The Last Word

Here’s a test: When your husband delivers this statement:

“I’m sorry I wasn’t more helpful today,” with the requisite sincerity and timing, you should respond:

1) It’s okay, we’re both under a lot of pressure.

2) Really? Cause I really loved coming home from ice skating to find a pile of laundry taller than Michael Jordan, a Jenga-like stack of dishes teetering precariously in the sink, and you, wondering cluelessly what food might materialize out of the clear blue sky for dinner.

3) Ok, but I can’t handle it when you…(fill in the 30 things you happen to think your spouse is doing wrong today)

I picked a combination of 2 and 3. Based on my husband’s reaction, that wasn’t the right choice. He got it. He screwed up. He was trying to make amends. But I wanted to detail his transgressions and extract an apology for each one. Which he pointed out is very un-Spousonomical.

Economists would call this information overload. Psychologist John Gottman calls it flooding – essentially drowning your spouse in negativity. My mom calls it lame behavior.

After seeing the error of my ways, I recanted. “It’s ok,” I said, trying for a second approach. And, “I can’t wait to see what you make for dinner tonight!”

Photo credit: Plutor at flickr

Posted in arguing

3 Responses to The Last Word

  1. Kevin says:

    Even better, I submit 1A): “I forgive you, and thank you for apologizing.”

    We tend to avoid forgiveness because it can sound overly formal or condescending, but if done rightly in a loving relationship, can be a great way to truly heal wounds rather than slide past them. After all, what if you both haven’t been under a lot of pressure? Does pressure make it okay? No, the loving relationship makes it *forgiven*, not just okay.

    Appreciate your blog!

    • Gmarried says:

      Thanks for your spousonomics blog! I love the logical assessment of the seemingly illogical relationship dynamics. I not only agree with Kevin, but strive to make the choice to forgive while recognizing forgiveness does not mean condoning. Forgiveness frees yourself and your loved one to move towards the solution.

  2. Pingback: Chris Rock on marriage and information processing costs | Spousonomics

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