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Husband Seeks Attention in a Harmful Way

Dave Goetz writes in "Marital Drift”:

Recently, Jana and I weathered one of the most stressful weeks in our marriage. I'd spent the previous two weeks traveling for business, and that week I had some presentations to make to clients. It was also the week that Jana moved her mother into a retirement community. I couldn't help with the move because of my work commitments, plus I had to spend time watching the kids while she got her mom settled. By the end of that week, we were exhausted.

On Sunday evening, I decided to run to my office (which is ten minutes away) to pick up some work. I left without telling Jana. She was busy checking her e-mail, so I thought, I'll just step out, go to the office, and come back; I won't be missed. But I know Jana doesn't like that. She wants a connection before I go anywhere, even to bed.

When I came home, Jana said: "Dave, you were gone for 30 minutes. You know I hate when you don't tell me you're leaving. Are you mad at me?" And I thought, Am I? I knew I wasn't. But by leaving without doing something I know she likes, I was being passive-aggressive. I had a couple of weeks where I wasn't getting any attention, and I responded by becoming passive. I'll just leave and see if she misses me.

We think it's no big deal, but it is. It's a spiritual issue. Passivity, or not taking initiative in your marriage, is a spiritual issue because underneath is a deep current that says, My needs aren't getting met, so I'm not going to meet your needs. That's a spiritually dangerous and crippling place to be.

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