap on top of our naked mattress.
“Bummer,” he said.
Yes, it was a bummer.
But, I’d tried.
All day, I’d ignored my sore back and lugged around a huge pregnant stomach to scrub toilets and bathtubs, mop floors and switch laundry. I was tired and sore, but I really wanted things to be clean and nice for the family.
But I’d forgotten to put the sheets back on our bed.
It’s crazy. That single word shattered my proud little wife heart.
It sounds melodramatic, but it’s true.
Why didn’t he praise the laundry I’d folded? Where’s the appreciation for cleaning at all, being as pregnant as I am?
Immediately, I felt a rush of sadness.
I felt unappreciated. Overlooked. Taken for granted.
1. Take a deep breath. The truth is, after the “bummer” comment, I lost it. Yelled at him. Told him he should be thanking me for cleaning our whole house at 9 months pregnant, instead of complaining. But I wish I’d behaved differently. I wish I’d taken a deep breath and waited a few minutes before responding. Give yourself a 90-second rule. If you’re hurt or offended by something your spouse does, wait 90 seconds before responding. You can avoid a lot of hurt and residual issues if you give your emotions time to breathe first.
2. Instead of getting mad at him, tell him you’re hurt. I used to just shut off the moment I felt hurt or taken for granted by my husband’s actions. Now, I make a real effort to at least inform him of my feelings. It’s not telling him what he did wrong. It’s telling him how I’m affected. In my case, “That ‘bummer’ comment makes me feel like you’ve taken all the housework I did today for granted.” Don’t just keep quiet and let your anger fester. It’s not helping anyone. And we all know the anger-holder is way more miserable than the person they’re angry at.
3. Remind yourself that this doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. I have a big problem with equating stuff my husband does to how much he loves me. Which is totally wrong. Would I want him to measure my love of him by my housekeeping, or how often I do the dishes? It’s sick and wrong, but for some reason, my mind always goes there. I get into his car, and if the gas tank is empty, I think, Of course he didn’t think about me driving the car. But don’t fall into that trap. (It’s a trap, it really is. In fact, I believe Satan likes to tell me lies about how my husband doesn’t care for me.) Your husband does love you. He makes mistakes, but that doesn’t change his heart. I know my husband has a good heart, and he loves me.
4. Look at the big picture. Perspective always helps me when I’m feeling overlooked. He made the “bummer” comment, but did he take care of the kids almost all day? Yes. Did he help me with grocery shopping? Yes. Did he hug me when I woke up this morning and sweetly ask me how I slept? Yes, he did. Once I consider the big picture of our day, it’s easier for me to extend grace, even if I feel slighted in the moment.
5. Think of all the things he’s forgiven you for. You’re not perfect either. You’ve done things that hurt him, and I’ll bet he’s forgiven you and moved past it. Even though your feelings of being hurt and feeling taken for granted are totally legitimate, reminding yourself of the grace he’s extended you when you least deserved it might help you feel less angry.
When you feel taken for granted, how do you get past it? Share your helpful tips in the comments section below.