Saturday, November 26, 2011

Do you know what I mean?

In some of the ACA talk I have been following now that my novel is done, there has been conversations about people catching their spouses in behavior they would really rather the spouse not indulge in. And the logic of the conversations all seem to be of the variety "I dislike X. He knows I dislike X. He continues to do X. Therefore he must not care about / respect / love me." This is often not the case at all.

Sometimes people do X (whatever it is) because they are compelled in some way, either something fetishistic, something addictive, or to keep a promise. And yes, sometimes they do it simply because they believe, correctly IMO, that it's your hang up and not theirs. But the fact that they choose to do X (or in some cases are compelled to do X) is not directly related to their feelings about the complaining spouse. And it is the complaining spouse that ends up putting their relationship on the line.

In the book Getting Together and Staying Together, by William Glasser and Carleen Glasser, they talk about how complaining and nagging are real daggers to an effective marriage and that communication and listening are supporters of it. However, in order for that to happen, the complaining spouse has to be ready to alter their world view and understand what is going on (what their spouse really means) if they want the relationship to continue. This is apparently a more daunting challenge than I realized.

Do you know what I mean?

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