4 Tempting Reasons We Fill the Gap And Linkup!

After reading some of the comments from my last post on the bad habit of “filling the gap” or assuming what we think our spouse or others feel/think, I realized that a “map” of sorts would be helpful (thanks to the insights from bloggers Patrick and Andrew).

This map identifies some of the landmarks or “signs” for when you are headed down a dead-end street or, worse, are unknowingly going the wrong way on the highway . . . of your spouse’s mind, that is. Two of these signs involve others and two involve you and your attitude.

Assuming too Much

Beware, because you’ve encountered a(n) . . .

Sign #1 – Internal Processor
No, this is not the CPU of your computer! 😉 It is the way some of us are wired. And the more introverted or guarded you are, the more you are wired this way. These kinds of people rarely tell you how they feel—at least taking longer than we might ever expect or want.

You share deep thoughts and feelings with these kinds of people and they often sit there emotionless and usually have little to say in reply. You might feel like they are simply mulling over what to say back to you, but often they are mulling over what they think and won’t be ready to reply until your muffin grows hair and is hard as a rock. 😉

[Tweet “Don’t rush these folks. If you do, resistance and resentment will follow! #internalprocessor”]

Sign #2 – Male
Men, in general, are notorious for being ambiguous, disengaged or simply not as complex in their thinking and emotions as women. This isn’t always true, so don’t get all riled up if you’re a guy who isn’t this way. I’m simply saying that, as women and wives, we need to recognize this tendency and not come at our guys full throttle. Otherwise, as Andrew pointed out in his comment last week, . . .

[Tweet “Nudging your husband for clarity might be interpreted as criticism. #menaredifferent”]

Sign #3 – Superior Atttitude
I often find myself figuring out what my husband thinks and feels because I think I know him better than he knows himself. That is nothing but prideful superiority and, quite frankly, delusion.

[Tweet “Assuming your mate’s feelings is superiority at worst and delusion at best. #behumble”]

Sign #4 – Self-protective Maneuver
Sometimes I try to “fill the gap” because it makes me feel better—safer. If I can figure out what my spouse is feeling then somehow I can gain a sense of control. But . . .

[Tweet “When I assume my mate’s feelings I lose control—not gain it. #dumbidea #backfires”]

What other “sign” would you add to the four I’ve given?

 

Which of the four above do you struggle the most with, and why?

 

[Tweet “Christian bloggers, join us for “From Messes to Messages” linkup! #messymarriage”]

 

I am gearing up for a new series that will involve as many of you as are willing. The series is called “sexual secrets” and will be based upon the sexual hang-ups and hurdles each of us faces in marriage. But I want this to be from each participant’s anonymous perspective—hence the “secrets.”

I have four questions I would like participants to answer, but since I will be keeping each person’s identity a secret you will be free to be as open as you would like without fear or embarrassment. I will be sharing one person’s secret each week for as long as I have participants.

Some of the “hang-ups and hurdles” I’m looking to highlight are:

  • Past sexual abuse and its impact on your marriage.
  • Sexual addictions, including but not limited to pornography addiction.
  • The challenge of sex after an affair.
  • Sexual identity issues and its impact on your marriage.
  • Sexual preferences and practices are in opposition in your marriage.
  • Having grown up in a family with strict rules on sex.
  • Having grown up in a family that shamed you for being sexual.
  • Being a man with a lower libido than your wife or vice versa.
  • Feeling extremely inhibited or insecure in your body image.
  • Dealing with sex with a chronic condition or debilitating disease.
  • Past sexual promiscuity before marriage and its impact on you now.

For more details, options and guidelines, click here. I hope you’ll consider helping me out with your stories! I’m certain that they will help others immensely! Thanks so much! 🙂


Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, Christian Blogger Community, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Nanahood, Moments of Hope, Family, Friendship and Faith, DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.

Join our From Messes to Messages Linkup!
Add any links that are uplifting, helpful and encouraging to our spiritual lives, marriages and families! Be sure to add a link on your blog back to “From Messes to Messages” or Messy Marriage as well. For linkup guidelines/button, click here.

Messy Marriage


  • Deborah Will

    Beth thank you for all you do each week. You have shared some thought provoking list here for us to ponder. I do think I find myself in one of them and that’s thinking I know what he is thinking. Thanks for the link-up. xoxo

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great post, Beth! (And thanks for the callout!)

    Another sign I might add is cultural; not so much, say, European vs. Asian, but urban vs. rural, North vs. South, and California vs. the rest of the sane and normal world.

    In urban vs, rural, for instance, you have the a general assumption of anonymity set against a place where everyone knows everyone’s business. A city dude will feel free in expressing emotion and even using hyperbole, because “no one’s watching”. A country girl will keep everything close, because everyone’s watching, and they won’t forget.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/08/your-dying-spouse-198-words-are.html

  • Hi Beth, I am always learning when I make a stop here! I had reread last Wednesday and some other posts leading up to this one! This is an interesting conversation I never knew most of the stuff here, found myself giggling at some point while reading
    Can’t wait for your next series.😘

    God bless you Beth

  • Susan

    Honestly? I know longer try to figure it out. I’m an introvert and hubs is an extrovert; however, in relationship? I am usually the one to say *how I feel* and he’s the one who clams up stewing for days; but, this does NOT happen often – perhaps 4 times in our 34 years…not bad. These days I just say the good the bad and the ugly and then move on with a good attitude. I like to live in “clean air.” Your next series? I tend to stay away. A Christian blogger did one of these a year or so back and I was (almost) embarrassed to read it. I trust your wisdom though!!! xo

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Beth,
    You know how the old saying goes….”Assuming only makes an “A__” out of you and me.” (excuse my bad language). Assuming that I know what my husband is thinking always gets me in trouble. They say women are like spaghetti ( all of our feelings and thoughts all mixed in togoether – complex) and men are like waffles (they can compartmentalize and keep issues separate). Trying to have a discussion with these two very different styles, I feel, can be very challenging. I’ve found that one of my best stop signs is to simply shut up and listen. I mean really listen (not just get prepared for my next rebuttal.) Sometimes trying to compartmentalize my feelings isn’t such a bad thing either. Though difficult at times, trying to understand how my husband processes things can be helpful to me too.
    Great thought provoking post!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • I agree, Bev, especially about stopping and listening, and what you said, Beth, about giving our husbands some time. I think we women have always got something to say, not always a good thing. I once asked my husband something or other and got NO RESPONSE for so long I decided he hadn’t heard me. And when I asked if he did, he said, “Yes, I’m thinking.” Even though an acknowledgement of my question would have been helpful, I have to remind myself that “thinking” is not a bad thing and maybe I should do more of it. LOL

      I’m sure your next series will be helpful to a lot of people and I trust you’ll do it with discretion.

      Thanks for hosting. Blessings!

  • Thanks for helping us better understand where the guys are coming from, friend … and sharing a bit from Andrew. His unique life perspective has taught us much we’ve needed to know and understand …

  • Helpful information. My husband and I don’t fit the mold. He’s more of a talker and I am the internal processor. It is so helpful to know that about one another when you enter into those touchy discussions. Thanks for the link up opportunity! Glad to be your neighbor at #coffeeforyourheart!

  • NanaHood

    I always enjoy my visit here! Thanks for linking up at NanaHood, Nanas are messy too!

  • Kate Baxendale

    This post describes SO much in my marriage. I’m an external processor, hubs is internal. I don’t know how to interact with him cuz the only answers I seem to get are “I don’t know” or “I haven’t thought about it” – then he rarely follows up later on his own & I have no idea how to followup without coming across as pushy & critical!

    • That is very tricky, Kate. My youngest son is very much like that and I find it challenging at best to interact about how he “feels.” Have you ever tried to go for a walk with him and talking as you go along? Sometimes men, in particular, find that easier–when they don’t have to look directly at you and are caught up in “doing something” and not just sitting and talking. But whatever way you go about it, your husband will likely need lots of patience in this process. Making him feel you accept him as he is, comes first. In time, he might slowly open up if he feels you don’t have an agenda. I did a series on men and openness back about a year ago. You could go to the sidebar of the blog and click on categories. There’s a category for “Men and Openness” that has several posts on the subject based upon a survey that I did exclusively with men. It was an interesting series. Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend.

  • Oh Beth, you did it again!
    My husband is one of those exceptions who wears his heart on his sleeve. While I found that so endearing when we met, I have to admit that over time…
    But *my* big issues were actually two of them: ugh… the Superior Attitude and Self-protective maneuver, for more reasons than I’m comfortable sharing here (sorry!). But nevertheless, I know that my future is not defined by my past, and with God anything is possible. So I lift up my faults, repent daily, and pray that He will redeem them!
    Thank you for a wonderful, if somewhat difficult, post…as always, you read my mind, lady!!

  • Beth, you always keep my thinking! It will really help me in thinking of the internal processing speed of others. Often I put it on myself and think, “That was a dumb question or statement to make, Lori!” when the person I said it to just stares blankly or stops the conversation! Thanks for always challenging me!
    Hugs,
    Lori