How we are behind the closed doors of our own private castle is how we really are. That’s the real you and the real me. We can fabricate an image for our work associates and friends, but when the shades go down, the man we really are comes out of the shadows.

We trap ourselves into thinking that our grouchiness and abusiveness with our wife and kids is excusable; they just don’t understand us. “If they only knew what we men have to put up with in the course of a workday, they would break their necks to help make our lives more bearable!” Instead, they don’t understand, so we make their lives unbearable too.

Dr. Henry Brandt, a Christian psychologist, said, “Other people don’t create your spirit; they only reveal it.” Our wives don’t make us grumpy; we are a grumpy person looking for a place to grump! It’s time to stop blaming our families for our bad attitudes and confess they are just the scapegoats for the character issues we have not yet sorted out for ourselves.

When I acknowledged that my wife was not the cause of my anger and frustration, it unlocked the door to her friendship. When I began to include her by sharing my deepest thoughts and hurts with her instead of taking out my frustrations on her, a new friend started to show up when I came home every day.

The key to our relationships is this: People know if you are for them or not. We can say whatever we want, but people figure out the truth in time. If we tell our wives we love them, but spend Monday night at softball practice, Wednesday night at the church, Saturday on the golf course, and the rest of the time watching TV, they can tell if we are for them or not. Time is everything to a relationship. Let’s change our ways and give time to whom time is due.

Morley, Patrick. 2014. The Man in the Mirror: Solving the 24 Problems Men Face. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Check out the new Bible Study, No More Grumpy Christians. It will equip your people to life joy-filled, faith-saturated, positive, optimistic lives. It is available on Amazon, as well as part of the Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service. (Like Netflix for Bible lessons.)