How To Love the “Porcupine” In Your Life

March 20, 2019 | Brenda Price

Family LifeSpiritual GrowthMarriage & Relationships

How do you love the person in your life who is grumpy all the time? How do you love the person in your life who is in a bad mood? How can you love the unlovable?

Here is a great blog post from Mark Merrill with tips on how to "Hug the Porcupine" in your life! 



1. Hug the Porcupine with Your Arms
This can be tricky. But sometimes, we just need to put our arms quietly, slowly, and carefully around the porcupine and just hold them –without saying a word. This doesn’t fix anything, but it does send the message to them that you care about how they’re feeling, accept them as they are, and love them no matter what.

2. Hug the Porcupine with Your Hands
Sometimes, the porcupine person needs the active help of their spouse to get them through a particularly overwhelming or frustrating situation. This kind of hug shows your spouse that you want to help in a practical way. So proactively, look for things that you can do that may ease their burden and do things that they might normally do. Cook dinner, help get the kids ready for bed, do chores, or pay the bills — all while they just relax.

3. Hug the Porcupine with Your Words
Our words in moments of frustration can either stoke the fire or extinguish the fire. Use words that show them that you sympathize with them, that you feel what they feel. “Aww, honey, I’m so sorry you had a rough day. I feel terrible about that.” is a good place to start. Or, “You’ve had a frustrating day, what can I do to help?” may be a possible tranquilizer as well. These 5 Types of Powerful Words for Your Marriage may help as well.

4. Hug the Porcupine with Your Eyes
Sometimes our eyes can say so much. Making direct eye contact is an important nonverbal signal to someone that you are there — truly present and with them. It conveys that they are important and that this very moment is important. Plus, sometimes the prickly spouse, parent, or child needs to see, through your eyes, that you empathize with them. That you are aware of the pain they are experiencing. It’s easy to overlook the pain of another when you have so much going on in your own life. But, when you let someone else’s pain touch your heart and it moves you…perhaps to tears…you’re letting them know you care. And that’s a start.

5. Hug the Porcupine with Your Ears
Listening to your porcupine carefully is an important way to let them experience your unconditional love in action. If my wife, Susan has a porcupine moment, sometimes I just need to be patient, through a good vent, without saying a word. Other times, it means letting her talk, then asking good questions, and then actively listening to help draw out the story behind the story.


And remember the warning: Not every “hug” works every time. Some may be completely ineffective with certain people and others may actually appreciate a combination of these hugs.

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