Most of Our Arguments are about Two People Fighting to be Heard

I’ve been married for over 17 years, and man have I gotten better at fighting.

I win most of the time, but let me explain what that has come to mean for me.

When my wife and I first got married, and for the next 8 years or so, we lived under a mountain of tension, hurt feelings, and heated arguments. Most of the time, our quarrels would end in whoever didn’t get the last word giving in and walking away. We’d give it a couple of days or so, then act like nothing happened.

We rarely resolved anything.

Most of the people/couples I’ve mentored over the years are living the same way. The only thing fighting does is add hurt to the mounting cache of hurt-piles that will ultimately become too much to bear. Each argument is a step closer to the end.

Sometime in my mid-forties, I made a discovery that changed my life: when I get angry in an argument, 99% of the time it has nothing to do with the thing we’re arguing about.

Most of the time, I get pissed at my wife because she’s not listening to me. If we’re fighting, and I recount things from my perspective, and get shut down with a dialogue about how her perspective is better, I go through the roof.

And I’m not alone.

Most of us struggle here. When we have a perspective, when we want someone to know they’ve done something wrong, and they quickly, and with great volume respond with all the different ways we’re wrong, we won’t get mad because Read more