Things I'm Scrupulous About, Vol. 1: Arguing With My Husband

6
definition of scrupulous

Copyright 2016 Rhonda Ortiz. All rights reserved.

I doubt most people enjoy fighting with their spouse. Yet most couples would see arguing as an unpleasant and sometimes necessary part of marriage. When two people live together, they’re bound to bump against each other’s rough edges. Every couple has issues which need to be addressed honestly. Sometimes—because we’re human—we bring anger into it. It happens.

I have a very, very hard time accepting this fact of married life. I hate arguing with my husband. I hate conflict and (scrupulous me) I especially hate the guilty feelings that come with my feelings of anger. My knee-jerk reaction is to think that my feeling angry is always a sin.

As a consequence, I spent several years of marriage avoiding necessary communication so as to avoid all those yucky feelings. Instead of saying, “Hey, honey? That thing you did? It bugged me,” I’d opt for the much superior and totally awesome passive-aggressive approach of silently tiptoeing around my husband like a wounded victim. Because this…

I’m upset. Can you tell I’m upset? I feel guilty for being upset, but could you please apologize to me, anyway? I’m not going to tell you what you did because that’d be an accusation and I don’t like accusing you. That’s right, you’ll need to guess. Even though I’m not sure I even have a right to be upset, I still want you to validate my feelings even though I’m not going to tell you what they are…

… works, right?

Or not.

boxing match for cm-01

Copyright 2016 Rhonda Ortiz. All rights reserved.

It sounds crazy to say, but I’ve had to work hard at arguing. My scruples about voicing my opinions or hurt feelings have to be overcome in order for us to have a healthy marriage.

In his Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius of Loyola tells the scrupulous person that “a soul that wishes to make progress in the spiritual life must always act in a manner contrary to that of the enemy:”

If the enemy seeks to make the conscience lax, one must endeavor to make it more sensitive. If the enemy strives to make the conscience delicate [i.e. scrupulous] with a view to leading it to excess, the soul must endeavor to establish itself firmly in a moderate course so that in all things it may preserve itself in peace. (No. 350)

For me, saying I’m upset is acting “in a manner contrary to that of the enemy.” Every time my husband and I have a disagreement and I feel those horrible guilty feelings, I have to die to myself and do the thing I really don’t want to do: talk.

Others who struggle with scruples: do you also think that your marriage ought to be perfect? And that any failure to be perfect must be a result of sin? If so, how do you battle this? Please leave a comment—I would love to hear your thoughts!

Copyright 2016 Rhonda Ortiz.

Share.

About Author

Rhonda Ortiz writes on topics of faith, culture, and family across the web. She also writes Scripture for the Scrupulous, a weekly newsletter providing guided meditations for battling the "pious problems" of scruples, perfectionism, and anxiety in the spiritual life. Follow her work at www.rhondaortiz.com.

6 Comments

  1. Rhonda, I don’t think my definitely imperfect marriage has to be perfect, but that “passive aggressive” inner dialogue you describe? OMGoodness, that’s me to a t! Thank you for bending my mind today and making me think!

    • It’s so easy to stew and so HARD to just spit it out, isn’t it?!? My hubby calls it my “mousy act” – he hates it, by the way. What’s funny is that in the back of my mind, I’m trying to please him when I do this – I’m a good wife who’d never get upset and can let everything roll of her back, right? But he knows that he’s not perfect and would rather I just tell him what’s going on instead of making him guess.

  2. Your description of your passive-aggressive approach is so me! I can relate on pretty much every level. I spent years doing that but I did it for so long that everything I had bottled up and tamped down exploded. My husband and I are currently repairing our marriage that has threatened to fall apart after years of resentment towards each other that was never addressed.

    I’m a recent convert (currently sharing my story on my blog) and the faith has helped me navigate my marriage in a whole new way. We are attending a Retrouvaille conference in the fall to learn better communication. Prayers please!

    • Absolutely I will pray for you. Sending up prayers to the Holy Family right now!

      I sincerely hope you and your husband find the peace and reconciliation you need. God bless you both for doing the hard work of working it out.

Leave A Reply

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.