I’m still in training on this one, but I am glad I am not the only one.
What is truly ridiculous is that the cure to these fights I still have with Char is … so very simple.
At least at it’s heart.
Maybe that is where to start …
99% of the time, our anger is merely a symptom of the hurt that’s going on inside. Angry at your spouse? Is it an ongoing anger that seems to hover over you all day long? If I were to coach you through it, I’d skip over the angry parts and look for the places you’re feeling hurt. And I’d bet there would be a mountain of them.
I’d also bet that during your arguments you’re not getting listened to.
One of the deepest ways we hurt each other is to refuse to give our spouses/friends/kids/parents/significant others a voice. When we ignore their point of view, we send a subtle, very powerful message that we don’t give a rat’s ass about them. We don’t just send the message that their opinion sucks, we send the message that they suck.
We don’t intend to send that message, and we certainly don’t feel that way about them, but that’s how we come across when we refuse to listen, especially in the sensitive, deeply personal, emotionally heated moments that characterize most arguments.
I’ve started trying to listen more, not just because my wife is super smart and usually has something I need to listen to, but because she needs to know how much I care. She needs to have a voice in these arguments and I’m the only one that can give it to her.
I’ve also begun to learn the art of tabling my opinion for later. At times I can muster the maturity to listen, repeat back what she’s said to make sure I’ve understood her, then think about things for a bit. I ask myself – do I need to push my agenda? Do I need to talk to some people about this first; get some other perspectives?
There’s nothing forcing me to push my point of view in the heated moments. I can honor my own perspective while tabling it for a bit. But for so many of our married years I saw it as a grave injustice if I didn’t voice my concerns as quickly as possible.
Our emotions get under control, real quick, when my wife feels listened to, and vice versa. Our fights don’t last nearly as long as they used to, mainly because we’re not hurting each other during our fights like we used to.
You should go check out that blog. It’s not called what it is called for nothing.