When a wife has unknowingly been disrespectful, controlling, and smothering towards her husband for a while, most likely the husband is in “shut-down” mode. Shut-down mode is when the husband is basically off in his own world doing whatever keeps him busy and quite frankly, away from the wife/family. Whether it be hobbies, work, or tv, he will most likely be found doing something like that instead of spending time with the wife/family. He is in shut-down mode because he is trying to steer clear of any disrespectful, controlling, nagging, and smothering from the wife. He is protecting himself. He has become unplugged and hardened, and is in hide-out mode. He is not in tune with the wife’s feelings or needs at all.
Some wives may not be bothered by their man being in shut-down hide-out mode all the time, and may even prefer that. However, most wives usually want their husband to be “there” emotionally, physically, and plugged into the wife/family and not trying to hide. Most wives want to spend time with their husband and have pleasant, meaningful times together filled with love and laughter.
Reality is, disrespect and control are so common now, that there are many many wives who are stuck on the other side of the shut-down hide-out mode of their husbands, and are desperate for answers as to what they need to do to get him to come out and back to her and the family! I was one of them not long ago! And thankfully, the Lord has shown me the way to draw my husband out of his shut-down hide-out mode! It has taken a lot of time and practice, but what He showed me to do really did draw my husband out and back into the relationship and family! And I’ve seen other women do this, and their husbands came back to them too!!! Praise God!
God Can Use Anything To Speak To Us
After finding April’s site and reading all about respect and how men think, the Lord led me to remember that I had a book about relationships somewhere in one of my book bins. I went and dug it out, and started reading immediately. It was the book “Mars and Venus: Together Forever”! This book is not written from a Christian perspective, but the information to me is definitely Biblically based and the Lord was able to open my eyes to a number of truths from His Word by reading this old book about relationships!
In that book, there is something really important that we all need to know as a wife.
“A non-demanding attitude draws him out into the relationship like a magnet!”
DING DING DING!
Here was the answer to my question about HOW to draw my husband back into our marriage!
The Lord showed me that this “non-demanding attitude” was just another way of saying a “peaceful, gentle spirit”!
The reason this was so eye-opening was because I had heard my husband say to me a number of times, “you have all these demands”.
Clearly, he was bombarded with my demanding attitude. An attitude that was all the time focused on SELF, and getting what I wanted from him. There was no consideration for what my husband needed/wanted, it was all about me, and all about what I wanted/needed from him.
When the Lord showed me this, I had been being disrespectful and demanding for my entire marriage, and my husband was very shut-down and in hide-out mode. He lived away during the week, and then when he would be home on the weekend, all he wanted to do was either sleep or spend time on his hobby. He never wanted to spend time with me or do things as a family. He just wanted to be left alone. And whenever that time came, I made it clear that I was NOT happy about this, and I would demand that he spend time with ME instead. I would give him a hard time about everything he was doing.
WHAT NOT TO DO
The worst things to say to your husband if he is withdrawing and shutting-down and going into hide-out mode and heading for the hobby, tv, or more work:
- “But why now?”
- “But we haven’t spent any time together.”
- “Why can’t you be there for me when I need you?”
- “All you think about is yourself!”
- “Did I do something wrong?”
- “How could you leave me now?”
- “You are spending too much time away.”
- “You don’t love me!”
- “I can’t handle this. I feel so abandoned and rejected.”
- “I knew it. You really don’t care about me!”
- “But you have already been doing X this week.”
Generally, a wife’s resistance to the husband withdrawing into shut-down hide-out mode is what actually KEEPS HIM THERE!
So the longer a wife tries to get him to come back to her and the family, the longer he will remain in whatever he is using to keep out of the relationship and family!
In the book, there were 3 steps to take when your husband is in shut-down hide-out mode:
- Give him LOTS of ALONE time and let him actually see that you don’t mind! Even encourage him to spend time with male friends, or his hobby, and when he does those things, do not get upset or feel hurt! See that he NEEDS this time to unwind and process his thoughts, and get recharged and refreshed in order to come back to YOU!
- Ask him to do specific things for you (take you out to eat, watch a movie later, talk for 10 minutes, go for ice cream, etc) and then THANK HIM and PRAISE HIM when he does those things!!! This gives him the feeling of success, once he sees that he CAN please you and make you happy, and that you are genuinely grateful for him. He will actually WANT to do things for you and spend time with you, once he knows that he can make you happy!
- Gradually, and at chosen times, actually talk about YOUR feelings and problems with him in a NON-BLAMING and NON-ACCUSING way. And remind him that you don’t need him to solve the problems, but rather, that you just want him to listen for a few minutes. That way, he is able to actually listen to you, and will not feel any pressure to solve the problems or change anything. This draws him out to you and the relationship and it also satisfies the wife’s desire to connect emotionally.
The underlying issue here when a man is shut-down is because he is at the point where he feels he can NOT please the wife, and that he is a total failure. He gets this idea from all of the wife’s constant NAGGING, BLAMING, CRITICISM, SMOTHERING, AND CONTROL! When all his wife ever is, is upset at him for not doing what SHE wants him to do, and all he hears is how much he is NOT doing enough for her or making her feel loved, the last thing he will want to do is spend time with the wife! It makes sense.
Would we really want to spend all our time with a husband who constantly criticized us, blamed us for their unhappiness, and demanded that we do what they want and who tried to control us by making us feel guilty for wanting to do something APART from them once in a while?
Most times, a husband really is trying to show his wife that he cares and loves her, and after repeated failures, he gives up and heads to shut-down hide-out mode because that is his way of protecting himself from further failure!
If our husbands are in shut-down hide-out mode, we have to seriously ask the Lord to work in our hearts to change and renew our minds, that we might be led by HIS Spirit, and seeking to please Christ alone and not our own selfish desires for the marriage.
We have an opportunity to draw our husbands back into the marriage and family by having a non-demanding attitude (peaceful spirit) and thanking them for what they ALREADY do for us!
When we can understand that our husbands are different than us, and that their behavior isn’t always what it seems to be, then we are in a position to accept them for who they are, and this alone will free them from the desire to hide!
They will be drawn out as they see that we accept them as they are, and that we are not demanding anything from them!
When I read that old relationship book, I saw so clearly what was going on in my marriage and I knew I had to make a serious change. The first thing that I changed was I stopped expecting anything from my husband. When he would be home on the weekends after that, I literally didn’t say anything, and I was so joyful in my own heart from the Lord, that I would just smile at him whenever he was around. I asked for nothing. I did not expect anything. I left him alone, and lived my own life at home, and did not bother him at all.
His response? He immediately saw a change, and stopped hiding from us! He spent his time with us watching a movie, or just hanging out with us in the living room. He wasn’t hiding anymore!!! He didn’t want to get away from us anymore!! When things came up and there needed to be a decision, I told him whatever he thought was best, and I never said anything about what he decided. I stopped trying to control him and our life and marriage. I just focused on my own life and how I was behaving, and my behavior spoke louder to him than any words ever would have or could have! Words meant nothing to my husband at that point. I could tell him I was changing or going to change, and it would mean nothing to him because all that mattered was if I actually did it in action or not. He wanted to see a change in my actual behavior and attitude!
Anytime I have fallen back into having a demanding attitude, my husband has withdrawn immediately!
He is allergic to demands! He can’t be around them!
Demands Are Different From Asking For Something
I want to point out that, having a demanding attitude is totally different than asking him for something specific.
Demand: “You need to spend time with me and not doing that!”
Asking: “Would you like to spend some time later together?”
If you are stuck on the other side of his hiding, I pray you might seek the Lord for a better understanding of your husband’s needs, and that you might be willing to let go of your own interests, that the Lord has a clear way to work in your heart and his!We can’t change in our own strength, and we can’t follow rules just to have our own selfish desires satisfied. We need a total mind change and renewal by the Holy Spirit, and the purposes of the Lord governing our lives in every direction! 🙂