We all know that women can act childish at times.
Contrary to popular “Christian” marriage counseling, attempting to compromise in these situations is about the worst thing you can do.
She needs a grown up, not another child to get swept up in her drama.
So here’s a quick “grab bag” of phrases you can use to show her that you’re the grown up in the relationship.
When she attacks a clear mistake you made:
“Yes, I made a mistake. I processed it. I learned what to do better next time. And I’m moving on. Because that’s what grown ups do.”
When she complains about you not doing enough of something:
“Well, I’m not perfect, dear. But what I try to do is focus first and foremost on the core duties God has laid out for me in the Bible. Then, over time, all the other stuff will come together.”
When she’s behaving in an unattractive way:
“I don’t like to see you like this. Is this really the kind of person you want to be?”
When she can’t make a decision:
“You can either do [A] and [consequence.] Or you can do [B] and [consequence]. I recommend [B].”
When she had an upsetting experience:
[Explanation of how the world works] + [assurance that it works out in the end].
e.g. “Sometimes certain personalities just don’t click with each other and there’s not anything you can do about it. But there’s lots of people in the world we’ll never be friends with yet we can still have a happy life.”
When she begrudgingly or sarcastically asks for your advice:
“Well, the smart way to do it is…”
When she’s getting herself worked up:
“Let’s take a step back and…”
When she asks for details you know will only upset her:
“It’s being taken care of. What I want us to focus on right now is [the more important relationship involved].”
e.g. “The money’s on the way. What I want us to focus on right now is making sure the kids are taken care of.”
When you need to correct her behavior without causing drama:
“Often times when [general situation], we will [general response]. But what we really need to do is [wisdom principle.]”
e.g. “Often times, when we hear a teaching about the Bible we don’t like, we have a knee-jerk reaction against it. But what we really need to do is take a step back and pray about it. We ask God for wisdom. Is it something wrong with the teaching or with our own tradition and belief?”
When she’s being stubborn:
“Go ahead with your [foolish behavior]. And when you are ready to [choose wisdom], I will be here to help.”
e.g. “Go ahead and hold your grudge. And when you are ready to have a calm discussion, I’ll be ready to talk.”
These are examples of what Scott Adams calls the “High Ground Maneuver.” You become the wise adult in the room. She must either become an adult too or (shamefully) persist in her childish behavior.