The old saying tells us hell hath no fury like a woman scorned – and any husband who had to deal with an unhappy wife would probably agree.
No matter whether it’s your fault or not, the fallout from an angry spouse can manifest itself in your relationship in a variety of ways.
Hence, you must address the issue as quickly as possible to keep it from festering under the surface and causing damage that is difficult to repair.
This is not a time to be buying gifts or taking expensive vacations (though they are almost always appreciated), it’s a moment to buckle down and listen well to help her return to the smiling, loving bride you remember.
Next time you’re on the receiving end of a tirade, keep these three stages in mind:
- Ask if There’s A Problem
You might be thinking, “Well, that’s a logical first step. I do that already.” Chances are you probably are an expert at bringing this up the way most men do – with a simple yes-or-no question that leaves little room for discussion.
When you are talking with another guy, you can take the answer at face value and be satisfied, but not so with a woman. You will hear her say “nothing” and think she means it. (She doesn’t.)
Instead of leading in with “Honey, what’s wrong?” and waiting for a single-word response, color your query with a little bit of emotion – if she knows your feelings, she’s more likely to open up.
In this way, “I feel like you’ve been distant today. Is something going on?” is a much better way to get started.
- Listen…and Listen Some More
Men often look at themselves as problem solvers, yet that isn’t always what is needed at the start of a discussion like this. If you have some behavior she would like to see corrected, you must bite the bullet and take it all in.
Sure, you probably have some things you’d like her to change, but it is crucial you wait your turn to share instead of going on with the attack. By doing so, you will allow the conversation to be constructive instead of destructive, which makes it less likely your wife will be unhappy in the future.
When she’s complaining about a situation you aren’t a key player in, she mostly needs to vent, so patiently let her do so. You may want to give your opinion, but there are four words you have to wait out for: “What do you think?” Then – and only then – can you put your two cents in.
- Be Clear on the Result
Effective communicators have a trick called “reflecting” that helps them to clarify what is being said and agreed to, which is why they are so good at what they do.
In relationships, especially when one party is angry and you are working together on a solution, the extra step of determining each other’s expectations sets both people on the same path going forward.
As you feel your wife’s mood lighten and you begin to wrap up, talk to her about what you understand the problem was and how you have both agreed to police it in the future.
An excellent way to begin this summation is by saying, “It seems like you want me to help out in the kitchen more, which I will do as soon as I get settled upon getting home from work. Does that sound right?” If you are correct, then the issue is taken care of. If not, you can knock out any confusion.
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