Monday, March 24, 2014

THE CONTENTIOUS WIFE


For all of my adult life, in a number of marriages, I have been a contentious wife. There, I said it.

I still have a confrontational personality at times when I feel attacked or threatened or anything negative that is said against me as a criticism. But I'm working on changing that, for the sake of my future in the relationship I have with the man I love now.

I am a spiritual but not religious person, yet I grew up in a religious family. I can say that I still enjoy some of the Bible verses because they have sat in my innermost being for decades. Proverbs and all those rules were some of my favorites. I don't know why. Something about having clear-cut black or white rules seems to clear up the muddle. There's a whole rules and punishment thing that is deep in my psyche too, but I won't go there. Things are not usually so prim and proper, so cut and dry.

In reality life is a lot more in the grey zone, and flexible, at least in most things. Law and politics bore me to death, and crime and punishment are not exactly my favorite things, yet I have this thing... this quirk in my personality that has to poke and prod and push someone until I provoke a response, which is often negative. I create conflict. I realized this pattern years ago and stopped the majority of it.

Yet somehow, I still do it occasionally.

It's really the defense mechanism that is the hardest part to deal with. If someone criticizes me I see it as a personal attack, depending on how it is said. At times it is not at all, and I take it in stride, and work to change it, but if it is someone close to me, and they have bitterness in their voice, I immediately reject it and find justifications and excuses to protect myself because I know the fight is coming.

I hate the blame game, yet it is my one brother that picked on me (he was 9 yrs older than me) growing up that I remember fighting with all the time. Evidently I was the spoiled rotten brat. True! I provoked even then. He would make me cry, and make me defend myself, or I would try to get my way. Into adulthood this continued, until I created enough distance that I was 'safe' from harm.

I realize now I still create this distance when I do not feel safe, or bullied, or verbally attacked or made to seem "wrong" somehow. If I feel like someone is coming down on me, I withdraw and then attack. I avoid, and move away, and sometimes PUSH hard. I reject the person. This is not good in a relationship where both parties could have rejection issues. This can cause dissension.

In fact, this behavior of being confrontational, and also pushing people away, is a bad habit of contention.

If I do not stop this behavior I will lose my current relationship. I do not wish to be a contentious wife in the future or at any time. The time is now to stop this bad behavior.

Definition of 'Contentious' from Merriam Webster dictionary:
likely to cause people to argue or disagree, involving a lot of arguing, likely or willing to argue

The Bible verse that the word is used in (Proverbs 21:9, 21:19, 25:24 27:15) KJV:
It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.
It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.
A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

You get the idea.

The opposite of a contentious wife (Biblically speaking) is the Virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 (especially verses 12, 26, 28). But what of the contentious woman?

Men can be contentious too, and just as nagging, bossy, and incessant, but it is the wife (or woman) I speak of here. Namely myself.

What good can come of it if any negative remark is followed up by an even more negative response?
What good can come of it if one cannot take constructive criticism, even if it just sounds like plain old criticism?
What good is it if a woman is contradictory or confrontational, defensive, bossy, or a nag at every turn?
What good is it if a woman is simply always justifying herself with excuses or so-called 'reasons'?

*Stands up on the soap box*
"Hello, my name is Sharon and I'm a contentious woman."

They should have CWA meetings, that is, Contentious Woman Anonymous meetings... like AA meetings for alcoholics.
"I have been nonconfrontational and nondefensive for 22 days."

It seems a hard pill to swallow, this contentious woman of Biblical proportions.
Yet I stand before you.
I am one.
I am contentious.

I hate it. I hate it about myself, and wish to stop. I don't mean to be. I just am. And that is a complete excuse and I know it.

So it is time to STOP IT.

I think that I will take it the same way I did when I lost a lot of weight... one day at a time... and focus on what I CAN do instead of what I cannot. I will use replacement/substitution so that I'm not just focusing on what I should NOT be doing, but rather what I SHOULD be doing.

I should be a virtuous woman.

It is a more positive thing to focus on.

I MUST do this, because I was threatened in my relationship today that if I did not stop being so confrontational that I might lose that relationship.

I didn't realize it was that bad.

I am.

So I change.

I am grateful for the opportunity to change, and rid myself of this contentious woman who has been with me all of these years, and now has no place in my life or future.

Just as I do not want poverty, or ill health, I do not want contentious behavior to come between me and my dearest love.

I apologize honey, publicly, for my contentious behavior.
Thank you for your love and support, always.
Yes dear, I will walk faster...

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