When Your Kiss is Met with a Cold Shoulder

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on September 23, 2013

Do you know what’s hard? Life. Life is hard. Oh my goodness, is it ever hard.

Somehow when Dan grabs me round the waist and spins me about the kitchen, though, when he laughs at my not-so-funny jokes, or gazes into my eyes and whispers sweet nothings, all of my anxiety, frustration, and hopelessness seem to disappear in an instant. We stand hand-in-hand, united against all the misery that this fallen world contains. And it is good.

But in those dark phases when every step is toil, every word breeds misunderstanding, and there’s a chill in the air? Suddenly all of the basic trials inherent to life seem that much more difficult to bear. Instead of floating above you buoyed by your love, the weight of the world settles heavily on your shoulders.

I used to think I was powerless to do anything about those valleys. I’d grit my teeth, put one foot in front of another, and trust that all this discord couldn’t possibly last forever. During the unfortunate seasons in which both Dan and I are struggling mightily sometimes that’s the best you can do. Those are the toughest of marital moments.

Most of the time, though, life finds one of us struggling more than the other.

In the beginning of our marriage if one of us was in a bad mood, the other was soon to follow. It’s hard to see your spouse displaying less than stellar behavior and not get irritated by that. I guess that sounds terrible but you know how it is. When you’ve spent all afternoon with the windows wide open, cooking a delicious dinner, and singing along with Ella, it’s hard not to follow your husband down the bad humor trail when he comes home grumbling. I’m sure Dan could come up with a million examples of times and ways I’ve done something similar to him.

One day, though, Dan walked in the door after a long day at work to find me all twisted up in anger, resentment, and a whole host of other miseries and he chose not to engage. I so desperately wanted to pull him down into the darkness with me – in part because I didn’t want to be alone, and in part because I wanted a punching bag – but he stood his ground. Instead of following me down, down, down, he laughed and smiled and kissed our sweet babies. He kissed me, too, over and over again until he coaxed me out of the shadows.

It seems like a small thing — to not engage in my pity party — but that moment was a marriage game changer for me.

It wasn’t just that he didn’t let my mood spoil his, but that he was merciful. Instead of becoming angry at me for attempting to poison our evening with my negativity, he extended a hand of mercy and kept it there until I grabbed it and let him pull me back into the light.

We can do that, too.

I know it’s not easy. When your kiss is met a cold shoulder, the temptation to give your husband an eye for an eye is great. Why should you remain sweet and solicitous when he’s being such a bear of a man?

Simply because this world is cruel and these weary husbands of ours, they need us.

I state the obvious because sometimes it’s hard to see, and easy to forget, that you’re his solace and his safe haven when the rain comes crashing down and he’s fumbling through the dark to find his way back to the path.

It can feel so personal, this lack of joy. Especially when he’s short with you or when it feels like he doesn’t even see you. But it’s not. It’s just all of his exhaustion, fear, frustration, pain, and humiliation bubbling to the surface in the presence of the one person with whom he feels truly safe.

He breathes you in — you with all your warmth and sweetness — and little by little the knot in his shoulders starts to release and slowly he comes back to life. How about that?

When the days are dark and the nights are darker you’re the one he feels secure enough to be vulnerable around; the one he can come to to lay his burdens down knowing that you won’t throw them back in his face; and the one who can heal him with a gentle touch.

By being the merciful hands, feet, and heart of Jesus, you are his saving grace. Just you — sweet, wonderful, funny little you.

{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary September 23, 2013 at 6:22 am

Thank you for this, Haley! What a great reminder.
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Mrs. K September 23, 2013 at 7:10 am

This is perfect
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Ellen Thrifty & Chic Mom September 23, 2013 at 7:36 am

What a wonderful lesson and reminder to all of us!
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ellen September 23, 2013 at 8:16 am

This is just lovely! It seems to me that those little mercies are very simple too. Kisses, hugs, a hand on his shoulder. I keep thinking it has to be something very complicated and difficult and, well then extending love and mercy in the face of a bad mood seems really impossible. How good to be reminded that I was made to love my man in the simplest of ways, and to let Jesus love him through me especially in those moments when he doesn’t feel loveable. I know he’s done the same for me. Thanks, Hallie, for expressing this so well.

Only 12 days till our wedding!

Kari September 23, 2013 at 9:12 am

Beautiful post, Hallie! Thank you so much for writing this. It is a great reminder how we are to help guide each other to Christ. I feel like my husband is much more often trying to brighten my day, more than I am for him. Your words really helped me see I need to try a little harder when he’s having a bad day too. God Bless!

Joy September 23, 2013 at 9:19 am

Wonderful message; and even more important when you have kids. If I follow him into that dark humour what is left but for our kids to wait and wonder, but if I continue to be sweet and funny ~ then our home remains that haven we all need.

Anna @ IHOD September 23, 2013 at 9:24 am

Thank you Hallie. You expressed so well what is hard to put into words.
Taking this to heart!

Nicole September 23, 2013 at 9:26 am

What a wonderfully articulated piece! I struggle with that too, often wanting to pull him down into my moodiness or make him feel sorry for me. He mostly ignores this, which I suppose will eventually help me. There was a time a couple months ago where he came home defeated and sad and my reaction was so terrible. He needed to vent and I went into “problem solving mode” which was NOT what he needed. So I basically gave up and walked away. Poor man. I still feel awful when I think about it; it really hurt him. This was a good reminder. Mercy is really a wonderful gift and all they want and need is you!

Karen September 23, 2013 at 9:36 am

Hallie thank you for such an honest and insightful post. Just what I need to hear and practice. God bless!

Lynn September 23, 2013 at 9:48 am

This came to me at a perfect time. I was in an pity party for myself yesterday and since my husband was not home I decided that it was all his fault. I was angry at him for no reason except to be angry at someone.

He is very much like your husband and would not give in to my anger.

Caroline M. September 23, 2013 at 9:57 am

This is such a sweet and wise piece! I am so guilty of this – my husband is a real caretaker, and so he is ultra-sensitive to what I’m going through. But one day he had enough and said “I think you’re just looking to complain, not actually fix the problem.” Ouch. But it was good in a way, just like it’s good when he refuses to let my bad mood get him down. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve railed against this and that that he’s “not done right” and his response is to kiss me.
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Caroline M. September 23, 2013 at 9:59 am

Congrats on your wedding! Remember to relax – the point is the marriage, not the day. And you will be focused on your loved one that anything that goes “wrong” (and things did at ours!) fades into the background. Have fun!
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Chris September 23, 2013 at 10:03 am

Beautiful, Hallie. The capacity for these (not so small) acts to change the outcome of the day, and really, the outcome of a marriage. Love this.

Amelia September 23, 2013 at 10:13 am

This is great reminder. I am super guilty of letting a bad mood or stress get in the way and trying to bring everyone down.
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Deirdre September 23, 2013 at 10:31 am

Sigh. Love it.

Christy September 23, 2013 at 10:50 am

This is so good, Hallie. Its hard to describe these things in marriage because its hard to admit these things of ourselves. But loving in times of difficulty is brave!
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Jennifer H September 23, 2013 at 10:59 am

Thank you, Hallie! I’m pregnant right now so I’m super emotional to begin with, but I’m crying over this post. This is SO hard to remember when you’re in those bad moods, neck-deep in self-pity, but oh, how much better it is to be vulnerable and approach your spouse in love, rather than dragging him down! One of my good friends recently lost her spouse in a tragic accident. They had only been married for a couple of years, but she said something that really hit home. Besides having a faith-filled husband who longed for heaven, she said they left on a good note – she said they were having a wonderful week – getting along great and really nurturing each other. And that really stuck with me. We could lose our spouses at any moment and I want to make sure that my husband knows I love him – not in a fake way, but also, in my honesty, to choose to love him, regardless of what is going on and to allow him to love me as well. And man, how difficult that is when the pregnancy hormones are raging and half the day, all I want to do is spit fire! :) Thanks for the reminder to work hard on our marriages and that our ultimate purpose in marriage is to get our spouses to heaven!
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pablo September 23, 2013 at 11:02 am

Pray the Holy Rosary.

Praying the Rosary is to take a walk in the garden of Heaven.


pablo September 23, 2013 at 11:04 am

I like your blog.

I helps my women friends know there is a good world out there.

My friend just got cold shouldered and would have been devastated had she not had a lifeline.

God bless your work.


Melody September 23, 2013 at 11:22 am

This is beautiful, Hallie.
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Lena ~ JOYfilledfamily September 23, 2013 at 11:41 am

wonderful reminder to die to self and radiate Him.

Ellen September 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm

Such a beautiful reminder. Thank you, Hallie!
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Agnes September 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Thank you for this post Hallie! It was truly touching and almost made me cry…because I’m feeling a little down today, as my husband and I are struggling with a particular issue. I’m so glad that you reminded me to be a good wife to him no matter what the circumstances. I so very much needed to hear that.
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Isabelle September 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Wow! Were you in my house this weekend? This one REALLY hit home. Thank you.

mary September 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

That was good, real good. And much needed today! Thanks :)

Lisa@SoundMindandSpirit September 23, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I saw this in my Facebook feed this morning when I really needed to read it. It is so good to know that I am not alone in this along with the reminder to not give in to the pity party. Thank you for writing one just for me. :-)
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Laura G September 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Just beautiful; thank you for so articulately writing it! Such a hard lesson to master; you are wise beyond your years. I’m still working at it!

Patty September 23, 2013 at 6:22 pm

SO beautiful and exactly what I needed to hear…I know I struggle doing that to my husband too sometimes:)
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Sara September 24, 2013 at 6:26 am

Very nice post, Hallie! At my house, sleepy & weary look very much like angry, and I have a very hard time telling the difference between the 2 (even after 27 years!) and responding accordingly. But if the response is always the loving one, we can never be wrong, can we?
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Theresa September 24, 2013 at 9:14 am

Thank you for this. I really really really needed to read this TODAY.

Jennifer G. September 24, 2013 at 9:43 am

Oh wow, that was awesome. I fall into the temptation of getting mad or irritated at my husband when he gets cranky. Especially when he doesn’t want to talk about. But you are sooo right in pointing out that he needs me stay loving and merciful. Thank you for sharing your insight. I love the focus of your blog! Marriage needs more support. :)

Clare September 24, 2013 at 6:22 pm

What else can I say? This was perfect, and for me a reminder perfectly timed.

God bless you! ♥
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Janine September 25, 2013 at 10:29 am

Such a beautiful post! Thank you so much for writing it!

Suzette September 25, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Oh this is so beautiful. It has brought tears into my eyes. Thank you. Thank you.

Julia September 27, 2013 at 3:46 pm

I agree wholeheartedly on writer feedback. Writing can be so isolating, just like staying at home with our sweet little ones. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we actually exist, and I think that is what makes blog linking so magical – it keeps the fires burning! Thank you Hallie! :)

Julia September 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Head smack. I totally posted on the wrong thread.

I loved your example of when Dan came home and you were in a rough place emotionally. My husband is so often the sun to my storm clouds. He is always sun and I am very often storm. This post is inspirational, and it helps me understand myself more. Thank you!

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