Let me start by saying that my husband and I do NOT have this all figured out.  Are we waaaaaaaaaay better than we used to be?  Absolutely.  But we still have some pretty crappy moments in our marriage.   So I’m super excited to dive into this book which is new and different for me.

My first impression upon reading reviews and overviews was that it ruffled my feathers a bit.  I wasn’t exactly sure how well it lined up to my biblical teachings because it isn’t presented as a christian marriage book (that’s good in many ways….I sometimes feel us christians can spend too much time running around saving each other and forgetting about the rest of the world who needs some support and encouragement as well.)

But what really ruffled my feathers was this “self-centered” comment.  Maybe it’s just the choice of words (and maybe that’s why he changed it to “ScreamFree”.)  But we’re always taught that marriage is self-sacrificial and giving to the other, etc, etc, etc.  But as I read on I became comfortable.  Really comfortable.   Especially because it was only about 2 and half years ago that I gave up working on our marriage and trying to help my husband.  I let go of all of it because it was exhausting to carry that all the time.  It was the most freeing thing I ever did for a New Years resolution.  I resolved to put my husband and his needs in God’s hands.  To not try to take my plan, my thoughts, my ideas, but to really let go and let my husband be the leader of our family.

Even if that meant choices I didn’t support but were needed for the sake of his learning.

And in order to survive that season of letting go (very tough for an over-achieving, straight A, know-it-all like me) I had to turn to God for my sustaining and focus on taking care of myself.  Because my husband was just in a place where he needed to focus on himself (even if he didn’t know it!).   So actually, we both became a little self-focused.

So…I’ve made myself good with the use of the words “self-centered” – when taken in context.

Secondly….”ScreamFree”.   So I don’t do a ton of yelling…..unless things are REALLY bad.  And there have been those times, as recent as 18 months ago when we had some serious stressors due to some medical issues with our oldest child.   But in general we don’t do a lot of screaming.   However upon reviewing the various ways we “scream” I realize that I do get emotionally reactive in other ways.  Funny that I think about that and work on my emotional response in business but let it run a little looser at home (with my husband and kids.)

And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I REALLY want my husband to read this.  Emotional reactivity runs very high for him.  To the point of him raising his voice to say “I’m not upset and I’m not yelling.” and me looking at him like “If you’re not yelling then I don’t know what you call that.”   Let me just be judgmental and say he’s got some serious denial of his emotions going on sometimes.  And when he gets tired of yelling….or when he doesn’t get an emotional response from me, he runs by being passive aggressive and/or closing down.   Happened just yesterday.  We had a great long conversation on some very serious topics with no easy resolution.   He literally said to me during the conversation “Are we trying to fix this or do you just need to tell me things?”   I stuttered and stopped in my tracks thinking “Is he for real? There is no quick fix to what we’re talking about.”   And he raised his voice.  And I didn’t and then he went and took a nap.  A three freaking hour nap.  It wasn’t even the day after his duty day.  And he was completely unapologetic and woke up asking me what was for dinner.  For real?   How do guys get away with that stuff?  Who ever let’s mom take a 3 hour nap?   Ok grrrrr.  I’m not proud of my feelings towards this but I’m sorting through them and being honest with myself.  And this blog is actually very therapeutic.  Thanks for listening 🙂

My point is….after 12 years, I can see how this “calm down” skill is going to come in very handy for many, many years to come.  And, based on my past experience, if I dive in and give it a try, even a  little smidge might rub off on him too.

Enough about my story….let’s hear what you guys think.

Quotes to Ponder

You do not have to say all the right things at all the right times in order to have a great marriage.  You do not have to know your spouse inside and out and sacrifice your life in order to meet his/her needs. (P. 6)

You don’t want to change your spouse.  You want your spouse to want to change. (P. 23)

Self-Centered Marriage:  These two pay more attention to their own behavior, which they can control, than their spouse’s which they thankfully cannot. (P. 20)

Emotional arousal actually makes us different people than who we are in moments of greater calmness.(P. 17)

Discussion Questions

On a scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the most), how much do you feel emotional reactivity is an issue in your marriage?

Do you feel you or your husband scream too much? (in any form of screaming – See Appendix A)

P. 12 – “Getting emotionally reactive means allowing our worst fears or worries to drive our choices, instead of our highest principles.”  What fears are behind some of the hot spots / challenging areas in your marriage?

What do you think about the statement; ” whenever we allow ourselves to be driven by our anxiety, we usually create the very outcome we were hoping to avoid” ?

Page 22 – Do you ever try to “make” your spouse happy (as if that’s really possible), because it just makes your life easier?

Your Assignment

Pick a question or a quote and comment below.  This is a private post visible only to members of the Fire Wife Sisterhood.   You can be as open or as private as you feel comfortable.  Share what you’d like and it will be held in confidence with this group.

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Firefighter Wife on a mission to save fire marriages, nurture and encourage other fire wives and love on Jesus, my firefighter and our 4 kids. Blessed to be leading this amazing community of Fire Wives.

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