The Eggshell Dance: Just Say No!

January 11, 2013

in 2013 Awesome Husband, Be a grownup, Change, Communication, Seeing Clearly

Ever felt you had to walk on eggshells around your bride (maybe two days a month)? Has she ever acted as if she were walking on eggshells around you? Either way, it is not a healthy thing. 

Walking on egg shells © Vclements | 

Sure, we should be aware of our spouse’s mood and stress level, and adjust what we say and do accordingly. However, there’s a problem if we cannot be kindly honest about who we are and how we feel. Waiting till they are not in the middle of something, or have had a bite to eat, sure, but having to shelve things for days at a time is bad for a marriage.

If you have been doing this, you need to confess it to your wife. Yes confess, as in you did wrong. Tell her you are sorry, and you are going to change. What, you will ask me, do you then do when you don’t walk on eggshells and she explodes? Then you deal with it- you deal with her wrong. You see, walking on eggshells is really a way of avoiding her bad/wrong/sinful behaviour, and if you avoid it, you cannot call her on it. If you want it to end, you have to let her do what is wrong and then confront her about it.

If you think your bride has been walking on eggshells, start by honestly looking at yourself to see if you have given her any reason(s). If you have, deal with those wrong things before you ask her to stop her eggshell dance. If you have given her cause to do it, let her know you understand and are working to change. Tell her not walking on eggshells will help because it will help you see if you have dealt with the problem or need to keep working.

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This article makes the assumption of logical discourse between the walker and the exploder. It assumes the exploder doesn't escalate with successive and progressively larger explosions when challenged. Years of individual and marriage therapy still can't answer this question and end up suggesting the big D.

Here's an analogy to different than explosions and eggshells..

I feel like I am at the bottom of a dam. I arrived there after a huge rainstorm and the dam is filled to capacity. My feet are cemented in place by my vow of marriage. There is a hole in the dam, right in front of me that I can block with my finger. Every time I pull my finger away, the deluge gets worse, and it will eventually overwhelm and drown me. My only hope is for the water levels behind the damn to drop to a low enough level(with her own therapy and growth) to be able to withstand the final draining. However, I never know for sure how low the dam level is. I can only hope and guess by occasionally removing my finger and guessing how strong the leak is.

TheGenerousHusband moderator

@littledutchboy I understand what you are saying, and yes, it is a very difficult situation. Ultimately it does come down to her - is she willing and able to deal with her stuff.

On your side there is learning how to cope, and I am sure you have received help with this. The frustrating this is proper coping may not be the thing you would do in a healthy marriage. Protecting yourself is right and necessary, but it may create structures which need to be reworked if your wife gets a handle on her stuff. The boundaries which are right for your marriage would inhibit a healthier marriage.

Nathan N.
Nathan N.

Good stuff. We submit one to another in the fear of the Lord. The problem of false burden bearing is subtle. We tell ourselves that we are loving the other person by making ourself responsible for their bad behavior. We try to fix ourselves or be nicer to the other person in order to make things better, but it is dishonest and manipulative. Love without transparency and the trust spoken in love is not love.


Right, so I love this article, and as you can guess, I am the eggshellwalker. My follow up question would be, how do you address the "explosion". You can't address it in to the moment, because that triggers another explosion. If you deal with it the next day, then it's possible to argue that the explosion was not nearly as bad as I experienced it. :)

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