The Question (Probably the last one)
I love my wife, but she cannot fight fair. She brings up issues from the past, old hurts and disappointments. It’s overwhelming and distracting from the issue at hand — whether it’s our budget or responsibility for taking care of chores. Even when things are going good, when we fight, the situation deteriorates to the same low level. I really feel like I’m going to lose it one of these days. How can I subtly teach her the art of a healthy battle? — BATTLE SCARRED
Make your wife feel so loved by you she won’t wish to bring up all this long-spent ammo. Disarm her by bringing up your own failures before she can reach for one. Figure out what her triggers are, just as you know yours. Avoid saying, ‘You always,’ or ‘you never,’ which are the usual big guns. Don’t set yourself up as the instructer all the time. Your wife has her own contributions to make. Why does she feel she needs all this protection against you from the past? Because you overwhelm her in what you laughingly call a relationship. Remember why you married her in the first place, how lucky you are to have her in your life and stop making the poor thing resort to sniper ambush whenever you’ve got your tighty whities in a twist.
You don’t have to be married to have unfair fights like this. Sure the past should stay right where it is but when one partner feels overwhelmed by the other, whether its credentials, earning power, social background, more friends or any other clout, they will use whatever weapon comes to hand. Obviously this imbalance calls for some kindness and understanding on the part of the overwhlemer, (you know who you are), since they already occupy the high ground. Pull that spouse up to stand with you and confess that it’s cold and windy standing up there all alone.
This was a good one, real and profound. We all oughta ask ourselves whether or not this is us. The answer is fascinating.
From what I’ve read, this is probably the last question in the Advice Competition which has, as always, been a good one, thanks to excellent questions from someone’s good brain. They have covered the gamut of human thought and emotions, yet being specific enough to keep the advice giver on their toes. Most of the answers fall into the same middle with a few on the edges, as I usually come out feeling I am. Always worth it, this Sun Media Spring Exervice. I am grateful. A good brain-warmup for a new day!