Sunburned on the inside
Imagine I had a bad sunburn, but wore a shirt so you could not see it. If you came up and hugged me (I’m from Texas, everyone hugs) it would hurt – probably a lot. Now imagine if rather than hugging me, you slapped me on the back – very hard. That would hurt even more.
In the first instance, you have no intention to hurt me – in fact, you intended to bless me. In the second instance what you did was not nice, and would have hurt had I not been sunburned, but my pain would be far greater than what you intended.
What if I reacted in each situation without telling you I was sunburned? In the fist case you would think I was crazy, in the second you would think I was a big baby making way too much out of something minor.
The same kind of things happens in marriages all the time, except that the sunburn is wounds of the heart and mind, wounds that can never bee seen. What’s more, we tend to either not know or not care that our wounds are not the norm – we expect the world to see the wounds and treat us accordingly, or we think the entire world is similarly wounded and thus similarly sensitive.
So, you wife has one of these hidden sunburns, and you do something you think is nice, like a hug. She reacts with hurt or anger, and you have no idea why. She can’t or won’t explain. Or, you slap her on the back and she goes off on you, telling you how mean and horrible you are. You can see that it might have been a bit much, but her reaction is so over-the-top that you feel wronged by her. It’s clear to you she is unreasonable and can’t be talked to, and you pull back.
You can avoid a lot of trouble by learning see the wounds in yourself that your bride is hitting. Help her to understand, or at least be aware of, your injuries so that she can try to avoid them while you work to get them healed. Additionally, when your bride over reacts, don’t chalk it up to her hormones or just being irrational – try to figure out if you are hitting an internal sunburn.