Real life arguments between a marriage coach and her husband!
There is no question about the fact that I believe I have a fantastic marriage. This is not to brag; on the contrary, it is a conclusion I arrived at in all humility. As a marriage coach, counselor and friend to many married women I have come to realize that I am indeed truly blessed in my marriage. I am no better than any of the women struggling in their relationships; neither did I make better choices. I have the marriage that I have, simply by the grace of God.
Don’t get me wrong; I work extremely hard on my marriage! But I would liken marriage to human genetics. If you have genetics that predispose you to obesity, it is unlikely that you’ll become the next Usain Bolt! Yes, you can work hard and lose a lot of weight and work on your fitness but becoming a world-class sprinter just might be a pipe dream. So I am aware that in spite of all the work that I put into my marriage, the reason it is such a great marriage is because it is built on a ‘genetic’ foundation that I had absolutely nothing to do with. So I will be eternally grateful to God for that.
Now, here comes the “but” statement. My husband, my king, my best friend, my lover, the best father to our children I could ever ask for, my gift from God, the man who makes me understand the true meaning of God’s grace. This SAME man sometimes hurts me deeper than any other human being on planet earth. This SAME man utters words to me that pierce through my heart like an arrow, no, more like a sword. This SAME man causes me unbearable pain by the things he says to me, in those times when we find ourselves arguing. And there are many.
We recently had an argument about an investment we made that wasn’t going according to plan. When we made this investment, my instincts told me we might be going in over our head but I chose to ignore this instinct; partly because I trusted my husband business acumen and partly because he “bullied” me into this decision since he was so sure it was a great investment – and I didn’t have a clear opinion on the issue. Fast forward to months later when things are not going according to plan, my husband displays that side of him that causes me the kind of pain that makes me forget I love him so much.
Investments wise, when it comes to taking risks in exchange for high reward, I am not as aggressive as my husband. I prefer to tread cautiously. I am just not as ready to invest as aggressively as he is, primarily out of fear, to be honest. This came up yet again, as we argued about this investment that wasn’t going according to plan. I happened to make a comment about how I wished I trusted my instincts that told us it was not such a good investment.
Needless to say, this did not go well with my husband!
The next thing I know, I started getting flooded with those words of his, the ones that cut so deeply. Not harsh words of verbal abuse, just enough words said with a certain tone of voice that made me start to wonder if he really cared about me. I’d like to point out that when hurtful words have been said, they always create an animosity between the both of you that festers, if you are both unable to arrive at a root cause of the problem.
In my husband’s defense, and partly because we both made that decision a long time ago to never let arguments linger, he did come to me, to apologize. As we talked through his apology and how to avoid such situations in the future, my husband reminded me that during the argument, he wanted to walk away from the conversation before things got too heated and negative words were uttered.
(After previous arguments, we had agreed that if he was getting angry to a point where he felt he couldn’t control his speech, he was to let me know that he needed a break from the conversation by telling me just that. He was to simply say: “Babe, I need a break from this conversation. Can we continue this later?” This was meant to be our signal.)
Well, that’s not what he said during this argument! When he was starting to get upset, my husband kept telling me:
“This conversation is over!”
Right in the middle of me talking!
Who wants to hear that when they’re trying to make a point to their spouse? I know I don’t! So needless to say, no, the conversation was not “over”! I still had points I needed to make. So of course I kept making my point, and of course he kept getting angry until he unleashed the beast – his sharp, penetrating words.
As we talked about this during our reconciliation conversation, my husband made me realize that when he was saying, “This conversation is over!” he was actually trying to prevent the conversation from escalating. He made me realize that for him, particularly when he was angry, that was an easier default statement than the previous statement we had agreed on.
I struggled with this. I really did. In past relationships, when I heard the four words “This conversation is over!” they were said to hurt me, not to prevent an argument from escalating. This led me to attach negative meaning to those words, and rightfully so. (Watch out though because some of the hang-ups you might be having in your marriage, are past wounds you are carrying from other relationships).
I still think those words are negative, to be honest, but in discussing this with my husband I realize that in his own case, once he starts getting upset, because his mind is already so clouded with heated emotions, he will always struggle to find his way back to the safer, more comforting signal statement of “Babe, I need a break from this conversation. Can we continue this later?” His brain seemed to be able to find “This conversation is over!” a lot easier, according to him.
He made me understand that when he says those words to me, I need to understand the intended meaning and not the one I had previously associated them to. I initially insisted we attempt to find another compromise statement as a signal, and even though my husband reluctantly agreed, I eventually realized that I just might be the one to compromise in this particular instance and accept what he is able to do. After all, it will prevent our arguments from escalating.
Will this end all our arguments? Of course not! But I think this will go a long way in helping us reduce the hurtful words that we say to one another. By the way, the very next day, we had another argument – one simply too embarrassing to go into details here. But I assure you that we had our “strategy” at the back of our minds as we argued. J
Finding a way to stop arguments from escalating is critical to the health of any marriage. You are meant to enjoy your marriage and the only way to do this is to create as many positive memories as you can, while dramatically cutting down the number of negative memories you create. When the positive memories significantly outnumber the negative, therein lies the health of your marriage.
So in this spirit of creating positive memories, we the Okuneye family spent the afternoon after this discussion, with our three wonderful kids at one of the world’s largest fish aquariums taking in the awes of the wildlife of the sea. May you create wonderful memories in your relationship as well!
I’d love to hear from you, ask your questions, share your views, comment, like and share this article with a loved one who might need it. You can also read my post “The One Key Ingredient Discovered In Awesome Marriages” to give you further insight on how healthy communication makes a marriage thrive.
ZeeZee is a certified Relationship and Marriage Coach who believes her purpose in life is to equip couples with the right tools for a successful relationship. Through her website and YouTube channel she shares practical tips and principles that help couples understand the inner workings of a healthy marriage.
Visit Me On The Web: http://zeezeeio.com
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