My wife and I were returning home from a friends place.
We were in our car, on a familiar road, and we were chatting about many topics. It was fun. With a new baby, we don’t get a lot of opportunities for long talks.
Somewhere in the middle of the 45-minute drive, she said, “Do you think we should have spent as much on X?”
Think about a conversation you had with your partner on any sticky topic. You start casually where you both are putting across your points, giving the space for the other to finish their side, and actually listening to each other.
But then. Slowly the conversation starts to take a turn. It becomes a debate where one word in the three sentences your partner says pings you. You start talking about that instead. Before you know it, you have stopped listening to the other person (“Wait! Let me finish before you start talking!” is a common phrase), and it is a blown out argument. You don’t even remember the topic with which the discussion started.
Oh boy, that’s what happened to us. Near the end of our drive, we were arguing (in low voices so that we don’t wake up our daughter who is sleeping in the car seat).
At one point, I just wanted to end the argument. So I did what every rational (err cough cough) person does to end the argument. I framed a sentence that I knew would kill the argument and hurt my partner enough that she would stop talking for some time.
It reminded me of the mythology series I would see as a child where a warrior will call for a powerful arrow in a fight. Haha
That was it. The arrow hit the target but it obliterated everything for that day and a bit of the next day (“Varun freaks out if I give him a cold shoulder for even half a day :)” – my wife). For some, this can be weeks!
It sucks. It can ruin the atmosphere at home and flow into other areas of life such as work and fitness.
Now, there has never been a time I haven’t regretted saying something hurtful because at the end of the day I love my wife. A lot. I am sure you love your partner as well. But we still fall for the same mistake.
I’ll be honest I don’t know how to make sure I don’t hurt her by saying something stupid from time to time. I have systems for many things but haven’t figured this one out yet.
If you have been remotely successful or trying a technique — please share your advice with me?