Not Being Heard in a Conflict builds Walls

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I hate it when I argue with my husband and as strong as our relationship is, there are times when we just don’t see eye to eye. This past weekend was one of those times.  I had been busy running around days before getting my kids ready for back to school and was happy that most of my to-dos were getting crossed off my action item list.

But all it took was one judgy text from my husband Saturday morning pointing out one of the things I didn’t do (I had told him I was putting it off for a few days) and “happy” was far from the emotion I was feeling after that. I pushed back and texted him letting let know I didn’t like when he did that to me  and in a typical male response (sorry guys I am stereotyping here), he tuned me out and just sent generic texts not addressing any of my feelings. As the day went on, the more upset I got.

It is amazing how one off putting remark said at the wrong time can temporarily change the feelings between a normally happy couple. My husband who is usually my soft pillow to fall on after a tough day had now become my adversary because I was feeling dismissed by him all day. By the time he really got how mad I was at him it was like 8 pm and by that time I want to poke him with a fork!

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Instead of putting up a wall, build a bridge     

The next day we talked about it face to face and he finally understood why it upset me so much. I have done it to him too and since it really affects our relationship, I was determined to solve the problem before it happens again. The late Richard Carlson, psychologist and author of the book, The Don’t Swet Guide for Couples, said that when you choose to hear out your partner in the midst of an argument, you choose to start a bridge with them. He said that if both partners are not allowed to be heard, you will keep coming back to making your point which was what I was doing. I went from giving him the silent treatment to letting him know how angry I was but all through texts and the phone. What we needed was to really sit down face to face and discuss why his comment hurt me the way it did.

What I learned that if it is an important issue to either partner, you simply must deal with it before moving on even if it is to agree to disagree. By seeking to understand each other especially during an argument is an effective way to make a good relationship even better!

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Cher Vierra Knebel

Cher Knebel is a professional writer, blogger and founder of Living Happily blog and website dedicated to sharing stories, happiness research and resources that focus on the positive impact of having close personal relationships and social connections. Join her community of happiness seekers and friendship promoters by visiting her website at

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